December 2016 - advent
Making straight paths
By Kim von Lanthen
Jesse Trees have been going up in our churches. The symbols being added to them each week mark significant parts of the universal church experience as we prepare for Christmas. If there was a Jesse Tree for our new parish, what symbols would we be putting on it?
We occupy the Motu Kairangi peninsula, maybe we would want a symbol to mark the heritage we have inherited from the early Maori people. We are all immigrants of one to four generations back, perhaps we would mark our ancestral homes which once would have been European but now would more likely be Pacific or Asian.
It would be nice to have hanging on the parish’s Jesse Tree a symbol to mark the first priest coming to Wellington, Fr O'Reilly. Fr O’Reilly was a Capuchin and was greatly respected across all settler denominations. As more contemporary symbols we could have photos of our families. Family life has its ups and downs, but all are signs of the great hope for the future. We could have symbols of our schools which set out against the tide, to provide nurturing Christian education. And, we might have symbols for the refugees welcomed over the year, the sick and lonely visited, the reconciliations made. All of these symbols would be signs of the efforts we have made as a new parish to lay the path to Christmas straight.
Going, one step further what is it that we have as symbols on our own Jesse Tree at home? What about pictures of babies born into our families over the year? Treasures from the holidays we’ve had as a family, bringing us closer together? Signs of troubles solved and hurts healed? Maybe your tree this year will be a sign of the path you have made straight for Christ coming to your family this Christmas.
Christmas Novena, 15 – 23rd December, St Patrick’s Church 7.30pm. What’s a novena? It’s a way of praying together. By praying over consecutive nights in the lead up to Christmas, we know we will be ready for it!
A remarkable season
By Joan Levy
We have arrived at the season of anticipation. Though the pace of life picks up with shopping, baking, decorating and all that Christmas requires of us, we should make an effort to find periodic prayer pauses; Advent deserves to be enjoyed!
Advent is a time to give our souls a cleansing. Just like Jesus went off to pray in the desert, we ought to seek some quiet moments to reflect on the need of our souls to be purified, so that at Christmas, we can begin anew, singing loudly those familiar hymns that reflect the wonder of our Saviour’s birth.
There are many occasions for lending a hand to a neighbour, volunteering at a food bank, or selling raffle tickets, and every gift of our time makes God smile, because we are sharing our talents and time with others.
My wish is that you be given an unexpected gift of love this Christmas. Whether it is a handshake of forgiveness from a relative, a very big hug from a child, or a passage from scripture that brought you comfort for your lonely heart, let your gratitude to Jesus shine out for everyone to see.
Alpha programme popular
By John Rogers
We all get into the same situation. We have lots of good intentions about making our lives simpler and more focused on what’s important. But, we all get stuck with the same problem. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time and inspiration to make the break from old routines and start over.
Perhaps the Alpha courses have been an exception. This year 95 people across the parish have attended these impoartant courses. We started at St Anthony’s, then went to St Patrick’s and have just finished at Holy Cross.
The Alpha parenting course looks at the needs kids have and how we respond with love by setting sensible boundaries, teaching good relationships and passing on what matters. It talks about the five languages of love which was a new concept to most of the people on the course but really beneficial. For the people taking the course they felt as challenged as those on it!
The Alpha faith course is a really terrific refresher course on the fundamentals of what we believe and how these beliefs equip us to be loving people in our families and community. Each of the courses included an away day at the Home of Compassion in
Island Bay. The Home of Compassion is a neat place where it is easy to be prayerful. At the end of the Holy Cross faith course we talked about what made it a success. It seems that part of the success has been the good atmosphere for people to be able to share and discuss their thoughts.
The time has come to start planning for next year’s courses and decide on what we can do to keep Alpha participants together, if that's what they want. We will be inviting participants to a meeting in February to get their ideas, and in the meantime if you have ideas on how we could do things better I’d love to hear from you.
My hope for 2017
By Dave Monastra
I enjoy being a parishioner of Holy Trinity Parish.
There is great wisdom and faith in our older people. As a Eucharistic minister visiting the sick I’ve become aware of how lonely and isolated some are, and the delight we can bring into people’s lives by visiting and bringing them Our precious Lord. It’s wonderful to be part of a parish where there are leaders like Julie Marshall. Julie goes out of her way to care for our parishioners that have need of support, Julie and her helpers make the Thursday Group a real celebration
for our older people.
Through my work I get involved in our schools. I regularly see the staff in our schools going the extra mile to provide caring, nurturing support to their students. There is a wonderful concern for the individual needs of the students and interest in passing the faith on to them in a real and meaningful way.
I’ve been thinking whether we could be more focused on being there for people in between these two age groups. My hope for 2017 is that we can find ways to help these people and that our celebrations are more life giving for them. What can we do that will support people starting out, to see their path for the future? What is it that we do that will help them to deal with the stresses of work and family, that means they can stay true to their path and get the most out of life?
As the Holy Trinity Parish rolls into another year, tell us what’s on your mind, share your hopes for the future, surprise us with something new that we didn’t know before.
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