Fr Mario was greeted with applause as he returned to St Patrick’s church vigil mass after eight years away in Auckland. He said he was delighted to be back in “windy Wellington” [windy?..as if].
Speaking at the vigil he mentioned how he is looking forward to praying with us, celebrating with us, journeying with us. Father believes we must listen to God with both our ears and our heart.
When we really love someone we don’t notice as time goes by, we are so caught that time is of no importance. Fr Mario invites us in our celebrations not to worry about the time but to give our total presence. We bring our whole selves so that we can be nourished by God in every aspect of our lives.
With seven brothers and seven sisters, he is from a big, faith filled family. His family is all over the world including brothers in the States and one in Rome. Being the Wellington brother once more, he is looking forward to working with old friends in the St Patrick’s community and meeting new friends at Holy Cross and St Anthony’s. “It’s still the same parish, just bigger”. Fr Mario is very aware that merging parishes is not an easy task. “Some things stay the same, some things change. We have to remember that we are journeying together, to God”. Fr Mario sees a great future for the parish as we unite together in community. “It will take time. Everyone needs to be open not only to changes but also the possibilities they bring”. “We have to see the potential. And, I ask myself what is my part in all this? It is to minister to my brothers and sisters. The potential will bring unity, there will be variations but there will be harmony”.
... At the same time as welcoming back Fr Mario we say welcome back to Fr Gregory. Fr Gregory has been away for three months with family back in India. On arriving home, he was overwhelmed by the welcome he received from his family and their neighbours. Seeing everyone’s faces, being there amongst everyone was momentous. But, what was joy very quickly turned to sadness. His nephew was tragically run over by a truck. Everyone was in deep shock. Life can be so very fragile. The rest of Father’s time was filled with planned celebrations. The celebrations were great occasions but his nephew’s death was with them. Over one thousand people gathered for father’s jubilee, which started with a wonderful breakfast and continued with Mass and lunch. A nephew was ordained, two nieces married and another two nieces took their final vows as religious sisters. Journeying bask to New Zealand Fr Gregory visted Kolkata for the first time. “It was very hot and I was missing everyone, so it was great to go but it is great to come back”. Asked what he is most looking forward to on his return he says it is the new parish council bringing new energy to the parish. “we have had a parish council to bring us together, now we are to have a new council to take us forward”.
Who are the Capuchins?
The Capuchin Fraternity of Aotearoa New Zealand was founded in 1958 at the invitation of the late Cardinal McKeefry. Two friars, Br. Matthias Murphy OFM Cap. and Br. Agathangelus Herlihy OFM Cap. came to New Zealand and took up residence in Wellington. Br. Matthias was appointed chaplain to Victoria University, and Br. Agathangelus appointed Parish Priest of Northland-Kelburn Parish. The Capuchin Friars celebrated the 50 Jubilee of its New Zealand foundation in August 2005.
However, there had been an earlier Capuchin presence in the person of Father Jeremiah O’Reily OFM. Cap., the first resident Catholic priest in Wellington who arrived on 31 January 1843, and died in July 21 1888. He is buried in Mount Street Cemetery in Wellington. In 1993 the Wellington Archdiocese celebrated the 150th anniversary of the coming of Fr. Jeremiah O’Reily to Wellington as the first resident priest, and also commemorated the first Catholic Church built in Wellington in 1843 by Fr. Jeremiah O’Reily.
Many friars from Ireland, The Philippines, Indonesia and India provinces have ministered in New Zealand over that time. Many of the friars returned to their respective provinces to continue their ministries there. Three Irish friars died while ministering in New Zealand and are buried here; two terminally ill Irish friars returned to Ireland where they died and are buried.
The Capuchin Friars are the youngest branch of the first Order of St. Francis, going back to 1525, when some Friars Minor in the Marches wanted to live a stricter life of prayer and poverty to be closer to the original intentions of St. Francis. Thanks to the support of the Papal Court the new branch received early recognition and grew fast, first in Italy, and since 1574 all over Europe.
Simplicity, closeness to the people, a fraternal spirit in their houses and their apostolate are visible signs that mark their lifestyle, with emphasis on penance and prayer as expressed in the life of the first Capuchins.
There are several Capuchin Secular Franciscan Order fraternities throughout New Zealand. The Secular Franciscan Order for lay people is an independent organisation encompassing the whole Franciscan spectrum. Franciscans, Conventuals, Capuchins and the friars provide spiritual assistance to these fraternities.
August is the month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. If the Sacred Heart of Jesus represents Christ's love for mankind, Our Lady's Immaculate Heart represents her desire to bring all people to her Son. There is simply no better example of the Christian life than that offered by Mary. Truly it is fitting that we come to Christ through Mary, as Christ came to us through her. Not worshiping Mary nor placing her above Christ, but understanding that our mother, given to the Church [John 19:26] will faithfully and lovingly lead us to Him. Who could doubt this when her last recorded words in the bible were "Do whatever He tells you," [John 2:5]. Consider for a moment, she was present at the crucifixion of Our Lord, as her own Son gave up His life for us, and still these are the last words we hear from her.
About Matthew 12:49-50 where Christ is recorded as saying "This is my mother and these are my brothers; and whoever does the will of my Father who sent me, that person is a brother to me and a sister and a mother" St. Augustine points out "Didn't the Virgin Mary do the will of the Father? [..] she believed by faith, she conceived by faith, she was chosen to be the one from whom salvation [..] would be born for us [..] Of course, holy Mary did the will of the Father. And therefore it means more for Mary to have been a disciple of Christ than to have been the mother of Christ. It means more for her, an altogether greater blessing, to have been Christ's disciple than to have been Christ's mother." We know then that Our Lady wills us to her Son above all else and that her greatest blessing was in being a most excellent disciple of her Son.
But what of devotion to Our Lady? What of her Immaculate Heart? Here we can draw from the wisdom of St. Louis de Montfort in True Devotion to Mary (which should most definitely be read by all) "He has glorified His Independence and His Majesty, in depending on that sweet Virgin, in His Conception, in His Birth, in His Presentation in the Temple, in His Hidden Life of thirty years, and even in His Death, where she was to be present, in order that He might make with her but one same sacrifice, and be immolated to the Eternal Father by her consent; just as Isaac of old was offered by Abraham’s consent to the Will of God [..] Jesus Christ gave more glory to God the Father by submission to His Mother during those thirty years than He would have given Him in converting the whole world by the working of the most stupendous miracles." It sounds like quite the claim but consider, Our Lord surely desires nothing greater than pleasing the Father, than bringing glory to God and saving His people. Indeed He would surely do nothing that did not please the Father and bring more people to Him. Yet, Christ spent thirty years subject to His Mother.
St John V
Reading of St's life one is reminded of Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you," or perhaps Luke 11:8 "But I tell you this - though he won't do it for friendship's sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence." Certainly St. John Vianney strikes me as a man who doesn't give up easily!
Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney was born in Dardilly France on the 8th of May 1786 in to a very devout Catholic family. Soon after in 1790 the anticlerical terror phase of the French Revolution forced priests to work in secrecy or face execution. Often his family had to travel to distant farms to attend Masses celebrated by priests on the run. Naturally Vianney began to look upon these priests as heroes who risked their lives each day to live and teach their faith.
His First Communion catechism was taught to him by two nuns whose communities had been dissolved during the Revolution. The Mass at which he recieved his First Communion had one particularly unusual feature; every window was boarded up that the light of the candles could not be seen from the outside.
You might think that things started to look up when the Catholic Church was finally re-established in France in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte.
Unfortunately, you'd be wrong, as this saw Vianney promptly drafted in to the army. Normally he would have been protected as he had been studying as an ecclesiastical student (exempt from military service) but Napoleon had withdrawn the exemption in some dioceses as he required more soldiers. Two days in to his service John fell ill and required hospitalization. His unit went on without him and he stopped in at a church where he met a young man who volunteered to return him to his unit. Instead the man led him deep into the mountains where military deserters met. John remained in the area, occasionally hiding from gendarmes searching for deserters, until military deserters were granted amnesty 1810. Now free John returned to Écully and resumed his ecclesiastic studies. Five short years later he joined his heroes as a priest on August 12th 1815.
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