25 YEARS OF DEDICATED SERVICE
Fr Gregory has completed 25 years of dedicated priesthood. He has a deep faith which he is always ready to share with others. He works hard for his parishioners. It was a joy to be with him as he celebrated his jubilee on 16 May.
Speaking of the special experience of attending his first Mass as a child and the wonderful colours of the priest’s robes, he recounted that he told his mother there and then that he was going to be a priest. His determination didn’t let up.
Reflecting on Fr Gregory’s priesthood Fr Mario told the story of eight brothers.
The first brother told his mother he was going to be a doctor to make people better. The second brother’s time came and he said he was off to be a lawyer to help resolve disputes. The third brother went off to be a teacher as he wanted to inspire people.
There were five brothers left. The fourth brother left the household telling his mother that he was off to become a solider to defend what is right. The fifth brother said he was going to be an announcer. The sixth wanted to be an engineer to build bridges. The seventh brother wanted to be a farmer to sow the fields.
In telling the story Fr Mario after a suitable pause said that Fr Gregory, the last brother, proudly told his mother that he was going to be a priest. He told his mother that he wanted to make people better, resolve disputes, inspire people and that he would be strong in defending what is right, he would be an announcer of good news, that he would build bridges and be the sower of good things in the field of faith.
You can be sure that Fr Gregory made his mother and entire family very proud.
The priesthood is not just any job, it is a sacred vocation of being of Christ here on earth at the most critical points in people’s life journey. Fr Gregory at his jubilee spoke of the great joy the priesthood has given him. There is an open invitation to all single men in the parish and beyond to explore a vocation with the Capuchins. If you are looking for a role in life that is as fundamental as priesthood, ask Fr Gregory about his own vocation. If it is for you, you could start by living in community getting to know the Capuchin life.
CARDINAL JOHN CALLS A SYNOD
“We live in a privileged time with the leadership of Pope Francis, who four years ago told us that he wants “a poor Church for the poor.” This is, of course, a vision that comes from the early times of Christianity. Pope Francis has also said that he wants the Church to reach out to the peripheries, the margins. He invites us “to be bold and creative in rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelisation in (our) respective communities.” (Evangelii Gaudium 33)
“Let us take his invitation into our Synod, exploring how we might boldly and creatively reach out to the marginalised, refugees, the wider Christian community, youth and families. The Church has a mission to serve the community beyond itself. We must never confine ourselves to self-service or self-preservation.”
“…the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve…” MARK 10:45
Re-orienting parishes from an internal focus to an outward-looking approach requires people who can lead. In previous times most people saw the priest as the sole leader of the parish. With fewer and older priests, lay people have increasingly assumed leadership roles in parishes. In some places in the Archdiocese trained lay pastoral leaders work collaboratively with priests. Across the Archdiocese many lay people have taken on leadership roles in a voluntary capacity. Parish leadership can become primarily about maintaining the life of the parish, which, while very necessary, is not enough. A Church (or parish) which only sustains its own internal activities is in the words of Pope Francis “self-referential” – it “keeps Jesus Christ within herself and does not let him out”. If there is to be a new focus on mission in the parish, the parish priest and pastoral council will play a key role in fostering and supporting that reorientation. Encouraging new leaders to come forward and developing new initiatives with an external focus will be part of that process.
Leadership can be exercised in many ways and at many levels. It may be leading a one-off project, longer-term leadership in an area needing specialist skills, or participation in a leadership team, or taking the initiative in starting something new. Whatever form leadership takes and for however long, at its heart it is always service.
1. What can we do to respond to the challenge to lay people “to apply the Gospel to the transformation of society” (Evangelii Gaudium 102)?
2. What can we do to encourage new initiatives and leadership in our faith communities in response to the needs outlined by Pope Francis in his interview with Eugenio Scalfari??
Submit your answers to the Archdiocese: www.surveymonkey.com/r/2017Synod
Over the holidays as part of St Patrick’s Primary launch for their schoolwide Positive Behavior for Learning Programme (PB4L), the children were invited to show off their creative talents in an art competition. The competition was to draw, paint or collage a picture that shows children at our Kilbirnie school following school expectations. The seniors were also invited to create a symbol that might represent each expectation.
The purpose of the positive behavior plan is to work together with our school community continuing to build an environment that is safe, supportive, loving, culturally responsive, and that enables our students to achieve personal excellence. Staff, families and school leaders work together to follow this plan.
At St Patrick’s Primary School behavior expectations are:
· Respect people and property
· Responsible for our actions
· Ready to learn
All behavior expectations are interwoven together with our School Community and Mercy and School Values:
· Unity, Kotahitanga
· Love, Aroha
· Social Justice, Tika
· Respect, Te Tapu o Te Tangata
A CHALLENGE FROM HOLY CROSS TO US ALL
At the end of last term Holy Cross School sent its students off for the term break with an invitation to reflect daily on the question, ‘How have I made the world a better place?’
Answering this question provides a powerful way for us to focus on matters of importance; it invites us to be mindful of others, those close to us as well as those further away. Let’s continue to do this.
In the Gospels Jesus tells us a parable in which he is the gate which takes us to God. At the end of the reading Jesus says, “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.”
Living life to the full doesn’t mean having all the latest toys or the most fashionable clothes or the biggest house.
And it doesn’t even mean just having all the things we need in life, like enough food and somewhere safe to live, although this is an important part of living life to the full.
It means being the best person that we can be, living our lives well and having the chance to use all our gifts and talents for the good of all. By using and sharing our gifts and talents we will indeed help to make the world a better place.
Holy Cross invites us to sit down at the dinner table and each night acknowledge and celebrate the gifts and talents of one member of our family.
LOOKING AFTER OUR CHURCHES
Our challenge is to live out the mission of Jesus in our everyday lives - how can we as a family do this, this month?
St Anthony’s families have received a Signmee asking for help to look after their church. Perhaps volunteering to be on one of these rosters is one way that we can contribute to ‘carrying out the mission of the church.’ The commitment is not large as long as everyone lends a hand.
We can use our talents in hospitality, reading, gardening and cleaning.
GOSPELS FOR JUNE (CLICK ON THE LINKS FOR MORE)
Sunday 4 June – John 20:19-23
The disciples were hiding behind locked doors. The resurrected Jesus appeared to them showing his wounds. He breathed the Holy Spirit on them. Jesus challenged the disciples to overcome their fears, unlock the doors and go out to treat people in the way He had treated them. We need to be able to forgive, to embrace the world and to show it boundless love. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyApFiqrGvQ&list=PLeDNiKpHSQBDAIAYJEHi42R7ctvsFuTEU&index=36
Sunday 11 Jun – John 3:16-18
God didn’t send his son to condemn the world but to give abundance of life. God’s love is massive, all embracing. There is no end to it. Don’t be tricked into thinking of God as harsh and condemning, know that you are loved. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBjOrMjmDSc&list=PLeDNiKpHSQBDAIAYJEHi42R7ctvsFuTEU&index=3
Sunday 18 Jun – John 6:51-58
Eat and drink Jesus for life and be with Him forever. Jesus knew he was going to die suddenly. What could he leave us a physical link? Every Mass Jesus is ready to come to us and be with us helping us to shoulder our burdens. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDZfIEp0lQM&list=PLeDNiKpHSQBDAIAYJEHi42R7ctvsFuTEU&index=12
Sunday 25 Jun – Matthew 10:26-33
Proclaim what is whispered in your ear in prayer from the rooftops. Don’t be afraid, there is no need to hide the great fortune we have been given. At work or wherever we are we need to be brave enough to speak out for love and justice. People will listen and what we say will make a difference. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqKUggyBcCU&t=65s
Thank God for women
“Without women, there is no harmony in the world.” That was the message of Pope Francis in his homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. At the centre of his reflection was creation of woman, as told in Genesis. Men and women are not equal; the one is not superior to the other. But it is the woman, and not the man, who brings that harmony which makes the world a beautiful place.
Without women, there is no harmony
“Often when we speak about women,” the Pope said, we think of them in a ‘functionalist’ manner. Instead, we should see women as bearers of a richness that men do not possess: women bring harmony to creation:
“When women are not there, harmony is missing. We might say: But this is a society with a strong masculine attitude, and this is the case, no? The woman is missing. ‘Yes, yes: the woman is there to wash the dishes, to do things…’ No, no, no! The woman is there to bring harmony. Without the woman there is no harmony. They are not equal; one is not superior to the other: no. It’s just that the man does not bring harmony. It’s her. It is she who brings that harmony that teaches us to caress, to love with tenderness; and who makes the world a beautiful place.”
Exploiting people is a crime, but exploiting women is worse: it destroys harmony
In his homily, the Pope considered three moments in Creation: the solitude of the man, the dream, and the destiny of both the man and the woman: to be “one flesh.” The Holy Father gave a concrete example: Once, during an audience, while he greeted the people, he asked a couple who were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, “Which of you has had the most patience?”
“And they looked at me, they looked me in the eyes – I’ll never forget those eyes, eh? – then they turned and they told me, both together: ‘We are in love.’ After 60 years, this means ‘one flesh.’ And this is what the woman brings: the capacity to love one another. Harmony for the world. Often we hear: ‘No, it is necessary in this society, in this institution, that here there should be a woman because she does this, she does these things.’ No, no, no, no! Functionality is not the purpose of women. It is true that women should do things, to do things as we all do. The purpose of women is to make harmony, and without women there is no harmony in the world. Exploiting persons is a crime of ‘lèse-humanité’: it’s true. But exploiting a woman is even more serious: it is destroying the harmony that God has chosen to give to the world. It is to destroy.”
Exploiting a woman, then, is not only a crime: it amounts to “destroying harmony,” the Pope said, referring also to the day’s Gospel story of the Syrophoenician woman.
God has created woman so that we would all have a mother
Pope Francis concluded his reflection with a personal note:
This is the great gift of God: He has given us woman. And in the Gospel, we have heard what a woman is capable of, eh? She is courageous, that one, eh? She went forward with courage. But there is more, so much more. A woman is harmony, is poetry, is beauty. Without her the world would not be so beautiful, it would not be harmonious. And I like to think – but this is a personal thing – that God created women so that we would all have a mother.
...is editor of our monthly magazine. If you have news and views to share please email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org