March 2016 - ST PATRICK's DAY
ST PATRICK IN HISTORY
St Patrick's legacy lives on today in Wellington. St Patrick's College in Kilbirnie is the oldest Catholic Secondary School in NZ, founded by Irish Marists from Dundalk. This strong Irish presence also brought about St Patrick's Church and primary school, and on St Patrick's feast day you may see one or more of our school children with a green ice-block.
St Patrick was born in Roman Britain around the year 386. When he was 16 he was captured by Irish pirates, who sold him into slavery. Patrick was forced to herd sheep, probably in Slemish, Northern Ireland. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and Pagans, and it is said that his master was a high Druid priest. Despite these influences, Patrick states that his time of captivity was crucial to his spiritual conversion. Here is a quote from 'The Confession' - The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.
After six years he heard a voice, urging him to flee for home via ship. After a long journey, wandering lost in France for a while, Patrick was finally reunited with his family.
Patrick describes this vision in his memoir: I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: "The Voice of the Irish". As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Folcut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: "We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us."
Inspired by his vision, he decided to study for the priesthood in Auxerre, France. He was eventually ordained a bishop and sent by the Pope to Ireland to evangelise. Once he arrived in 433, he was initially met with resistance, and throughout his life he was occasionally beaten, robbed and held captive. However, he converted thousands, ordained many, and performed many miracles. Patrick recast some of the Celtic pagan beliefs and ideologies into a Christian context, to help the locals better understand and incorporate the Christian teachings into their lives. Examples of this are the Celtic cross and the shamrock representing the Trinity.
OUR CHURCH FAMILY
The Church is the family of God. It ought to look like a family, a Catholic family.
Think of a pyramid - the bottom all beautiful babies, next lots of energetic youth, then the hard at work middle aged, finally at the top and in less numbers the wise elderly as they pass to greater things, plus more and more people of all ages joining.
Now look at the church, yep we have a problem we have got it backwards. But that’s OK; a problem is just an opportunity for a solution.
What’s your contribution to the solution we will ultimately find together?
“Why did you become a Sister of Mercy?” is a question students sometimes ask me.
To tell you the truth it is all somewhat a mystery, a mystery of God’s love for me. I knew from a young age I wanted to do something for God, but what? I was drawn to social work, but then the lives of the sisters who taught me captured me. Poverty, chastity, obedience. I did not know the words of the vows then but now I recognise them through almost 50 years of vowed life as no money, no sex, no power.
At times, as for all people, life can be difficult but God’s love is there and at some deep level I recognise I am in the right place. I once lived at Star of the Sea. I taught at St Catherine’s College.
I currently live next to Holy Cross School, Miramar. The Sisters of Mercy have been in this parish at Seatoun, Kilbirnie and Miramar since the late nineteenth century and many Sisters have laboured and prayed here.
These days God still calls people but the fast life often obscures the call. Might your daughter, niece or grand daughter be being called by God? Might you, if you are a younger woman be attracted to religious life? Look at www.sistersofmercy.org.nz. Talk to a Sister or enquire at email@example.com
Nga Whaea Atawhai o Aotearoa
Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland in 1831. Over 200 sisters in Aotearoa seek to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ by engaging in the works of Mercy, according to the charism of Catherine McAuley. “together with our companions in mission, our vision is for a world where God’s generous love and mercy are experienced by all”.
Continuing on from last month ….this Rite involves a process of four stages and a number of rites.
The first stage is called the Inquiry phase. This is a period in which, without any obligation, adults interested in the Catholic faith are given some information about the beliefs and practices of Catholics and are encouraged to ask questions they may have. After this period if someone wishes to continue they are welcomed into the next phase, called the Catechumenate, with a Rite of Acceptance. The Catechumenate is a period of learning or catechesis aimed at the deepening of faith.
The third phase, the Period of Enlightenment begins with the Rite of Election. This usually takes place during Lent and is a period of reflection and preparation. The climax of the RCIA process comes at the Easter Vigil when the catechumens, those who have not been baptised, receive the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. Any candidates who have already been baptised in another church, follow a similar process with appropriate modifications.
The fourth and final phase of the RCIA process called the Mystagogia period. It usually ends at Pentecost and is a time for the new members to reflect on their journey of faith to date and on how they will lead their life in future as Catholics. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the document that describes the process, stresses that the whole faith community is to be involved in the welcoming and initiation of new members. You can be involved by inviting friends or relatives to take part, by being a Sponsor for a candidate, by praying for those involved and by generally welcoming prospective new members.
Barry Brook arrived back from his summer holiday in Rotorua tanned and energised.
Catching up with him on his return, he is full of praise for the Parish Council’s work throughout last year. The Council has worked hard to bring everyone together, to make sure they have been listened to.
“I’m really excited about our parish vision” says Barry as he talks about the connections between what it is we value as a parish and how we have come to state what it is we are about in our vision statement. “It’s the people that really make this parish and it has come through in the vision statement. There is so much talent and people are so willing to give their time”.
“This year is about bringing our vision alive. As a Council we are starting to concentrate on the items that will reinforce and drive achievement of the vision.” Barry points to youth, activity with our schools and getting together as a full parish to worship and celebrate, as priorities.
The Council’s appointment is until May this year, when it will be refreshed. Barry is particularly keen for younger members of the parish to step forward and volunteer to go on the Council. He is in no doubt that we’ve built a great platform for future generations. “I’m absolutely delighted that this year we will be hosting a refugee family, this is right on target as to who we are as a parish and what we are about. It’s activities like this that remind me how lucky I am to be part of this parish”.
As a student, or perhaps a recent graduate, you often hear the immortal advice "Do what you love doing and you'll never have to work a day in your life," commonly attributed to Confucius. I remember it well. More often than not it followed on the heels of well-meaning enquiries like "What are you studying?" and perhaps "What job do you get with that?" Two good questions to answer and an excellent goal to strive for to be sure, but possibly a bit misleading.
Firstly I don't think work is the same as play and I'm sure even those who love what they do don't mistake it for such. Perhaps it's the thorns and thistles we are all warned about in Genesis 3:17-19. I enjoy programming, something that most people take some convincing is actually an enjoyable hobby, and I was incredibly fortunate to land a job doing just that. For all that I love my job however, it still isn't the same as working on my own projects, doing things my own way and in my own time.
The old saying also suggests that anything you love can be turned in to something that people will pay you for, which is where the "What job do you get with that?" question can take on an awkward light. I started out studying history and classics and I've certainly felt that light.
Then there are more thoughts - what the Lord wants you to do, what you might want to do, or even just how to start. It can definitely be daunting. My favourite job listing I found for a young graduate on Student Job Search required someone with "two to three years experience."
Here is where I think people risk over-thinking the matter. Forget Confucius, we have a greater source of wisdom! "A man's heart plans out his way but it is the Lord who makes his steps secure," (Prov. 16:9) my advice then is "Try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord," (Eph. 5:10). Keep in mind that the Lord both has plans in mind for you (Jer. 29:11), and He wants you to be happy. You can find that in your Catechism. I think it's safe to say then that whatever His plans are, you're going to be both happier and better off by them.
I don't think the Lord suffers the separation between “do what you love” and “do what needs doing,” actually I rather think He is doing what He loves. "For the LORD takes delight in his people" (Psalms 98:4) and declares that his creations are "good." My thought then is that perhaps we should consider asking "What do you think the Lord wants of you?" or perhaps "How goes the discernment?" instead. Cast some of those cares on the Lord, and He will look after you (Psalms 55:22).
LIFE TEEN CAMP
Life Teen Summer Camp Aotearoa took place from the 26-30 of January 2016 at Forest Lake camp ground in Otaki. Over 250 teenagers, adult chaperones, priests, seminarians, members from different religious communities and Summer Missionaries came from all over New Zealand to attend camp. Ten of these teenagers and 2 Adult Chaperones were from Holy Trinity Parish as well as a number of Summer Missionaries and a few of the Camp Organising team!
The group participated in a week of faith formation, outdoor activities and community building based on the theme ‘Glorify.’ It was an absolutely amazing experience and a joy to spend it watching teenagers grow more and more in love with God and their Catholic faith. Here’s what some of them had to say:
“Everything about summer camp was amazing although one of my favourite parts has to be hearing people's glory stories throughout the week about how they encountered God.” Rose
“Life teen summer camp was such and awesome experience. From the moment you got there you knew it was gonna be good, but I have realised that God doesn't just stop at good he will take it so much further. I loved every bit of summer camp 2016, from the mud and mess to mass, and adoration. I felt God there from the very beginning, I could see him through every person. The whole thing was just all round a really humbling and fantastic
experience. I don't think anyone left the same as they arrived.” Hannah
“Being able to go to summer camp again this year, made me so excited. To see and meet new people, but also being able to get closer to God and having learnt new things and being able to express myself in different ways.” Livinia
“Seeing over 200 campers fall to their knees to worship the blessed sacrament was one of several humbling highlights for me. 10/10 would go again.” David - Summer Missionary
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