Opening our arms to refugeesby Annette Bridgman and Brendan Quirk
In February, our own Holy Trinity Parish responded wonderfully to the call to action from our parish St Vincent de Paul Society groups. From our parish came nearly 30 volunteers who put their names down to help as and when required, $2,000 cash donated at Masses which equipped a household in our parish area, initial food and toys donated, and tireless efforts of some volunteers to sort and select the household lots at the Wellington centre and to prepare a house the day before the arrival of the family. What a joy it was for the refugee families to be greeted by fresh fruit on the table, food in the cupboards, beds made, and the basic necessities in place to start their new lives in the Eastern Suburbs.
The Catholic and Anglican dioceses in New Zealand have warmly committed to supporting all refugees who are welcomed into New Zealand, including the additional quota of 700 refugees over three years from the awful Syrian conflict which will challenge the stocks of love and compassion we have in our hearts. The pressure is really on our parishes to actively support the Red Cross and Catholic Social Services in the first 12 months of settling refugees in our communities.
At the end of April 2016 parishes will welcome another 13 refugee families into the Wellington
region. The focus this second time is on providing pantry food supplies and setting up the house. So we are coordinating closely with Catholic Social Services to have our team put to good use in establishing a house and collecting pantry food items. We are also gathering extra volunteer names for future intakes. It's fantastic that there is less to do this time round because of the overwhelming generosity from donations in February; we have had a surplus of household goods, cash and commitments for help available in April.
Each intake will require a different effort and we are up for the challenge!
A small group has been formed from amongst our splendid volunteers in Holy Trinity Parish to coordinate and sustain our urgent parish response every once and a while. The coordinator and contact for our Holy Trinity Parish refugee help group is Annette Bridgman, phone 3889704 or 021 204 5993, email: email@example.com
Please keep these refugees in your hearts and prayers, that they will feel safe and loved and will see the face of the Lord in the warm and welcoming support of the people of our Holy Trinity Parish.
Holy Trinity’s future property needs
by Property Sub-Committee
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to discerning the future property needs of our parish. Here is a summary of what the parish has been saying.
We are fortunate to have such spiritual priests. These three men have devoted themselves to our welfare. Our first priority is to meet their needs. The Capuchins live in community with certain requirements for communal living including sacred space for prayer. Here in Wellington the community is expected to grow, and so there is a requirement for additional living space. It is usual for Diocesan priests to live in their own presbytery. However, there is a need for greater ease of sharing with the Capuchin community.
Right since the early days of our parish, the Mercy and Marist communities have been instrumental in serving the Wellington East area. Today we host their colleges which are large congregations in their own right within our wider congregation. We need to be open to allow our facilities to be used for retreats and other activities for these congregations. If our buildings were better suited to retreats, they would be used regularly for this purpose as well as sacraments such as reconciliation. For St Catherine's, who are space constrained, there is a wish to continue to make regular use of the Kilbirnie church as well as something larger for gatherings involving all Catholic schools in the parish.
Our three primary schools are growth-orientated and are an important element of our mission as set out in our vision statement. St Patrick's Primary is keen to make increased use of the adjoining hall for extra-curricular activities. They have limited play space and are interested in using the current presbytery area. At Holy Cross there is interest in a feasibility study on bringing the school and church closer together. It is noted that this school is currently under instruction not to use their local church (Holy Cross, Miramar) due to its low seismic rating. St Anthony's are looking to expand their learning space. They would like to move their library, staff room and administration into the presbytery making a whole classroom and many smaller rooms available for more flexible learning.
At the heart of our communities are regular gatherings around their many altars. The liturgy committees have indicated that they favour quiet sacred spaces with consideration being given to soundproofing and adequate space for children's liturgy. There is a need for better technology in our buildings for children's liturgy. Above all else, in the buildings in which we gather, there is the need to be welcoming to our younger generations. At the other end of the age spectrum, our buildings need to provide for the physical needs of our older parishioners.
We need to reassess the Holy Cross church based on latest seismic knowledge. There are a great many options. The right time to consider these options is when the full set of facts on the current building are in front of us. A key consideration will be those things that will help our younger parishioners to have strong experiences of church.
For all our ethnic communities we need to provide spaces that help them to celebrate and grow, supporting them to feel part of the wider community while retaining what is special to them.
From a financial point of view the parish is operating in deficit. Some buildings are currently an important source of income, however the cost of maintenance is beyond our current means.
Planning should start with the optimum for achieving the parish vision of a prayerful, diverse community drawing strength from one another growing and becoming fully alive as missionary disciples. Priority actions can then be selected.
These identified needs form the starting point for options for our buildings and property. The sub-committee will now develop some options to be shared with you for your further feed-back.
Life in a boxby Rain Forest, Life Teen Coordinator
On Friday the 1st of April at 6pm around 16 teenagers and young adults from Life Teen Holy Trinity, Sister Catherine Jones SMSM and Tania Torea, the leader of the LDS youth, gathered to participate in the Caritas Challenge 2016.
Saint Patrick's Primary School veranda was transformed into an informal settlement of cardboard box houses while the Parish Centre became a sweat shop bakery!! The participants slept the night in their box houses and rotated shifts in the sweat shop to maintain constant baking for 24 hours. The baked goods were shared at parish Masses over the weekend and Parishioners donated money to support Caritas' efforts in Cambodia. Along with other sponsorship over $1,700 has been raised so far and we are hoping to top $2000. Online donations can be made on the Caritas website: http://www.caritas.org.nz/ or you can drop in to Life Teen on a Sunday night at Saint Patrick's Church between 5.30 -8.30pm to make a cash donation. Donations close 15th May 2016.
We were visited by Saint Michael's youth group in Taita, Cardinal John Dew, and a number of Caritas staff and their families, some parishioners, and families of our teenagers. The support and enthusiasm for this event was amazing!! Thank you all for your support and donations we really appreciate it.
Here's some comments from a couple of teen participants:
"I had an awesome time, it was heaps of fun working for something more than ourselves, so often we do things for the benefit of ourselves only, so it was a really good feeling to be working for something other then myself and helping people that really need it." - Hannah
"It was really fun putting ourselves in other people's shoes and working the long hours that people in poverty do. The cardboard slide was really fun and as a friend of mine said; you can use whatever you have to have fun, it doesn't have to be much!" - Rachel
The month of May
By Lucy Gijsbers
I'm sure that you have heard the common statement that Catholics worship Mary and the Saints. So, do we? Of course not! It is idolatry to worship anyone or anything other than God. The basis of our beliefs occur in the Bible, and here are some of them.
Firstly, in the Old Testament, it was the custom in the Kingdom of Israel for the king's mother to have a throne next to her son. (eg. Jeremiah 13:18). 1 Kings 2 12-21 illustrates extremely clearly the relationship between the king and his mother (in this case, Solomon and Bathsheba). The king even bowed down to her. So, she could petition the king on behalf of his subjects, being an 'intercessor'. Mary is the Queen Mother on the spiritual level.
Christ fulfilled all that was in the Ark of the Covenant. Aaron's rod symbolised the true priesthood, and Christ became the new high priest. The tablets were referred to as God's Word, and we know the quote 'the word became flesh, and dwelt among us'. This refers to Jesus. Lastly, the jar of manna, a bread of life for the Israelites as they wandered in the desert before finally reaching the promised land. Mary carried, quite literally, the Bread of Life, the Word, and the High Priest inside of her. She is therefore the fulfillment of the Ark itself.
Revelation 12 discusses Mary and her 'offspring'. Jesus, the Male Child, was her only son, so the rest of her offspring refers to her spiritual offspring. Jesus entrusted his mother to the Church, represented by John, the only Apostle present at the crucifixion. This was in a practical as well as a spiritual sense. Jesus didn't call Mary 'mother', but 'woman', just like at the wedding at Cana. Where His first miracle was worked through Mary's direct intervention.
In Genesis 3:15 God says that the Woman's seed will crush Satan's head. This is the only place in the Bible which mentions a woman's seed. The man is the one with the seed; all genealogies are from father to son. The woman who has a seed must be someone who is able to conceive without the seed of a man. This seed is Christ, who will ultimately crush the devil. The woman, who conceived with the seed of man by the power of the Holy Spirit, is Mary.
Do you pray for anyone who asks you to? You are mediating on their behalf between heaven and earth. We are instructed to intercede for one another; thus we ask the Saints and Mary, who intercede for us. Catholics only worship God! We honor Mary and the Saints and ask them to 'pray for us', but to God we say 'have mercy on us'.
Perhaps this month your prayer challenge could be to say at least one decade of the rosary a day, if you do not already? Gradually build this up to the full five decades.
...is editor of our monthly magazine. If you have news and views to share please email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org