SEPTEMBER 2017 - SERVICE
ROLE MODEL FOR US ALL
It was a wonderful privilege for Tui Class at St Anthony’s School to meet Mr Peter Jack at Mass last term after he gained the Queen’s Service Award for services to rugby and athletics.
What made it even more special is Peter has been part of our community all his life, beginning at St Anthony’s as a 5 year old in 1951.
When he talked to the students Peter was clear that he learned how to serve others whilst a young boy at St Anthony’s.
What a wonderful role model for us all.
With the feast of Pentecost we are reminded that we have Te Wairua Tapu to help us spread the Good News. Here are some of the Tui Class students’ thoughts as to how Mr Peter Jack does this:-
• Mr Peter Jack fulfills the mission of the Church by showing constant commitment to his passion. He spent many years doing the best he could to improve himself as well as others. He does not stand on the field, quoting the bible, but instead he shows the bible messages through the actions he takes. Jesus did not tell stories of Moses and instead did his own actions. They are very alike - Ruben Manz
• Mr Jack fulfills the mission of the Church by giving time to others - teaching sports. He is giving his time to others to help them reach their potential. Doing all this he was honoured with a medal: The Queen’s Service Medal. Although he was hit by a shot put in the face (during one event) he persevered and kept doing what he loves. This injury didn’t stop him - Olivia Wypych
• Mr Peter Jack has fulfilled the mission of the Church by organising and supporting sport activities. He has played a big role in a number of sports clubs . He shows kindness and devotion and it is clear that the Holy Spirit is strong in him - Devlin Crang
Most people in the parish will know Peter as a dedicated Mass goer who participates actively. At Good Shepherd he serves as a welcomer. He attends Mass during the week across the parish and is enthusiastic in his prayers of the faithful, always thinking of the needs of others.
Thank you Peter for your great example.
Last month we asked Rongotai electorate candidates to comment on the euthanasia debate and the Bishop’s election statement. Green Party candidate Teall Crossen was the one candidate to respond. She responded as follows:
Apologies for missing your last Friday deadline to respond to your question about how I would vote on the issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
The Green Party position on euthanasia and assisted suicide is that adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death. Medically assisted dying needs to be backed-up with appropriate medical and ethical safeguards such as two independent doctors approving the decision. The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities. My vote would be consistent with this position.
The Green Party has always been a strong voice on social and environmental justice are committed to building a New Zealand we can all be proud of, with a clean environment, vibrant economy and real equality for everyone. We believe every family deserves access to good education, a fair income, and a healthy and affordable home. No one should be left behind and with our policies we will enable families and communities to thrive. Many of our policies support the vision outlined in The New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ 2017 Election Statement Step Out and Vote.
I am standing for Parliament because I want to use my experience to be part of creating a New Zealand where we all look after each other and the environment.
Be sure you know the position of the candidate you intend voting for. If you have concerns there is benefit in contacting the candidate with them. The church position on euthanasia follows as assistance in considering this important issue.
Nathanial Centre perspective on euthanasia
In New Zealand we are currently witnessing renewed calls for euthanasia to be legalised. Those in favour of euthanasia promote the understanding that 'a dignified death' or 'death with dignity' rests on our right to have control over our own death, including the right to have someone end it for us at a time of our choosing.
The Catholic tradition, along with many others, rejects this understanding. As discussed by Pope John Paul II in his 1995 encyclical The Gospel of Life: Human life comes from God; it is God's gift, and is a sharing in God's own breath of life. We cannot do with human life as we will. Its sacredness gives rise to its absolute or unconditional value, something that is written from the beginning in our heart and in our conscience.
The belief that human life has unconditional value means that it is not dependant (or conditional) on the way others value us or on the way we value our own life. Neither is it a reality that derives from, and therefore depends on, some form of legal concession made by our society or the state. Rather, our human dignity exists independently; it belongs to us by virtue of the simple fact that we exist. Two obligations flow from this principle; (i) the obligation not to intentionally harm or destroy life and (ii) the positive obligation to nurture and support life. In the Bible the unconditional dignity of human life is revealed in the commandment not to kill and comes to its culmination in the positive commandment of love for one's neighbour as affirmed by Jesus in the Gospels.
All forms of intentional killing, including the euthanasing of another person, are therefore morally wrong no matter what the circumstances.
It is noteworthy that in response to the latest discussion about euthanasia the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) has spoken out strongly and unequivocally against the involvement of doctors in this practice. Its Chairman has been recently quoted as saying that doctors are "trained to promote life ... and no matter what the law of the land does ... the New Zealand Medical Association will still say that the deliberate act of killing a patient is unethical."
For some people death comes suddenly and unexpectedly. For others, death is preceded by a period of terminal illness. The latter provides a time for the sick person and their family and loved ones to contemplate and prepare for death. It is a time in which we find ourselves confronted with opportunities, challenges and fears.
At such times the relational and spiritual aspects of our lives come to the fore. For those of us who are Christian it is a time to appreciate again, and grow more fully into, the unconditional love God has for each of us.
The opportunity to prepare for our own death, or to walk alongside someone who is dying, also presents as an occasion for human growth. Death does not simply happen upon us from the outside. Rather, it is a process that calls us to be active even as we face the inevitability of our mortality and accept that the postponement of death is beyond our control. These situations call for great courage, hope, love and faith. In such circumstances 'a dignified death' is one in which we courageously face our mortality, hopefully surrounded by the love and support of family, friends and our faith communities.
When medicine can no longer provide a cure for persons at the end of life the proper management of a patient's pain and other physical symptoms is vital. We are obliged to provide treatment only where we can, but we are obliged always to care for the person who is dying, including the alleviation of pain.
The Catholic tradition relies on a clear moral distinction between killing and allowing to die. "Killing is any intentional action or omission bringing about the death of another; the cause of death is the human intervention or omission." On the other hand: "Allowing to die is withholding or withdrawing futile or overly burdensome treatment; therefore, the disease or fatal condition overtaking the person is the cause of death." In effect, the outcome of withdrawing or withholding futile or burdensome treatment is that it returns the patient to their dying. This is not euthanasia. The withdrawing of futile or burdensome treatment reflects good medical practice.
In applying the principle that prohibits killing, the Catholic tradition also makes a moral distinction between killing and those actions (such as the administration of pain relief) that may have the foreseen effect of shortening a person's life. The intention of the health professional involved is a critical factor in determining the acceptability of such actions. If the health professional concerned directly intends the death of the patient, then the action is wrong because, as already noted, all forms of intentional killing are wrong irrespective of how well-meaning the person may be.
If, however, the health professional's intention is solely the relief of their patient's pain but their action inadvertently has more than one outcome – one outcome positive (relief of pain) and the other negative (an earlier death) – then their action is morally acceptable.
In summary, euthanasia is not to be identified with the use of such medication as is required to alleviate pain nor with the withholding or withdrawing of futile or burdensome treatment.
Sr Stephanie on: FINDING YOUR TREASURE
When I was young sometimes my mother used to take me to auction sales. Mum had an eye for bargains. She would peer into the cartons of what looked like junk. You could almost hear her mind ticking over.
Then, when bidding started, always clear in herself about the top price she could afford to bid, she would join in. Occasionally she came home with winning bid items.
Then the fun started. It might be a mixed lot of crockery, so it would all be carefully lifted from the carton and sorted. Often there was an unexpected bonus, an item not visible, but hidden underneath other things. We would wash everything. The best piece would be displayed proudly on a shelf beside other treasured items. The chipped pieces would be put away for use as animal feeding bowls or as storage containers in the safe…no such thing as a fridge in those days.
Any pieces of crockery not suitable for immediate use, my generous mother gave to Vinnies for others’ use.
My experience with my mother taught me that what is most valuable is not always evident. Rarely did she bid on the glitzy, flash things. Mostly they were things which had meaning or use for her, or for our family.
What is of meaning or use for you today in your life in Christ?
Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is what we must consider our treasure…but where do we find this treasure? Simple, says Jesus….in a field.
For me at least, the field where the treasure is hidden is my life. Jesus’ call is to uncover what lies beneath the surface of my life.
We can so easily travel with eyes half closed, treading the daily routine steps, hassled by business or other distractions.
But in Baptism our eyes were anointed - we can see the treasure as we immerse ourselves in Christ. The trouble is, will we recognise the treasure for what it is?
Another type of auction my mother took me to was the fruit and vege auction near Courtenay Place. We would walk into a huge, noisy warehouse which was filled with men, seeking to buy in bulk for their greengrocery business or dining facilities. Just a few ordinary people like my mother were there. It was exciting.
Again my mother would scout out the bargains. When the time came, she would bid and sometimes win an 18 kilogram case of Golden Queen Peaches….they were cheap in those days, but even cheaper because the cases my mother bid on were almost at the stage of being discarded.
When we arrived home the kitchen was turned into a bottling factory. We children would lift out each peach, wash it, then remove the blemishes and bad spots.
What was not good for eating was still used in the compost heap to help grow more food. Nothing was without meaning or use.
My mother would cook the peaches and then bottle them. At the end of our endeavours there would be rows of large preserving jars of golden peaches all ready for winter desserts. Sometimes visitors would leave our home with a jar, the fruit of her labours. Mum knew when she purchased the case that there was good fruit among the not so good fruit. She did not avoid the less welcome.
In our lives, our field often throws up not so good things…. sadnesses, injustice and wrongdoings which affect us greatly. Somehow we need to accept these at a deep level. Peace can be found knowing Jesus is with us, and will stay with us, in this difficult space.
Eventually we will find a heart so wise and understanding that we will recognise the Kingdom has been with us throughout.
Are we up to the challenge of searching our field and finding the treasure within in whatever form it is offered to us?
Are we able to gift our treasure to help build the Kingdom?
Time in reflection and prayer, even if it is only for a few moments some days, deepens our awareness of God in our lives. This time with God bears much fruit.
I finish with a Prayer of Awareness.….
It is in the depths of life that we find you
at the heart of this moment
at the centre of our soul
deep in the earth and its eternal stirrings.
You are the Ground of all being
the Well-Spring of time
Womb of the earth
the Seed-Force of stars.
And so at the opening of this day
not for blessings from afar
but for You
the very Soil of our soul
the early Freshness of morning
the first Breath of day.
Sr Stephanie lives in the Mercy community at Holy Cross School and is on the board of St Catherine’s College
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