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ketekorero August 2015

The official publication of the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton

The consecrated life Who is my neighbour? The next phase Catholic schools respond to demand growth St Vincent de Paul’s rapid service growth Monsignor David Bennett in retirement

Building Young Leaders



In this issue...

ketekorero August 2015

bishop’s message

Read it online!

What do you see?


audato Si’ is Pope Francis’ recently published encyclical letter on the care of our common home. In it the Holy Father reflects on what effect human activity is having not only on the earth but also our relationships with each other and ultimately with God. Throughout the letter, he reminds us that everyone and “everything is interconnected, and this invites us to develop a spirituality of that global solidarity that flows from the mystery of the Trinity” (LS 240). While that is the call, the Holy Father laments how we have lost sight of our interconnectedness. Instead of having a responsible stewardship towards the creation, humanity has sought to master and dominate it without any thoughts to the effects of our actions thereby losing sight of the sacredness of the creation. In the same way, we have lost sight of the sacredness of the human person who is part of and the high point of creation. I find it quite ironic that the green movement is so keen to save the whales, but this pro-life attitude doesn’t flow onto vulnerable human lives. Pope Francis says, “When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities – to offer just a few examples – it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected. Once the human being declares independence from reality and behaves with absolute dominion, the very foundations of our life begin to crumble, for ‘instead of carrying out his role as a cooperator with God in the work of creation, man sets himself up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature’” (LS 117).

Features 3 Who is My Neighbour? Moving to next phase Celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life 7 Atawhai Mai Atawhai Atu - Mercy Given, Mercy Received 7 The Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny 9 Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions in Hamilton 10 St Vincent de Paul grows to provide wide-ranging 11 social services Profile Coming home a departure for Sr Marie Parish News Blessing planned for ‘Lost Souls’ Diocese planning as demand for Catholic school places rises Early life lay foundations for Msgr David Bennett

6 5 5 15

Youth Cultural diversity stands out at Youth Day 13 13 Young Catholic creative showcase Building future leaders in Gisborne 14

It’s in this light that the euthanasia debate is being argued at present in New Zealand. Proponents of euthanasia want to have mastery of life and death. Suffering and death have no meaning, and they become things to be feared. But for the Christian there is always life and hope to be found.

The Kete Korero is an official publication of the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton. Deadline for contributions to the next issue is 12 October 2015

In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl, who was an inmate of Auschwitz, writes of a young woman whose death he witnessed. It is a simple story. There is little to tell and it may sound as if I had invented it; but to me it seems like a poem. This young woman knew that she would die in the next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge. “I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard,” she told me. “In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously.” Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, “This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness.” Through that window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. “I often talk to this tree,” she said to me. I was startled and didn’t quite know how to take her words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. “Yes.” What did it say to her? She answered, “It said to me, ‘I am here — I am here — I am life, eternal life.’”

Kete Korero Magazine c-/ 51 Grey St, P.O. Box 4353, Hamilton East 3247 Editor: Michael R. Smith, P.O. Box 6215, Whakarewarewa, Rotorua 3010 Tel: 07 349 4107, Videos: http:/ Sponsorship and advertising: David Barrowclough, c-/ Chanel Centre 0800 843 233 Fax 07 8567035 or email:

Pope Francis writes, “The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face” (LS 233). A spiritual or mystical connectedness does indeed exist in everything, even death, something and someone to discover. But, in the times in which we live and our culture, we seemed to have lost sight of the mystery of life in all its wondrous dimensions. Everything in life and even in death can lead us deeper into the mystery of life, of ourselves, of each other and of God. So what do you see?

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Year of Mercy - rediscovering the mercy of God (and reconciliation) Michael Smith Many Catholics feel daunted by going through the sacrament of Reconciliation (or Confession as it was previously called). For others, there is an ease and a certainty provided by the comfort that comes with the blessing involved. Pope Francis has announced the Jubilee Year – a Year of Mercy starting on 20 November, noting “No one can be excluded from the mercy of God! ... The church is the house that welcomes all and refuses no one. Its doors remain wide open, so that those touched by grace can find the certainty of forgiveness.” Fr Mark Field of Tauranga referred to this

Sr Marie Finn is the chaplain nun at Waikato Hospital. See the article on Page 6 regarding her time in Canada and her consecrated life experiences. (Pic supplied)

aspect of reconciliation and the mercy of God when writing in the parish monthly publication around Lent this year. Admitting he himself was among those who didn’t find confession very easy, he said he continued to be humbled by the experience of hearing confession. “It is a very privileged experience of the love and mercy of God. Who am I, but a sinner, to be able to dispense the Lord’s absolution to others?” Fr Mark reassured those who felt uneasy that “confession is a beautiful expression of our helplessness before God, and it’s okay. I have also said that this is a graced moment – the

Lord is, indeed, very near to those with broken hearts.” In his homily announcing the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis said the Sacrament of Reconciliation “allows us with confidence to draw near to the Father, in order to be certain of His pardon” adding: “I am convinced that the whole Church will find in this Jubilee the joy needed to rediscover and make fruitful the mercy of God, with which all of us are called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time. “From this moment, we entrust this Holy Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she might turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey.”

ketekorero August 2015


feature Who is My Neighbour? Moving into next planning phase


arishes throughout the Hamilton Catholic Diocese have begun the process of moving towards finalising the “Who is My Neighbour?” restructuring plan.

Clergy from throughout the Hamilton Diocese - along with John Dew, Archbishop of Wellington - met in Rotorua in July. They are pictured in St Mary of Cross, which is now part of the Rotorua Pastoral Area. At the time this article was prepared, the are due to be with the bishop. meetings of the priests in collegial areas were to Note: Who is my Neighbour? The be held throughout August. Tasks involved the Promulgation Document drew as its following: inspiration on the following: • Propose names for new Collegial Areas On the Solemnity of Christ the King, 24 • Elect members of the new Council of November 2013, Pope Francis gifted to the Priests • Nominate members of the transitional Universal Church, Evangelii Gaudium – The Joy of the Gospel. The vision that Pope Francis has Diocesan Pastoral Council for the Catholic Church in the Third Millennium • Discuss draft statutes. The new bodies – consultors, priests and is contained in these few hundred pages. pastoral – were set to hold their first meetings Francis lays before us, in simple and compelling on 15 September. The tasks they were required language, his hope for the Church: I dream of a ‘missionary option’, that is, a missionary to undertake included the following: impulse capable of transforming • Ratify statutes everything … Francis implores the Church – • Promulgation of statutes • Parishes to write to Bishop requesting he implores us – to return to the mandate given merger to the Church by Christ himself: Go therefore On 22 November, Feast of Christ the King, all and make disciples of all nations (Mt submissions for merger requests or proposals 28:19). WH

S MY NEIGHBO OI College of Consultors





Diagrams illustrating aspects of Who is my neighbour?


Following his ordination in February this year, Bishop Steve Lowe took the time for a closer study of the plan launched in 2014 by then Bishop Denis Browne. This was followed by meetings with the committee involved with developing the plan – Carole Fleming, Chair of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, Monsignor Trevor Murray and Fr Darren Macfarlane. Bishop Steve has noted the need to look to the future as major changes were being experienced in the diocese. Hamilton and Tauranga continue to experience rapid growth. A number of rural towns and areas continue to experience depopulation. Changes in society have impacted on the Church and in turn on Mass attendance and vocations to the religious and priestly life. “We have big questions to reflect on as to how we can best pastor the cities and the rural areas with our resources.” Following Bishop Steve’s discussions with those involved, the “Who is My Neighbour? The Promulgation Document (Final Draft)” was prepared and published on 14 July 2015. The proposed restructure of the Hamilton diocese is set out in the accompanying diagram. As well as the consultative bodies and the Chanel Centre, the structure includes eight collegial areas into which will fit the parishes. The original plan had nine collegial areas, which included “Hamilton Central” and “Hamilton North”. However, in the new plan, the parishes in the Hamilton area are collected under the temporary banner of “Waikato Central”. In laying out the new version of the plan, Bishop Steve noted the document envisaged more conversations in each of the collegial areas. He invoked Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Evanelii Gaudium, in asking that discussions might be “bold, and creative in this task of rethinking and goals, structures, style and methods of evangelisation. The important thing is not to walk alone, but to rely on each other as brothers and sisters, and especially under the leaderships of the bishops, in a wise and realistic pastoral discernment”. While he was happy to visit and listen to deliberations in each area, Bishop Steve has urged individuals to be realistic about their future and the priestly staffing of the collegial areas. His hope is that in working through the plan, he will easily be able to endorse the ideas for collegial areas. “At the same time, it is part of my responsibility that decisions are made not only for the good of individual parishes but also the good of the whole diocese.” The proposed re-structure of the diocese includes restructuring plans for the following: • The College of Consultors • The Council of Priests • The Diocesan Finance Council • The Diocesan Pastoral Council • The Chanel Centre

The illustrations show as follows: Right, the proposed re-structure of the diocese. Below left, the proposed re-structure of the council of priests. Below right, the proposed re-structure of the Diocesan Finance Council and the Diocesan Pastoral Council. Note: The College of Consultors has endorsed the Collegial Areas and agreed on a process for the establishment of a new Council of Priests.


ketekorero August 2015

parish news Support service keeps hope alive for families By John Kavanagh


atholic Family Support Services is a caring arm of the Church, and is based at Te Ara Hou village which is situated on Morrinsville Rd in Hamilton. We provide a service to the greater Hamilton area. Our service is provided free of charge to anyone in need, regardless of their beliefs. We provide services to support families who are struggling with the demands of raising a family in today’s society, and we also provide a budgeting service for those who struggle to survive on a limited budget. Our goal is to “Keep Hope Alive” for these families - many of whom have given up all hope of getting ahead in life. Kylie was a young mum, with two young children under five years of age. She had previously been in a very abusive relationship, and had moved to Hamilton to escape from her partner. She knew nobody in Hamilton and had arrived with no home, and no possessions. She rang us for support. We were able to work with St Vincent de Paul to find her a place to live and then furnish it with the basics. After this, we put her in touch with Plunket and other support agencies. We supported her by going to Work and Income NZ appointments with her, to ensure that she had sufficient income coming into the house, and we provided her with food parcels while the benefit was being sorted out. At the same time, we spent a lot of time, just encouraging her, and supporting her to continue doing her very best with her children. She became more confident as time went on, and is now managing to cope quite well in her new home. One of the things that we find quite disturbing is the number of people who just cannot make ends meet. We have had families with young children who are living in cars, or sheds at the back of a friend’s place. We have families

who have lived without electricity for months on end, because they cannot afford to pay the power bills. For young children to be brought up in such conditions is very concerning. As one who was brought up to think our country was the greatest place on earth to raise children, this has been quite a disillusioning experience for me. Our budgeting service works with some of these people, supporting them to negotiate payments they can afford to pay to creditors. We often find though that in many of these situations, these families have turned in desperation to loan sharks and are paying exorbitant levels of interest. One such case recently involved a mum who took out a loan to purchase a car, only to have the head gasket blow after three months. She was left with having to continue with the repayments, but a car she couldn’t afford to get fixed. Catholic Family Support Services is funded (around 60 per cent) through government contracts, and the balance is from philanthropic trusts and donations. We have set up a CLUB 1000 gifting scheme for those who feel they would like to contribute to our work. If you would like more information about our Club 1000, please email or call me at 07-8563760. Please also remember us in your prayers. It is a real boost to our agency, knowing that we have the support of the wider church behind us in our work. John Kavanagh Manager Catholic Family Support Services P.O. Box 24010 Hamilton Ph 07-8563760 027-285 3340


Men of all ages from parishes within Hamilton City, are invited to a inaugural blokes breakfast with the Bishop Steve. Come along for some delicious food followed by an address from the bishop. Tickets are $15 per person and are available online or at the Rosa Mystica Catholic Bookshop. For more details visit: Or phone Mike 027-570 3164 or Bill 022-325 7475. FR PHIL REQUIEM MASS: A Requiem Mass for Father Phil Keane was held held on 20 July at Gisborne. Fr Phil lived continuously in the Gisborne area - mainly at Makaraka and its surroundings - since 1973. Previous to that Fr Phil served as parish priest of Ponsonby and had terms also at St Mary’s Hamilton and at Sancta Maria, Addington. Last year, Fr Phil celebrated 70 years as a priest. Father was known for his gentle humour, the twinkle in his eye and his kindly, generous spirit. He was a dedicated radio ham operator and a voracious reader. A good number of the books in our soon-to-be-opened parish library have come to us from Fr Phil Our special sympathy goes to Anne Marie Doyle and her husband Jeff Doyle. Anne Marie was Fr Phil’s niece and his next of kin. Anne Marie’s own father, Malcolm Brown’s Requiem was held recently. So Anne Marie had a double sorrow to carry. CONCERT—MARK YOUR DIARIES: London-based mezzo soprano Maureen Tarler, whose schooling was at Sacred Heart in Hamilton, was due to perform a concert in the Cathedral on 30 August at 2pm, while in New Zealand visiting family. CATHOLIC FAMILY CAMP 2015 is coming to Ngaruawahia Christian Camp from 16 - 18 October. Registrations are now open at: Thanks to a grant from the Tindall Foundation through Catholic Care Foundation, children under 18 years are free. So, fill the registration form out now and be part of a great weekend of family, fun and fellowship. For enquiries please phone Stephanie or Marcel 07-974 1200.


• Accounting Services • Business Valuations • Business Planning & Advice • Succession Planning • Personal & Company Taxation T: +64 7 838 2169 F: +64 7 838 3322 3 London Street PO Box 911 Hamilton 3240

ketekorero August 2015


parish news Diocese planning as demand for Catholic school places rises


he growth in population centred on areas around Hamilton and Tauranga has given rise to planning to meet the increasing demands on Catholic schools. An article in the 7 July edition of the Waikato Times focused largely focused on Hamilton, reporting how expectant non-Catholic parents were registering their unborn children with Catholic schools. Graeme Roil, Manager of the Catholic Integrated Schools Office, has provided the following details regarding the wider situation across the diocese, as follows: Hamilton and the greater Waikato district is where almost 60 per cent of our students are represented. Bishop Steve Lowe is the Proprietor of 28 primary and four secondary colleges in the Diocese with 8700 students currently in our schools. The Catholic Integrated Schools Office at the Chanel Centre manages those schools on behalf of the Proprietor. In addition, Sacred Heart Girls’ College has a further 920 students, the Mission Trust being

the Proprietor of Sacred Heart. Since the year 2000, roll numbers have increased from about 6450 students to 8700 in 2014, or growth of 35 per cent in the past 15 years. Much of that was achieved in a band of new schools opened between 10 and 15 years ago which included Tokoroa, Taupo, the Mount and also Aquinas College (Tauranga). The rest is being absorbed into existing schools. We have about 40 per cent of our schools managing rolls to their maximum roll and this extends into areas including Tauranga, Rotorua and Gisborne. As State Integrated Schools, increasing a maximum roll is at the discretion of the Ministry of Education. Before we make an application we complete full analysis including how any property requirements can be met as these must be funded by the Proprietor. So growth has to be sustainable and affordable. The issue for us in many schools, particularly in the large centres, is that rolls have reached maximum and the physical sites have also reached capacity. In Hamilton, there have been no new schools opened for more than 50 years. So growth during that time has been achieved

through the gradual increase of capacity of the various sites across the city. With significant growth in the north of the city we have no capacity to absorb that growth, so we are in negotiations for and support of the establishment of a new Catholic primary school in an area that has a population base (or will have) of close to 30,000 people. The demands are even higher in Tauranga, where growth has occurred at a much faster rate, particularly in the last 20 years. We have two primary schools with a combined capacity of 740 students in what is now New Zealand’s fifth largest city. Through a strategic review we identified that we would need to look at additional Catholic schools in that area also. In 2014 the Diocese purchased a three-hectare site in Papamoa that would have capability of meeting parish needs, together with the potential of a new Catholic primary school. That school would need to be a contributing school to Aquinas College, where growth would also need to be factored in. We are involved in early discussions with the Ministry of Education for the establishment of a new school on that site.

Motua Yvane expresses gratitude for support Dear friends in Christ, Time flies fast. At the time of writing this article, it’s two months and two days before I will have spent a year here in Te Fenua Enana, or the earth of the people (as in tangata whenua). It’s how the Archipelago of the Marquesas is called in “reo Enana”, the local language. So far, I have set up a Pastoral Unit under the patronage of Damian of Molokai. We have a conference of all the Tumu Pure from both islands that are under my responsibility, which meets once a year on one island in turn. A Tumu Pure is a lay person invested by the bishop to look after the parish and to preside over the Sunday Prayer. This service is not a Mass and does not have communion on every occasion, only on main feast days, like Christmas, Easter, when there is no priest available. On each island, I have a council of all the Tumu Pure of the island and we meet once every two months. This helps me very much in my ministry. I am trying to work with the Tumu Pure and not against them. They need to get used to a priest again, as the vacancy after the last parish priest was unfilled for more than three years. The Tumu Pure appreciate this way of working.

Honest to Goodness

The news that a Mass will be offered for one’s intention can bring joy and confidence to a living beloved. It can bring serenity to friends who have experienced a recent loss of a beloved

Joy Cowley

“Joy gave me a copy of these reflections on the Mass a few months ago, they are wonderful. Her deep insights and reflective wanderings through the Mass gave me many new images which helped me to pray and to come to a greater appreciation of the Mass. They are truly helpful and will assist many to “pray the Mass” and draw closer to God.” Cardinal John Dew, Wellington, NZ. Release date 30th May, 2015

The council brings them more together, so they can share and discuss their issues at the council meetings. We try to help those who share the best we can. To support this work, I have planned a communication system. The system involves installing a fax machine in every valley and the internet on three points in Ua Pou and one point on Ua Huka, because it is the smaller island, with fewer valleys. I am trying to upgrade the office in Hakahau, which is the central base for the Pastoral Unit. We are building up an IT network that will be operating in about two months after the coming out of this August 2015 edition of Kete Korero. As we are very remote, it takes a lot of time to get the workers and even the material. But I am not giving up hope. I went in May to Tahiti to buy the material but, once back on the island, I had to return all routers. It turned out they were all defective. The shop, fortunately, replaced them and took on the freight costs, but one more delay and inability to use the internet in spite of the fact that we were billed. Nevertheless I am delighted and grateful for your generosity that helped me to buy the nine faxes for all the valleys along with the routers

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and hubs for the network. I have to now look for the cabling and especially the pipes that will be outdoors as they have to be UV resistant. Parts of the cabling as been paid by the raised money, for which I am grateful. The next big project is the refurbishment of the church in Hakahau that is 35 years old. Nothing has been done to it in that time. Bishop Guy Chevalier is happy that I am looking after it and just gave “Carte Blanche” freedom for all expenses, which is a great honour and challenge. We have to redo the roof as well as repairing the church tower and the belfry inside that houses the bell. With that, I have asked my Swiss friends to help me obtain a tower clock in the tower and the locals are really keen to have it. It’s a project of about NZ$20,000. We are working with a French firm that is specialising in tower bells, chimes and clocks. In time, I will probably have a look into solar power options as we have a lot of sunshine to spare here. Well, so far the are the latest news from Motua Yvane in the Marquesas. Many thanks for your generosity and support financially and through your prayers. With my love and prayers God bless you all Sincerely Motua Yvane+ The following are the bank account details should anyone want to donate to Pa Yvan’s work in Marquesas BNZ Hamilton 02 0112 0258380 - 97 Acct Name: Marquesas Islands Mission Margie Cooper has been appointed as Receptionist and Administration Officer for the Parish of St Thomas Aquinas. Margie came to the parish from St Mary’s School, where she has been involved in a support role in religious education and also in special needs.


ketekorero August 2015

profile Coming home a departure for Sr Marie


Sister Marie Finn in the Chapel at Waikato Hospital.


t is a long way from the depths of the northern regions of the Province of Manitoba in Canada, to the wards of Waikato Hospital in Hamilton. For Sister Marie Finn, it is something of a return home at the same time as being something of a departure. The Ngaruawahia-born Sr Marie is now 64 and has been a religious sister for 44 years. The oldest of six children, three boys and three girls, she attended St Paul’s Catholic primary school in Ngaruawahia. It was there and at Sacred Heart Girls’ College in Hamilton, that she got to know the life and work of the Sisters of Our Lady

of the Missions (commonly known as RNDM). After leaving school, Marie did two years of community nursing at Waikato Hospital before entering the Novitiate for the RNDM order. She trained for three years at the Catholic Teachers’ College, Loreto Hall, in Auckland, and taught in a number of schools throughout New Zealand. In 1986, Sr Marie was “missioned” to Canada, where the RNDM order, founded in France in 1861, has historically strong ties. The sending of sisters to Canada from New Zealand is reported as going back to the beginnings of the order in New Zealand in the late 19th Century (starting in 1868). Post-Vatican II, the RNDM sisters in Canada began missions among the First Nations people. Sr Marie is noted in the history of the order in Canada as being one of the sisters who “have heavily invested themselves in this work”. The sisters particularly work in the isolated regions of the central provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. (The story of the RNDMs in Canada 1898-2010 – Sr Marie worked in Canada for 27 years, largely doing pastoral care work in isolated areas where there may not be a priest. During the last eight years, she was working with senior sisters and did hospital volunteer work. After returning to New Zealand at the start of 2014, Sr Marie had a transition year during which she trained for hospital chaplaincy doing the clinical pastoral education (CPE) course. Sr Carmel Horan, who had ministered to generations of patients and families at Waikato Hospital over a 40-year period, retired and this led to Sr Marie’s return to the Waikato. “I see this ministry as offering compassionate, respectful support in what may be a very difficult time in a person’s life,” she says. “People initially come to hospital for healing in their body or mind, but emotional and spiritual support are also important and may enhance the healing process. “Spending time away from their everyday

life often gives people time to reflect on and reevaluate their life journey.” Patients may be facing some form of change in their life, with all the attendant letting go and loss this can bring. “They may experience fears and anxieties, loneliness and sadness and perhaps confusion and anger wondering about God’s presence in their life, or why this illness happened to them. People often share their hopes and joys and the reassurance and comfort they find in their faith in a loving God.” Sr Marie does not see the chaplain as having all the answers but providing a listening, nonjudgemental presence, accompanying the person as they walk the healing journey to recovery. As a Catholic chaplain, offering prayer, traditional or otherwise, and the sacraments, to Catholic patients is another aspect of ministry that may bring comfort, reassurance and hope to the patients and their families. Although many people have relatively short stays in hospitals, some are patients for a longer time, so the chaplain gets to know them quite well and may be present with them through the “ups and downs” of their stay. Father Gerard Boyce is the priest chaplain at the hospital and Sr Marie says she works alongside the Ecumenical chaplaincy team. The chaplains provide spiritual health care to people with a wide range of health needs and from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds, and are also available to staff within the hospital community.

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ketekorero August 2015



Celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life Excerpt from the Pope Francis’ letter to Consecrated Men and Women. I want to say one word to you and this word is Joy…..Wherever consecrated people are, there is always Joy. [Pope Francis]. In this Year of Consecrated Life, it is a good chance to re-visit the role and calling of religious men and women in our time. A vocation is always an intiative of God; God’s call in living Consecrated Religious Life, Is a pilgrimage of loving transformation. Religious are

nourished by the restless search for God in our own lives and in the lives of those we share in, as well as the daily rhythms of Earth, our common home. Being in God in this way, helps us, individually and communally, to discern the signs of the times in our context, and expand our prophetic attitude. Pope Francis’ emphasis on joy is a challenge for Religious to bring God’s consolation to others. This joy is confirmed in the expression of community, and the particular way each congregation expresses their charism. A charism is a particular gift

or way of being that different congregations gift a diocese with. There is often the call for religious to be back in schools, or in parishes, or taking sacramental programmes. Each congregation continually reflects on the mission and context of being present they have been entrusted with. This is in keeping with the original inspiration of founders and foundresses. And so more and more today, the prophetic response of religious will sometimes see them beyond church structures, and in the arena of social justice; refugees/migrants; Citizens Advice Bureau; the shut–in and

elderly; with believers of other faith traditions. The call for religious is to welcome in daily companionship the joys and sorrows of all people, giving them “heart warmth”. This is not a private matter for the soul of the religious. Pope Francis calls on religious to strip away the fear of opening the doors and going out to encounter all, especially the poorest of the poor, the needy, the remote. He invites religious to visit the frontiers of thought and culture, to promote dialogue, bring a holistic vision of the human person, claimed and loved by God.

Atawhai Mai Atawhai Atu - Mercy Given, Mercy Received Call and response is at the heart of the story of the Mercy Sisters.


ga Whaea Atawhai o Aotearoa Sisters of Mercy New Zealand is a religious congregation of vowed women seeking to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ by engaging in the works of Mercy, according to the charism of Catherine McAuley. The congregation came into being in December 2005 when Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin amalgamated their four religious institutes. The Sisters of Mercy who first came to Aotearoa New Zealand in 1850 in response to a call from wahine Maori, trace their origin to Catherine McAuley and her two companions who founded the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland in 1831. Inspired by Catherine McAuley, whose experience of the needy in Dublin impelled her to compassionate, merciful action, we too sow real seeds of hope and search for new horizons to express God’s mercy.

Mercy Sisters gathered at Atawhai Assisi.

Catherine McAuley had the ability to imagine life differently. Popularly called “walking nuns” the first Sisters of Mercy went out into the streets and homes of the needy of Dublin in a way that was not typical for religious sisters of the time.

creators of new patterns of involvement; from simply preserving what has been handed down, to enhancing today’s ministries for tomorrow’s mission.

In her approach to her work, Catherine McAuley may be described as innovative, collaborative and highly professional. The springboard of her innovation was a response to need. Her focus was on things not being taken care of elsewhere by other people and/or institutions, and on works crying out to be done.

Mercy’s work is a ministry. It is not only about delivering services; it is about proclaiming the Gospel and responding to the unmet needs of our time.

Today, being involved calls for a shift in perspective, from being guardians of inherited structures and ways of working, to becoming

Centred in God we ask, “What will we bring to birth as we live God’s call to be Mercy?”

• •

Farm succession Property transactions

The vision of Nga Whaea Atawhai o Aotearoa is particularly shaped by Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the cry of Papatuanuku Earth.


Business Families Trusts

• •

Pictured above: (Left) Te Ngakau Atawhai Heart of Mercy, a bronze by Gael O’Leary rsm, 2003. See more at: (Right) The Mercy Cross. Catherine McAuley designed the original Mercy Cross. Catherine chose the cross to be the symbol of the Sisters of Mercy because of her deep love for the crucified Jesus. You may have notice that the Cross does not actually have the crucified Jesus on the Cross. This is because Catherine believed that each Sister of Mercy places herself on the Cross to be like Jesus. Sisters of Mercy all around the world wear this cross so we can recognise who they are. See more at:

More on the Year of Consecrated Life • Read the Sisters of Mercy ministries in the Waikato stories on Page 8. • The works of the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny are described on Page 9. • The Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions in Hamilton (RNDM Sisters) provide details of their mission on Page 10 .

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ketekorero August 2015

feature The Sisters of Mercy ministeries in the Waikato respond Sr Joy Danvers RSM

care to our residents, and that means we attend not only to their physical and emotional needs but also their spiritual wellbeing.


began my ministry of Prison Chaplain eight years ago at Waikeria Prison. There are up to 900 men inside this prison. Men aged between 18 and 83 years of age, who have families and loved ones, and who have committed crimes against other human beings and their loved ones. I listen to the stories of these men. Stories of mental health, addiction, fear, abuse, dashed dreams and failure that have inevitably led to a cycle of pain, trauma, despair and dysfunction. One of my major tasks, in the words of Pope Francis, is to invite them to know ‘the Lord is inside with them’, that there is hope, healing, forgiveness and a way of putting things right so they can be free. As a corporal work of mercy, the outreach to those shut away from the rest of society is endorsed by Jesus, who identifies himself with the least of his sisters and brothers. ‘For I was sick and in prison, and you visited me’. When I sit with them, I sit with Christ. If by visiting them I can give them something to anchor their lives on again, hope may be reborn. I endeavour to build bridges, not walls. Visiting prisoners was one of Catherine McAuley’s earliest ministries. I see my chaplaincy as a way of bringing mercy, love, peace and joy to those I meet. In a letter I received from a grateful mother, she said “I just wanted to write you a few lines to tell you how grateful I am to you for looking after my son. I truly believe that God sends his special angels in times of need. I kept thinking, during the hardest time that, as long as you were with my son and helping him, we would come through this terrible ordeal”. As Sisters of Mercy, we are committed to Te Tiriti O Waitangi through living out the mission of our baptism and the charism of Mercy in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Srs Joy Danvers, Paulinus Karl and Jocelyn Wilson Te Tiriti O Waitangi invites us to consider who we are as individuals and as a community of women committed to gospel values and the discipleship of equals. Committed to being a merciful presence in the world, we continue the justice – seeking tradition that promotes the beauty and richness of human diversity as a gift from God. I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. John 10:10 Sr Paulinus Karl RSM I have been a Sister of Mercy for 65 years. For 40 years, I was teaching in primary convent schools in Papatoetoe, Takapuna, St Michael’s Rotorua, Devonport and Kaitaia. Besides teaching in school time, we taught CCD classes after school and at the weekends. In all these parishes, we had very supportive priests and parents, and lovely friendly children. Early in my religious life I was fortunate to spend two years in Pawarenga, a Maori Mission Station in Hokianga. It was a Mission experience for which I am most grateful. When I retired from teaching, I was appointed to St Catherine’s Rest Home at our Mother House in Ponsonby. Our elderly and infirm sisters were the primary residents, but we also had some sisters from other orders. Here I was able to help and befriend the residents, their


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families and staff. This experience prepared me for coming to Atawhai Mercy Assisi Home in 1999. On Fridays, I am part of a group at St Vincent de Paul who cook a dinner and serve it to the hungry. They are so appreciative of a good hearty meal. I am reminded how Catherine McAuley always gave food to the hungry who came knocking at her door. Now that I am semi-retired, I am still able to continue the works of Mercy and be a Mercy presence where ever I am, now and in the years ahead. Retirement also means I have more time for prayer and reflection. I feel privileged to be ministering in the Waikato Diocese Sr Jocelyn Wilson RSM How are we to give expression to the spiritual and corporal works of mercy in our time? One of the corporal works of Mercy is to visit the sick. In her time, Catherine McAuley met this need for visitation of the sick and dying both in their homes and in hospitals. I am privileged today to be continuing in the footsteps of our founding sisters, and sharing in the lives of the frail, elderly at Atawhai Mercy Assisi. In my role as Pastoral Care coordinator I walk alongside those in need of our care, with an open, listening heart, respecting those with other faith traditions and those with no religious affiliations. Each of us would have our meaning for the words ‘pastoral’ or ‘spiritual’ because each of us is coming out of our personal, cultural, ethnic, family or religious background. Here at Atawhai Assisi Home and Hospital we aim to give holistic

Our residents are the “wisdom people” of our time, and have much to offer as they share their life’s journey - their sorrows, and their joys, their hopes and their challenges for the future. I am humbled as I listen to their stories of great sacrifice for the sake of others, and for the huge contribution they have made over many years, to family, to church community and the wider community. When they come into residential care, they don’t stop giving. They continue to be concerned for one another, sometimes making new friends with other residents, their families and staff. Coming into residential care, they may be faced with many questions, doubts and fears. During this transitional time, the person needs to be allowed to tell their story to someone who really listens in a non-judgmental way, who is able to encourage and affirm the resident and most of all is able to resist from giving advice. There is healing in the telling, especially when one experiences being listened to with head, ears and heart. There are just so many gracefilled moments in the day that make this ministry special. I cannot speak about my work without mentioning the generous contribution made by a group of volunteers who assist by bringing wheelchair residents from the hospital to Mass. Sr Paulinus and I could not do it without their help. As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me. The Gospel challenges us to reflect “Who is my neighbour?”. In our willingness to walk alongside others we are changed and enriched by those we accompany.

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feature The Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny Striving to do a little good through prayer and service


e are a missionary congregation of about 3,000 sisters working in the five continents of the world. In the Pacific, the sisters work in the Fiji Islands, Cook Islands, New Zealand, Philippines, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands. We strive to do a little good

wherever we work and aim to promote peace, justice and dignity of the human person. Our missionary life of prayer and service expresses our love for God and people. In the Hamilton Diocese, we offer our service in any way we can. We specifically serve the Parish of St Thomas Aquinas, Tauranga by helping in the parish office, visitation of the sick and housebound, offering spiritual guidance and administering a retreat centre. We also walk beside the staff and students of St Mary’s School as a living presence of Cluny Charism. Here in New Zealand we also serve in the Auckland Diocese. Our service involves kindergarten administration, nursing, parish sacramental and pastoral programmes, visiting the sick and offering spiritual direction. Please see our province website for further information:

L-R: Sisters Allison Macalister (Provincial Leader) Joan Van der Zyden (General Councillor) Gabrielle O’Neill and Emeli Marafono. The Congregation of Sisters of Saint Joseph of Cluny was founded in 1807 in Chalon, France, by Anne-Marie Javouhey. The Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny are apostolic religious, rooted in personal and community prayer, united in communities of Sisters, attentive to the signs of the times, listening to the ‘cries’ of our world, open to the world and inserted into the local community, available for the Mission.

The Cluny Sisters play an active role in Tauranga, where they work with teachers and staff at St Mary’s School and provide guidance and a haven of peace at the Cluny Retreat in Thirteenth Avenue (left and above).

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ketekorero August 2015

feature Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions in Hamilton


t was in 1884 that the first sisters arrived in Hamilton to begin the missionary presence that continues today. The focus for the RNDM Sisters has been catholic education, which saw the opening of many primary schools in the diocese and Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Hamilton. After Vatican II, and further reflection on our charism, the presence of the RNDM Sisters in the diocese is showing a different face, We are fewer in number, and our mission reaches our students in various ways – music teaching, migrants and refugees. Others engage in pastoral work such as: Hospital chaplaincy; Meals on Wheels; care and concern for those with mental health issues; advocacy for justice and peace, and visiting the elderly and shut ins. While our visibility might not be as high as before, nevertheless, we are faith-filled women of Euphrasie Barbier, our Foundress, who 150 years ago sent her first four Sisters from Fance to Aotearoa New Zealand. For further information

Carmel Horan

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Srs Anne Marie, Colleen, and Raewyn - Hamilton Photo right: From the Peace Sanctuary Chapel. Sr Barbara Cameron, Kiwitahi.

The Peace Sanctuary, Kiwitahi Barbara Cameron RNDM To be contemplatives at the heart of the world, stillness, solitude and the loving look form part of the rhythm of our lives wherein we embrace the whole of creation. Gen. Gathering 1996 The Peace Sanctuary, a cottage in Kiwitahi with a tiny chapel, was set up in 2003 to be a place where RNDMs could live more contemplatively, share that contemplative space, and focus ministry on peace and reconciliation for anyone on their spiritual quest for healing and inner peace. “True peace will come only when each individual finds peace in her own heart.” Etty Hillesum; “An Interrupted Life” My RNDM contemplative missionary call is a commitment to prayer and action for peace in my own heart, peace in the world and in particular for a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine, ending the 40-year long military occupation of Palestine by Israel.

Sister Philippa Reed

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The Peace Sanctuary offers a way of making tangible the contemplative dimension of our lifestyle. “Called to be contemplatives at the heart of the world, we are challenged to make tangible the contemplative dimension of our lifestyles.” The flock of white doves, universal symbols of peace, which live at the Sanctuary are a constant and beautiful reminder of our desire for and commitment to peace.

include your Catholic Parish in your Will Contact your Parish or the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, Chanel Centre, Hamilton Phone: 0800 843 233 Email:

ketekorero August 2015


feature St Vincent de Paul grows to provide wide-ranging social services


he Hamilton-based operations of Saint Vincent de Paul are providing a wide range of services to people in need of social assistance.

Mike Rolton has been General Manager at Hamilton St Vincent de Paul (SVDP) since 2011 and is using the skills he gained in his previous career in the international fish products trade in Asia to help grow charity (SVDP) in the Waikato area to become a multi-faceted, lead social service agency. Mike’s motivation for being involved with the society together with the many volunteers and hardworking staff is all based on the works of Frederic Ozanam the founder of the Society which started in Paris in 1833. “What I did see over there [in Asia] was poverty – probably worse than we have here. My main client was based in New York, so you went from one extreme to the other three times a year.” Community Changes When Mike came home at the end of 2006, he saw the New Zealand he knew before going away wasn’t the country it was before he left – “it had changed dramatically.” He describes working in the charities’ sector as being harder than his previous job when money was the god and nothing else mattered. “But I came home and saw what was going on. I realised that whereas I could get out and do what I wanted when I was young, that’s now not available for most people.” At the time Mike started, the local organisation was facing a crisis and seriously needed to change the way it worked. “We had to look at what we could do: We didn’t, for example, work with any other organisations like

we do now.” The operation is based around a large shop and office premises in the heart of the Hamilton suburb of Frankton. Today, 17 agencies come to SVDP for help. In the period between July 2014 and May 2015, SVDP furnished more than 228 houses with donated goods and provided people with 712 food parcels. Mike says SVDP this year is seeing a massive increase in people coming to it who work in paid employment. “What we’ve seen here in particular is a massive increase in people coming in for help who work,” says Mike. “They work, but they are on lowpaid jobs. Because they are living week-to-week, they only need one thing to go wrong that week, and it throws them completely out.” Both parties in a set-up might work, but low wages means only the slightest thing needs to go wrong, and they cannot afford the groceries or to pay the rent. “One thing has to go wrong or it might be school fees or a big power bill in the middle of winter, and it completely throws them out.” SVDP then helps them for about four weeks, paying the food bill for a month to get them over the hump. “What I have noticed this year is the constant flow of people coming in asking for help hasn’t stopped.” Brian Bennett, the president of the Hamilton area council of conferences, works in the shop on Tuesdays. He says the Frankton base is like a railway station with a stream of people coming in seeking a whole range of assistance. The

Hamilton St Vincent de Paul general manager Mike Rolton with volunteer Grace Frawley and Hamilton Area Council president Brian Bennett in the Frankton store.

higher SVDP’s profile has become in the area, the more the awareness of the services it offers has grown. Brian says more and more members are required to help as the services offered by SVDP grow. The Waikato has 10 conferences from Te Aroha to Taumaranui, with an average of eight members.

(Conferences are made up of “grassroot” members who live their Catholic faith in action through the spirit of Christian charity.) As well as the Frankton base, which includes a clothing and an antique shop, SVDP has clothing shops at Chartwell in eastern suburbs of the city and at Glenview

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ketekorero August 2015

school news

feature in Hamilton south (opened in July/August). The shops are located specifically in areas where help is provided to people in the local suburbs but also in reach of people with the wherewithal to be able to donate goods. More Than Op Shops But SVDP is more than the shops. It has, for example, 24 schools involved in a project in which 1300 lunches are provided to pupils each week in Hamilton and Morrinsville. The number of lunches has doubled from 650 a week when it started in December 2014. The SVDP Fulfil Van has been running since 2008 and now goes out into five different suburbs each week, making five stops in each of the suburbs it visits. Each stop takes about 2025 minutes to provide food and Milo to about 520 a week. A split of about 50:50 parents and children now turn up at the van, whereas youngsters previously made up 80 per cent. Adults are also given two loaves of bread, a litre of milk, muesli bars and whatever seasonal vegetables are available at the time. Each adult is also provided with a dozen eggs. “Budget is the big issue for parents,” says Mike. “They can’t stretch their budget through the week and us feeding them one meal a week means they can make their budget extend from one week to the next.” “We give them milk so they can have better quality drink in the house; we give them eggs, so they can have good meals, and we give them bread.” Volunteers are encouraged to engage with the parents to find out what area their biggest concerns, such as: What are the issues in their street? How are they surviving? Are they able to feed their children? Staff members can help or one of the conferences can have people visit the family. The information gleaned while the food van visits is fed back to the office, where staff

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members work out a plan and advise conference presidents. A soup kitchen/homeless lunch on Friday attracts about 70 people, with a rapid increase this year of elderly women attending. Many of the women are widows whose pensions do not cover their needs and are living on not very much. The number of young or solo mothers coming to this lunch has also increased. The changes have led to consideration of running two separate lunches, one for the men and the other for the women and children. “The exciting thing about the lunches is that we have started a cooking programme for the men twice a week,” says Brian. The men are taught how to cook vegetable soup one week, and the meal produced is used on the Friday as part of the lunch. Mike says when he leaves his office and goes to talk to the people as they line up for lunch, he finds out their diet usually consists of fried food or fish and chips. “So we thought we’d set up cooking classes, which they are very enthusiastic about. The goal is that, at the end of the six-week course, for them to cook the Friday meal for their peers. They are also happy to do this. It gives them a challenge, rather than sitting at home being bored.” Cooking up Budget Recipes Mike works with Hamilton-based tertiary institute Wintec and Waikato University. A study was done on what would be a good cookbook. Wintec is now doing a feasibility study on the best way to teach them how to shop in supermarkets. This publication in turn could also be made available to a lot of people the staff and volunteers meet in their other roles. A programme involving budgeters threetimes a week at Frankton has a waiting list of about three weeks. A specialist day is held for people doing their Corrections Department service with the agency. “One of the things we find with probationers is that they get back into trouble because they don’t know how to budget and stay out of trouble. So we have this one day a week, solely for Corrections people.” This programme is working well because probationers can reduce the number of hours remaining on their sentence, with a plus that it helps prevent them reoffending. As a result of the low number of people reoffending, this programme has won awards for SVDP from Corrections. Although SVDP deals with people who walk in off the street, its relationship with the 17 other agencies means a safety net is provided by way of documentation, helping to ensure the right people are getting the help they need. “We never, ever turn people away though at St Vincent de Paul’s,” says Brian. “We are not here to judge.” For more information and to join St Vincent de Paul, contact: Mike Rolton General Manager 07-847 4044; mobile: 021 048 3113

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French lessons in sunny Noumea

On the last Friday of term two, eight Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Hamilton, senior French students, along with Mrs Cooper and Mrs Richmond, flew to Noumea to experience a week filled with French culture, food and nice warm weather. Five of the seven nights were spent with host families, with the underlying goal to speak, understand and embrace the French language in as many ways as possible.

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Cultural diversity stands out at Youth Day

From left at back: Felicity Bailey, Anita-Maree Bailey, Alex Bailey, Max Hendricks, Martin Doohan, Amy Rutten and Christopher O’Brien; and from left at front: Michael Kilkelly, Briege Koning, and Hannah Garratt pose with Pope Francis before the World Youth Day Experience Auckland Pilgrimage. By Michael Kilkelly group of young adults recently travelled to Auckland to represent the youth of our diocese at the 2015 Auckland World Youth Day Experience.


The event is held each year to allow young people to experience the spirit of World Youth Day, founded by St John Paul II, here in New Zealand. The day began with Adoration at St Patrick’s Cathedral followed by Mass. The cathedral could barely hold the numbers that turned out for the celebration with many pilgrims forced to sit on the floor in the aisles or lean on the walls. Celebrant Fr Bernie Thomas commented on how the cultural diversity among the youth gathered there reflected Christ’s call to make disciples of all nations. Mass was followed by a procession by the

youth through the centre of Auckland to the Victory Centre for a time of worship, testimony and teaching.


Keen to enjoy an evening of performance and festivity? Mosaic Festival is an event not to be missed! Featuring guest speaker Therese Joyce of and other acts from the very talented Catholic youth of New Zealand. The festival will be held at ZEAL Hamilton on Saturday 5 September 2015 and is open to any youth and young adult. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at or by e-mailing Briege Koning at


The focus of the event was social justice with a special focus on the Pope’s new encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ which encourages us to become better stewards of the environment God has created for us. Guest speakers like Bishop Pat Dunn and Phil Glendenning, Director of the Edmund Rice Network in Australia, shared stories and offered advice on how youth could become voices for social change within the church and in society. The trip was an enjoyable time of fellowship and prayer although the most popular member of the Hamilton group was probably the life size cut-out of Pope Francis, who spent the day granting requests for selfies and photos. We left encouraged in our mission as the youth of the church to “cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.” (Laudato Si)

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ketekorero August 2015

youth Building future leaders in Gisborne

The church was a simple plain, old building. A building with a few decorations hanging on the walls, uncomfortable pews, and on a Sunday full of words that I couldn’t understand. I would go up with my hand over my chest, and mum would have some wafers and wine, which I never quite understood because my thoughts of alcohol and the Church didn’t align. In my mind, God was the man who gave me blue eyes and red hair. He had lots of rules, and He lived just above the clouds. My thoughts on salvation were somewhat askew. God forgives, right? So why did I need to live a certain way or follow His teachings? Oh, how things have changed. Fast forward a few years and the church is now warm and comforting. Mass is still at times hard to understand, but so reverent and meaningful. The wafers and wine are most certainly the body and blood of Christ. Those ‘rules’ that God had have become the building blocks of my morals. Filing the Void I had tried for years to fill a void with so many different things: I wasn’t unhappy and nor was I angry or lonely; but something was missing. What could I be living for if I wasn’t striving for the eternal joy of knowing God? I have come to realise that the things of the world cannot provide lasting happiness. I still have my moments where I think something to be far more essential than need be, but I feel so much more comfortable with where I am in my faith. Perhaps part of my reasoning for being distant was the falling number of young Catholics, especially in a small city like Gisborne. I felt lonely in my faith, or ‘different’ to others at school. Setfree, a Catholic Youth Festival, was an excellent opportunity to make me feel inclusive in a group of young Catholics. Meeting people who had the faith and who were witnesses to this faith that gave them absolute joy was eye opening. This made me eager for a generation of young people fully alive in Christ in my little community in Gisborne, especially Campion College. My best friend

Members of the Identity Youth Group, Gisborne. Mary and I decided to step up and establish a youth group where students felt at home in the church and to encourage them finding their personal faith. Our youth group began as ‘JC revolution’ about a year-and-ahalf ago and, as of this year, has emerged as ‘Identity Youth.’ It has been great fun to get to know students on a deeply personal level, and we have had some exciting games nights, as well as discussion and sharing plenty of pizzas. Our youth group runs once a month after youth Mass and has grown from 5-10 to 20-30 participants in the past year. We also dedicated a lot of time to promoting the youth group in our classes at Campion College, and this has paid off. Road Trips to Hamilton We have been on many memorable road trips to Hamilton for events the Catholic Youth Office has run, such as Setfree and Sports Night, all of which have been such a great success. With the support of our parish St Mary’s Star of the Sea, we have been able to accomplish much more than we had expected. Being a young Catholic in Gisborne is no longer lonely, but so very exciting and enrichening. Mary and I get to see people grow closer to Christ and experience the same things we have, and more. ‘Identity youth’ is like a second family, and as Mary and I are moving on to study elsewhere next

year, we hope to build up some future leaders of the group. I look forward to the future of our youth group, and the fruit that it might bear in the lives of our young community. Ciara Lovelock, College Gisborne


Mary Hogan and Ciara Lovelock at the 2015 youth volunteer awards in Gisborne.

Interested in becoming involved in a Youth Group? Contact Alex Bailey, and Briege Koning,

ketekorero August 2015


parish news Early life lay foundations for Msgr David Bennett


deep cultural and religious background helped give Monsignor David Bennett a wider than usual perspective during his 50 years of priesthood. Msgr David recently retired in Cambridge, having been Parish Priest there together with Matamata for several years. He is living in a newly built villa in which is in a new area facing the Waikato river on one side of the Resthaven Village. He has Aneka, a Swedish Valhunz dog as a companion; they play games of chase the ball f0r exercise. During the early 1990s, when at St Michael’s in Rotorua, the young Father Bennett held a Mass celebrating the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. The event created much excitement among youngsters, who were able to bring along their pet dog, cat or rabbit for a blessing after Mass. The event provided a very real point of connection between the saint, the Spirit, and the children who loved their pets. Now, of course, we have a pope who reveres St Francis as “the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation.” (Source: Catholic News Service) The Bennett name is synonymous with Rotorua and the Anglican Church. Msgr David was baptised in St.Faith’s Anglican Church, on the shores of Lake Rotorua. His grandfather and grandmother are both buried at the church – his grandfather, who became the first Bishop of Aotearoa - in the sanctuary, and his grandmother, the first grave outside the main door. An uncle, Manu Bennett was the third Bishop of Aotearoa in 1968 and as bishop-elect was given a place of honour with a seat in front of the first pew at the ordination of his nephew in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Auckland. Bishop Manu’s wife was educated at St Joseph’s Maori Girls College at Greenmeadows, Napier. After earlier schooling at Hamilton’s Southwell School, Msgr David went to the Marist Brothers School, which was behind the cathedral, bringing with him the advantage of having already done two years of Latin and French. During his last year at school, work was finalised for the new St John’s College, with boys from the Marist school picking stones of what was to become the playing fields. In his sixth form year at school, Msgr David became a Catholic and, after finishing seventh form, entered the seminary. His conversion was helped by Monsignor Leonard Buxton, who knew the Bennett family and was very supportive. Msgr Buxton, who was to receive David into the church at the Easter vigil liturgy 1961, ran through the ceremony earlier in the day. When the family asked where they would be placed for the evening ceremony, Monsignor said “wait a minute, I have already baptised him, I forgot it was a practice!” It was not until David’s final year in the seminary that the matter came up again and the Canon Lawyer staff member and former rector, Dr Bernard Courtney said it was best to go to the local parish and to have the baptism again to ensure there was no doubt of the validity of his baptism. While at school, he was influenced by Father Vince

Monsignor David Bennett at home in Cambridge, surrounded by family Hunt, who used to meet with a small group of students to discuss questions of faith. Fr Hunt also helped supervise weekly boarders living at what became the Passionist Monastery and they both worked together at Holy Cross College, the national seminary and Mosgiel. Taking into account his life and background, Msgr David says he has always enjoyed priesthood. He recalls how his uncle Bishop Manu Bennett said what he appreciated about his nephew was that when he became a Catholic, he didn’t denigrate his religious background. “Bishop Manu appreciated how I respected the faith of others and my strong awareness of my Anglican background; and how the family was involved in some of the key moments of my priesthood, like the ordination, and the fact that now there are several ordained Anglican clergy within the Bennett family.” He welcomes the message coming from Pope Francis stressing the fact that the clergy must be with the people. “What people like with the Pope is he is encouraging the church to be a welcoming church. It doesn’t mean ‘welcome, and you have to do this and that’ but the body of people in the church reach out with mercy and forgiveness. We have to move from wanting to put everybody into the one garment to being able to stress that a merciful God is there to welcome us.”

Msgr Bennett is the family historian. As such, he has prepared a circular family tree for the family with the names of five generations of the family, including the 75 first cousins of his generation, a generation which includes his half brother who became a Baptist pastor in the United States, several Anglican ordained clergy as well as an uncle and aunt-husband and wife team among ministers of different denominations. They all trace their family link from John Boyle Bennett a Methodist minister in Clonakilty, County Cork, Republic of Ireland. His interest is displayed in the photographs depicting the different generations on display in his home.


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Profile for The Catholic Diocese of Hamilton

Kete Korero August 2015  

Publication of the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, New Zealand

Kete Korero August 2015  

Publication of the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, New Zealand