Dear Passionist Family Group members and friends,
Well, some welcoming news from the PM this morning and while some will be relieved and excited others will be reserved and cautious. On balance, this is the fickle nature of humanity where we can never seemingly rest in the middle zone.
As reported previously, I have been around much of the South Island and yesterday returned from New Plymouth where I met with the group coordinators and their PP Simon Story. These people have been connected with PFG for over 30 years others less but importantly contributing to their local community. I understand that one of the things they wrestle with is the ageing but in all honesty this is something the Movement and the church is also dealing with.
In some places where there are PFG’s there is new growth and still a reasonable mix but for most they continue knowing that there is no line of replacements. This raises many questions in terms of the relevance of PFG’s going forward and a bigger question of the relevance of our church. However, there are bigger questions in relation to our society and our world. People are speaking much about the isolation and lack of connection they have experienced through this Pandemic. This reflects a position being adopted by people (which I have spoken about previously)of being caught up in this atmosphere of individualism and consumerism.
These continue to be challenging times and it behoves us to resist the temptation of just retiring into our shell and waiting for the trouble to pass. The call of Jesus forever challenges us to trust and have faith and when we are scared this is not so easy. The gospel this week shows the disciples doubting and then called to ‘go into deeper water’. The result is a great catch.
Our task continues to seek out each other and connect. In my travels I am continually hearing many groups are not meeting and often out of fear. This locking ourselves away does not help those others we are called to be ‘family’ to. It is our call and challenge to be ‘A Family for All’. You have all been amazing and despite age there are many who are doing things above and beyond. We, I believe, need to start taking small steps and reconnect with all members in our groups. It’s not a numbers game but a call to be for ‘each other’.
I want to reassure you that we want to support and encourage you and that in many places I am heartened by communities who truly believe that PFG’s can be a vehicle to nurture and nourish our local church communities. If there is any way we can assist you we will. There have been requests for parishes to relaunch their PFG’s and there are people out there who are waiting for an invitation. This is our call and ministry, to “connect”. This is exciting and necessary and it is our opportunity to open ourselves to others who are different; those who feel isolated and unsupported and those cultures who struggle for inclusion.
Let’s meet these challenges with faith, love and forgiveness. We are not to bash ourselves up! Rather, gently turn our hearts to trust that God is with us and this is witnessed in and through our PFG members. We must remain open and age actually doesn’t come into it. Everyone is called and asked to share their gifts and talents and remember, these remain active. How? Well, when you pick up the phone and dial to speak to someone you have not spoken to for some time; when you pick up a pen and drop a line; when you dial n for a Zoom; when you go for a walk and call out and have a chat from a distance. All these things start a connection and the other feels a warmth via care and concern.
When I started to write these letters it was my way of creating a connection with you. It’s my attempt to demonstrate care and a concern for all our people in PFG’s . it also through my parish community visits that I hope to encourage and suggests other ways and listen to concerns and learn how people are. So, that is me for this week. Please look after yourselves and look out for others. I am continually thankful for your service and commitment. We are still going, still growing and I do sincerely believe God is not finished with us yet. I have attached an excellent article from Le Croix International thanks to my brother, Brian.
I have planned a trip around the Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions.
12 February: Hastings
13 February: Napier. – celebrate their 30 years
14 February: Whakatane
15 February: Mt Maunganui then to Pukehina
16 February: Tauranga then to Paeroa
17 February: Cambridge
18 February: Te Kuiti then onto Waihi???
19 February: Otorohanga/Te Awamutu then to Hamilton
20 February: Hastings
21 February: Home
A big thank you to Clare for giving me the room to extend this service. In the spirit of supporting and caring for others we need to hold on and in our loving then ‘let go’.
Have a great week – God go with you.
Reflection Song: “Hold onto me” – by Lauren Daigle
Click here to play – https://youtu.be/WaGoIhSlWUQ
Scripture reflection: Put out into deep water!
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C, 6 February 2022
First reading: Isaiah 6:1-8
Responsorial psalm: Ps 137(138):1-5, 7-8
Second reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Gospel: Luke 5:1-11
Link to readings – Click here
The readings for this Sunday speak of Christ’s call to us, and the mission given to each of us to follow him and to proclaim the Lord’s message.
The prophet Isaiah describes a vision of the Lord of Hosts (First Reading). Although overwhelmed by his own sinfulness, the prophet experiences the gift of forgiveness and answers the call to be the Lord’s messenger.
In the Second Reading, St Paul tells the Corinthians that however unworthy his previous life has been, he has been given the grace to teach others. What he teaches has been handed down from the apostles and others who knew Jesus and witnessed his resurrection, and is the source of our belief.
In the Gospel we read of Jesus’s calling of Simon, James and John. Having fished all night without success, the disciples respond to Jesus’s invitation to ‘put out into deep water’, and are rewarded with an enormous catch of fish. Assuring them they have nothing to fear, Jesus gives them their mission as fishers of people.
This week, we pray that as we hear Christ calling us to our own unique mission, we will have the courage to put aside our fears of unworthiness. We ask the Lord for the grace to place all our faith and trust in him, and for the generosity to play our part in building his kingdom here on earth.
Vulnerable people need support to navigate Omicron crisis
Given the criticism from both media and Politicians of our Government it is interesting to read some information from Cath News Australia: “The Omicron crisis, rapid antigen test shortages and low-income areas lagging in COVID-19 booster vaccination rates must serve as an urgent reminder vulnerable people need equitable support, says Jesuit Social Services.
Jesuit Social Services acting chief Sally Parnell said the Omicron variant had placed “placed significant pressure on health systems across the country”.
She said the “most vulnerable members of our community” had been hardest hit, such as people who could not afford or access rapid antigen tests, casual or insecure employees who continue to experience disruptions to their work and low booster rates disadvantaged communities across the country.”
- “I got carded at a liquor store, and my Blockbuster card accidentally fell out. The cashier said never mind.”
- “Where do boats go when they’re sick?” “To the boat doc.”
- “I don’t trust those trees. They seem kind of shady.”
- “My wife is really mad at the fact that I have no sense of direction. So I packed up my stuff and right!”
- “How do you get a squirrel to like you? Act like a nut.”
- “Why don’t eggs tell jokes? They’d crack each other up.”
- “I don’t trust stairs. They’re always up to something.”
- “What do you call someone with no body and no nose? Nobody knows.”
- “Did you hear the rumour about butter? Well, I’m not going to spread it!”
- “Why couldn’t the bicycle stand up by itself? It was two tired.”
- “What did one hat say to the other?” “Stay here! I’m going on ahead.”
Prayer and blessings – keep a smile on your dial