Morena – Good morning to our PFG members and friends,

I am sitting in Hawkes Bay at Rob and Lynn’s Hill’s home after a lovely long walk-in brilliant sunshine. It is an idyllic setting for thinking and reflecting. I have once again been facing people who have been dedicated to Passionist Family Groups and looking for others to replace them in leadership but sadly the stocks are very low. People still see the value of gathering and supporting one another and are at odds like everyone else as to why people are not joining their ranks and willing to support this endeavour of being a ‘family for all’.

It is important to add to our reflection that the 30 to 45 age brackets are not coming to church yet are enrolling their children in catholic schools. It would seem worthy for us all to reflect on this fact and think about what we offer these people who are seeking a values-based education but don’t want to be at the Sunday Mass. We also have to reflect that the JC’s, Lyons , RSA’s and other community-based organisations are experiencing what PFG’s and the Catholic church are experiencing. Their leaders are aging and there are very few to take over. This does force us to think about who we are, how we are and how we engage and interact with others. Seems appropriate in this time of Synod reflection.

Other denominations have also expressed similar concerns. Yet, there are pockets where some communities are growing, thriving and this seems to be via minister who engages with his people, welcomes them, supports their initiatives with trust and enthusiasm who encourages the community to share and go out to others just as the acclamation from this Sunday reminds us.“Go, make disciples of all the nations. I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.” Matthew 28: 19,20

The challenge is forever with us to trust that God’s spirit will lead us to find a path to ‘be for others’.

To stand as the disciples stood waiting for the confirmation that this spirit of Jesus would flame them and harness them in both mind and heart and to see that the cross and passion are part of the resurrection story. We need to see that the call to follow Jesus is varied and will demand much of us as John 21 suggests. “Someone else will lead you to places you would rather not go.”

Our role in Passionist Family Groups is to ‘connect’, ‘welcome’, ‘show care and understanding’ and be ‘a sign of support, healing and fellowship’. It is a place where we see the pain of others and go out and support through listening and standing with others. We take this living spirit into our community celebrations by welcoming others and encouraging them to be part of our family.

We make mistakes, we get confused, we fail from time to time and yet when in communion with one another we experience the joy that’s comes from ‘loving one another’.

As Peter McGrath CP once said; “Family Groups don’t take away the pain and struggles of life but help us to live as followers of Jesus.” This Feast of the Ascension and next week Pentecost should fire us to see we have a way to go. However, we have a vehicle and each person no matter how young or old can bring Jesus to others. We can do this through our lived down to earth faith of living the core attitudes of Jesus by not being judgemental, having empathy, showing compassion, offering forgiveness and healing, being a friend, bearing with others with patience, warmth and of course humour. Sometimes we forget that good company requires us to tell stories, makes others comfortable via yarns that bring smiles and laughter.

Passionist Family Groups continue to do a power of good and we still need to pause and reflect on how can we engage and be the presence of Jesus to others in a very down to earth way. So, like a good red wine over time it gets better, it waits and when offered it is there to savour and be enjoyed. If we could be more like that to one another then. there would be wineries of the heart everywhere.    God go with you – have a good week, Paul

Update: After a week in Auckland, I returned home and this week in I am in Hastings to meet with the PFG of the three communities that make up this parish. Wednesday I will gather with Napier and its PFG communities of Napier, Taradale and Thomas More -Onekawa.

On Friday I travel to Wellington to meet both Wellington and Wellington South parish and next week I travel to Palmerston North. Thanks to all those hosting these gathering and those supporting our get togethers. –  I’ll be Always Loving you (Trisha Watts)


The Ascension of the Lord Year C, 29 May 2022.  – ‘I am with you always!’

First reading: Acts 1:1-11
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 46(47):2-3, 6-9
Second reading: Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23
Gospel: Luke 24:46-53
Link to readings – Click here

As Jesus ascends to heaven, he commissions us to be his living message of hope, love, and compassion in a world crying out for healing. Jesus is the head of the Church and we are the body, filled with his wisdom and power to ‘transform’ all creation (Second Reading).

We are not left to struggle on our own. The risen Jesus fills us with his Holy Spirit so that we who believe are his witnesses to the ends of the earth (First Reading). Jesus’ disciples do not dwell on their loss at his departing from their sight, but are instead ‘full of joy’ at the realisation that he is now with them forever (Gospel).



On Sunday 15th May 2022 at the 9.30am Mass we celebrated this wonderful milestone.  Although in 1992 our actual set-up was in March, for various reasons including Covid we were not able to celebrate then.

We advertised this celebratory Mass among our 4 existing groups over the preceding weeks as well as to the wider parish by means of the weekly parish newsletter.  At the other Masses over that weekend, our parish priest, Father John Fitzmaurice, spoke warmly about the PFG movement in a parish and the benefits of being part of a group.  We are very grateful for his ongoing support of and interest in Passionist Family Groups.  He and our priest in residence, Father Terry Montgomery, are regular attendees at our various Family Group activities.

We invited Paul Traynor to celebrate with us, as well as the NZ Trustees and Colin and Lindsay Brand – the other Auckland Diocese Regional Coordinator’s.  We were delighted that Paul in his capacity as National Coordinator of Passionist Family Groups Aotearoa was able to join us.  He spoke briefly after Mass – thanking Father John for his words of encouragement and encouraging parishioners to find out more about the movement and/or think of joining a group.


We were also delighted that John and Rosie Crawford were able to join us.  John and Rosie are currently Trustees of the Passionist Family Group Movement in NZ and previous Auckland Diocese coordinators, and they were a great support to the Howick group coordinators when the then parish coordinators left Auckland.  John and Rosie are still regular’s attendees when the Howick group coordinators enjoy a meal out together.

We started with 8 groups in Howick 30 years ago and we now have 4 active groups.  The group coordinators of these 4 groups are a strong group who meet regularly every 6 weeks to chat about what has been happening/is going to be happening in the groups.  From time-to-time groups get together for a monthly activity and we have at least 2 combined group events over the year.  All parishioners are invited to join any of the groups’ activities which are advertised in our weekly newsletters.

All in all, we have enjoyed 30 years of many fun filled hours at our various family group activities.  We have supported each other, laughed, and cried with each other.  We hope to do this for many more years to come.

Libby Giddey – Co- Parish Coordinator of Howick Parish


Dad Jokes About Food

  1. What do you call a fake noodle?
    An impasta.
  2. Why didn’t the melons get married?
    Because they cantaloupe.
  3. What did the Baby corn ask Mama corn?
    “Where’s my pop corn?”
  4. Why couldn’t the sesame seed get off the hill?
    It was on a roll.
  5. What kind of egg did the evil chicken lay?
    A deviled egg.
  6. Why did the onion get flustered?
    It saw the salad dressing.
  7. Why is the hot pepper the nosiest vegetable?
    It can’t help but get jalapéno space.
  8. Why do crabs never share their lobsters?
    They’re shellfish.
  9. What do you call a happy camper?
    A Jolly Rancher.
  10. Why are mushrooms always invited to parties?
    They’re a fungi.