Morena/ Passionist Family Group members and friends,
Last weekend we had a wonderful celebration in St Mary’s Paeroa. To have people such as Graham and Shelley Ward come from Auckland; Jocelyn and Billy from Papatoetoe (Jocelyn is the Chair of the New Zealand PFG Trust; Adriana van de Pas who worked in the PFG office for years in Paeroa with her children Lisa, Tania and Dean and his wife Tara and daughter Mia; Sally and Martin van de Wetering and daughter Anya with her three year old Cassie. Sally was the secretary of the PFG’s for many years; Mike and Debbie Cotter, Debbie was also in the PFG office. Wilma Schimanski drove up from Otorohanga; Lynn and Rob Hill whose tireless efforts got PFG’s off the ground in New Zealand. Betty and John Henderson from Tauranga with their daughter Kate and her husband Dan along with their two girls.
All these people and the Passionist Family Group and parish members all added to this occasion and made it a memorable time. The simplicity of the evening was marked by eucharist celebrated by Brian Traynor and joined by Fr Mark Field the parish priest. His support and encouragement of our Passionist Family Groups and parish coordinator Charlie and Maggi Gribble is fantastic. The spirit of this occasion is only matched by the warmth, care and compassion of both Charlie and Maggi Gribble. A wonderful pot luck dinner was shared and we were all reminded that ‘being family’ is about support, encouragement, laughter, and seeing and living our faith in action.
This coming weekend and the following we will be celebrating 35 years of Passionist Family Groups in Aotearoa-New Zealand and East Coast Bays. Please hold them in your thoughts and prayer as we gather to share. Occasions such as this allow us to reflect on what brought us here and what continues to keep us here.
Just like the early church we gather in small groups to support, encourage, share story, life, faith and do this all, “in memory of Jesus”.
So, as we enter this time of celebration we pause, remember and give thanks to all those who have gone before us, those with us and those who gone to do other things but left their mark through care, and generosity. Let this occasion be one that causes us to reach out and connect with your Passionist Family Group and thank each other for being there – we remember all the communities you come from as well as all the nations and cultures who now share home together in Aotearoa.
Have a good week and all God’s blessings on each of us. Attached is the second two parts of writing from Brian Traynor CP on the link between Paul’s churches and Passionist Family Groups. May we continue to work and bring it in our way through grace and faith to completion.
“When you go into the garden of prayer, do not collect the leaves of good feelings; rather, gather the fruit of imitating the virtues of Jesus.” (Paul of the Cross)
Scripture reflection: Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, 18 June 2023. We are his people, the sheep of his flock
First reading: Exodus 19:2-6
Responsorial psalm: Ps 99(100):2-3, 5
Second reading: Romans 5:6-11
Gospel: Matthew 9:36 – 10:8
Link to readings – click here
This week’s liturgy reminds us of who we are, whose we are, what has been done for us, and then, how we might feel drawn to respond.
For the people of Israel, relations with neighbouring tribes always offered tempting religious alternatives. The Exodus story (First Reading) was a constant reminder of their covenant with God, in which the whole nation was called to be made holy. St Paul writes to the Christians in Rome, teaching that their concerns should not, ultimately, be about what they are doing for God, but about what God has done, and is doing, for them. (Second Reading) That is also a sentiment echoed in this week’s Psalm – we, the sheep, are beneficiaries of a Good Shepherd who made us, who loves us, who is faithful to us, and to whom we belong.
St Matthew (Gospel) portrays Jesus as the compassionate shepherd of his suffering people. Jesus is concerned not only with their spiritual and practical needs, but also about ensuring there are enough ‘labourers’ on the ground to reach every ‘lost sheep’.
Thanks to Brian Traynor I have included a short history of the Passionists in New Zealand and the contribution of the Passionist Family Groups over the past 35 years.
The first foundation of Passionists in Australia was in 1843. Four Italians made the journey to undertake a mission to aboriginals. For a number of reasons, the mission failed. The second Passionist foundation to Australia was made in 1887 and it was not long before they ventured to New Zealand. In 1900 Fr Francis Clune conducted a parish mission in Hamilton, sixty years before the Passionists would establish a community there.
Fr Seraphim McIvor, was the first Passionist to be ordained in Australia, in 1892. Two years later, in 1894 Seraphim was one of 121 lives that were lost when the steamer Wairarapa struck Miners Head, the north-west point of Great Barrier Island, 90 kilometres north-east of Auckland. Seraphim had been sent to engage in a series of parish missions with Fr Hilary Mara who had already arrived in Auckland. There is a plaque at Onepoto on Great Barrier Island to commemorate Seraphim, the only Passionist to be buried in New Zealand, although the exact location of his grave is unknown.
Throughout the ensuing years a number of Passionists from Holy Spirit Province worked in New Zealand giving retreats and missions. The English/Irish Province was then asked to take responsibility for a New Zealand foundation because of their experience and expertise conducting missions and retreats. They established a community and retreat house in Hamilton, on 26th June 1960, and during the opening address the Archbishop recalled that Passionists from Australia had been coming for sixty years to give missions and retreats. Records show that “Benignus and Stephen gave their first Mission for the English Province at St Patrick’s, Auckland. Shortly afterwards Fr Eugene gave a mission in the Waikato”. The first Mission to Maori was given by Fr Eugene at Pahia.
The Province took over responsibility for New Zealand in September 1966 so that now Holy Spirit Province included three entities, Australian, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. Several men had joined the Passionists when it was part of the Anglo-Hibernian Province and studied in Australia. Most of those have now passed away.
The Retreat House in Hamilton was a principal ministry for the Passionists in New Zealand from 1960 until 1988. Passionists from the local community in Hamilton or from other communities in Australia, conducted parish missions and retreats throughout the country during that time. A decision was taken to close the Hamilton community, and this took effect on 28th June 1988. In that same week the Passionist Family Group Movement was established in Paeroa on 29th June and East Coast Bays, on Auckland on 3rd July, 1988.
New Zealand has remained part of the Australasian, Holy Spirit Province and since 1988 over thirty professed Passionists have visited New Zealand to exercise various forms of ministry, especially leading parish missions and conducting youth retreats. The major Passionist ministry in New Zealand over this past thirty-five years has been PFG ministry. It has involved the ongoing (annual) formation of hundreds of group leaders, and more specialised formation for local Directors, Regional Co-ordinators and Parish Co-ordinators.
Within ten years, the Passionist Family Group Movement had been established in one hundred and seven parishes. Over 30,000 people were involved and one hundred and eighty were exercising leadership roles. The Movement has been strong in advocating lay leadership, and the absence of a residential Passionist community allowed this to be strengthened, so that throughout the length and breadth of New Zealand, there have been active lay leaders and strong small communities within local parishes.
The Passionists are not just celebrating thirty-five years of PFGM life in New Zealand this year. Our active presence goes back 123 years and includes the twenty-eight years when we had a residential presence in Hamilton. In 2002 the first two local Passionist Companion communities were formed and there are now four communities, and a large number of lay Passionists who have completed Institutes in Passionist spirituality. This is another way of keeping the Passionist charism alive in Aotearoa.
Last Saturday (June 10th) there was a celebration of 35 years since the PFGM was established in Paeroa parish. There was a reunion of many people that made the occasion special. Some young children back in 1988 were able to bring their children to the celebration and nearly all of the original group leaders. Our former Paeroa based national coordinators (Lynn and Ron Hill) and the members of the national office were able to be present. We were blessed by the attendance too of a number of PFG members from other parishes who came to celebrate.
Fr Mark Field the Parish Priest was enthusiastically warm in his support of the PFG’s. It was especially pleasing for me to be present because I conducted a mission in St Mary’s Paeroa in 1979 and assisted with the setting up of the PFG’s in June 1988.
It was also great to have my brother Paul present. He has supported the PFGM throughout New Zealand for many years and is now National Coordinator of the Movement in Aotearoa.
This coming weekend East Coast Bays parish celebrates the 35th anniversary of the establishment of PFG’s four days after Paeroa.
Reminder: 5 Aims and Goals
- share & celebrate life & faith
- support one another (especially in need)
- reaching out to & include others
- build community/extended family
- show example to children
Pease remember in your thoughts and prayer:
- Please remember Stephen Colson who is recovering from an operation.
- Please keep in mind Merrilyn Barron who is unwell from Covid and awaiting furthers tests.
- Please remember Sally van der Wetering We offer our prayer and support to Sally, Martin and her family and extended family. Also keep Martin inn your prayers as his health is not good currently.
- Please remember Phil Drew a former Passionist who has had a massive stroke. Please remember his wife Anne and family
- Please keep in your prayers those who continue to deal with the after effects of Cyclone Gabrielle and other weather events.
- Keep in prayer the people of Ukraine
- Please keep Somalia and the surrounding countries dealing with their sixth year in a row of drought.
- Please keep Nick and Leah and daughter Heidi Darbyshire along with Paul and Linda in your thoughts and prayer.
- Please pray for Dot and Neill Wilson (Invercargill) – their son-in-law Mark married to Dot’s daughter Anita has been diagnosed with aggressive brain tumour, Please keep in mind their daughter Bailey and son Taylor.
- Remember Pat and Rod Carson
- Aidan son of Josie and Phil McIntyre – he is very sick and his parents are his caregivers.
- Your own intentions
- Did you hear the joke about the germ? Never mind, I don’t want to spread it around.
- I ran out of toilet paper and had to start using old newspapers. Times are rough.
- Yeah, I have plans tonight. I’ll probably hit the living room around 8 or 9.
- Why didn’t the sick guy get the joke? It flu over his head.
- 30 days hath September, April, June, and November, all the rest have 31, except for March which was infinite.
- What types of jokes are allowed during quarantine? Inside jokes!
- You know what they say: feed a cold, starve a fever, drink a corona.
- What did the sick parent make their kids for lunch? Mac and sneeze.
- Where do sick boats go to get healthy? The dock!
- What does eating raw garlic have to do with preventing COVID-19? It helps keep everyone at a safe distance.