Morena/ Passionist Family Group members and friends,

Last weekend we had another wonderful celebration in St John’s parish, East Coast Bays – north of Auckland. Eucharist was celebrated by Brian Traynor CP with Fr Emile (a Mill Hill Priest who is the outgoing PP but will move to the Assistant role). Fr Emile joined us for the celebrations. It was a wonderful evening with an enthusiastic group of people to assist in making this a memorable occasion. A big thanks to the ‘Brand family’ for all their creativity, hard work and creating an evening that was indeed a celebration of fun, sharing, laughter and a great game of BINGO.

 The spirit of this occasion spoke so loudly of Passionist Family Groups and their Aims and Goals and indeed what they offer: warmth, care, laughter and fun of people . We were all reminded that ‘being  family’ is about support, encouragement, laughter, and seeing and living our faith in action.

So, as we entered this time of celebration we paused, remembered and gave thanks to all those who have gone before us, those with us and those who have gone to do other things but left their mark through care, and generosity. Occasions such as this allow us to reflect on what brought us here and what continues to keep us here. 

  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 with us in Aotearoa. 

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”.

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A BIG thank you to all who have shared, contributed to the wonderful celebrations over the last two weekends. It has been so encouraging to meet up with old friends and family. I thank you all for your continued dedication ad commitment to your parish Passsionist Family Groups. It has been an important reminder that the gospel is to be lived not talked about and it also a sole focus on the love of God not power or prestige. May we continue to reach our to others, serve with dignity and compassion so our lives assist in helping the lives of other as we journey together.

Have a good week and all God’s blessings on each of us. Attached is the fifth part 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)

Photo reflection of Passionist 35th Anniversary to song, ‘Hearts on Fire’ (Michael Mangan)

Please click on this link and share with your PFG’s:


Scripture Reflection: Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, 25 June 2023.                         In your great love, answer me



First reading: Jeremiah 20:10-13
Responsorial psalm: Ps 68(69):8-10, 14, 17, 33-35
Second reading: Romans 5:12-15
Gospel: Matthew 10:26-33
Link to readings – click here

Because we live in anxious, troubling times, where so many people around the world are suffering intolerably, today’s readings can speak especially to us.

Jeremiah, in the First Reading, reflects on how his preaching has brought him suffering and isolation. Yet ‘the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero.’ The Psalmist cries out in anguish, but like Jeremiah, trusts that the Lord will answer with ‘help that never fails.’

St Paul considers how sin and death hold sway in the world, but Christ has gained for us the abundant free gift of divine grace. (Second Reading) In the Gospel, Jesus twice tells his disciples, ‘Do not be afraid’. Suffering will come their way, but the Father will always care tenderly for them.

Our lives, and those of our loved ones too, can be weighed down by fears, concerns or pain. May we strive this week to place our trust in the Lord, who is the ‘strength of his people’.

Grant, O Lord, that we may always revere and love your holy name, for you never deprive of your guidance those you set firm on the foundation of your love. 

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Thanks to Brian Traynor I have included a breakdown of:

The start of Passionist Family Groups in New Zealand..1988


Fr Peter McGrath, the founder of the Passionist Family Group Movement was Provincial when he appointed my brother Paul and myself to our community in Oxley, Brisbane in 1985. Peter asked us to assist with the slowly developing PFGM in Brisbane. Many parishes were asking: ‘How can we go about building community?’ In time, the number of parishes who set up PFG’s in Brisbane and Lismore diocese in Northern NSW, increased rapidly. We attended six weekly leader meetings in every parish, for several years. Other Passionists came to assist and gradually many lay people began to see themselves as missionaries. We held formation days and weekends for leaders, co-ordinators and others who were interested.

 A new development occurred in 1987 when one new parish started PFG’s with fifteen groups. Meeting informally and allowing everyone to share and receive support, required a new structure. This need was extended the following year when another parish began with twenty-two groups. There had been great expansion between 1985 and 1988 and since the Family Group concept was unique to Passionists and reflected our charism, it was decided in 1988 to rename the Movement, the Passionist Family Group Movement.

In early 1988 a request came from Lynn Hill to set up Passionist Family Groups in Paeroa, New Zealand. Lynn said there was a lot of excitement following the ‘Renew’ programme and people were keen to establish and meet in small groups.

She tracked down Mike and Trish McMahon who had been in a Family Group in Daisy Hill, Brisbane and were now living and working in Auckland. 

 On June 19th 1988, Mike, Trish and their five children headed off for the weekend to Paeroa to speak at the Masses and share their experiences.  On their way home from Paeroa, some of their children asked Mike and Trish “how is that Paeroa  parish is starting Family Groups and we aren’t”. Before going home, Mike and Trish drove to their presbytery and asked the parish priest (Fr Paddy Collins) if they could start Passionist Family Groups. The weekend after their Mass talks at Paeroa, Mike and Trish spoke at East Coast Bays and invited parishioners to indicate their interest. The following Sunday, on July 3rd, PFG’s were established in East Coast Bays. 

The last week of June 1988 was memorable. On June 27th, Paeroa officially introduced the Passionist Family Group Movement. On June 28th, a Mass was held in Hamilton Cathedral to mark the closure of the Passionist community in Hamilton, our residence in New Zealand. Five days later East Coast Bays introduced Passionist Family Groups to their parish. I was fortunate to be present at each of those three celebrations.

 The decision to spread to New Zealand was taken with some caution. There some were Passionists and PFGM leaders in Brisbane who thought it a big risk to establish groups and support them from Australia. We went to New Zealand wondering whether we really should be there. I asked a married couple, Peter and Leonie Macrae to help us and they brought their two children, with him.  Ever since the start of the Family Groups in Bardon, Family Group people in Queensland had been singing a song, ‘Welcome to the Family’ by Debby Kerner and Ernie Rettino. It was planned to use the song when PFG’s were set up in Paeroa and East Coast Bays. 

Neither Peter or Leonie had been to New Zealand before and high on their list of things to do, was to hear some Maori singing. I took the family to the largely Polynesian primary school of Otara, Auckland, where he had conducted a parish mission in 1979, the same year as we conducted a mission in Paeroa. Unfortunately, that nine-year gap meant that I was unable to locate any of the Mill Hill priests or school staff leaders that I had met during the mission. 

 Disappointed, we made their way to the car when I noticed a group of school children walking to the parish church. They were being led by a guitar carrying teacher. I followed the group to the church and asked the teacher if he would mind us listening to the children singing. The teacher said “they are not very good, and they are just learning some new songs today”. Convinced that ‘not very good’ Polynesian children would seem very good singers to a group of Aussies, I led the Macrae family into the foyer of the church and closed the swinging doors so that we would not distract the children.

As we looked at the various posters at the rear of the church, we suddenly heard the children reading the words from an overhead projector to the first song the teacher had requested them to learn. We looked at one another in astonishment. These children were learning the very song that PFG members in Paeroa and East Coast Bays were going to be taught in a couple of days’ time. “Welcome to the family, we’re glad that you have come to share your life with us, as we grow in love and, may we always be to you what God would have us be, a family always there, to be strong and to lean on…..”


Peter looked at me and said “I think we are being told something; I think we’re meant to be starting Passionist Family Groups in New Zealand”. I was overcome that not only were they singing that song, but that they were learning it and singing it for the first time. I could only nod my head and say “God is here with us’.

“May we learn to love each other more with each new day, ay words of love be on our lips in everything we say. May the Spirit melt our hearts and teach us how to pray, that we might be a true family”

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 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



1. “They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax.”

2. “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.”

3. “We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.”

4. “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price.”

5. “The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room.”

6. “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow.”

7. “It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallartato close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time — this should be banned.”

8. “No-one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.”

9. “Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers.”

10. “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”

11. “The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun.”

12. “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair.”

13. “I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends’ three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller.”

14. “The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the resort.’ We’re trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service.”

15. “When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners.”

16. “We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning.”

17. “It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”

18. “I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes.”

19. “My fiancée and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”