Morena/Good morning,

Over the past weeks I have been travelling around our Passionist Family Group parishes visiting both parish and group coordinators and our members It’s good, that after all these years we can so easily identify this Passionist spirit of fun, support, care, compassion and commitment to ‘being family’. We can so easily forget why we joined and also how important it is to support the people in our family group and our community.

I have had so many conversations with good people who are increasingly frustrated by the number of people who join but fail to reply or even communicate where they are at.  This leads to an existential frustration for group coordinators as well as group members resulting in a loss of enthusiasm. Coordinating a group is time consuming when people don’t bother to reply or inform the group of where they are. It creates difficulty as any family would know. I certainly feel for people organising interactions in their family group. The job is harder than it needs to be in that if everyone pulls their weight the group operates more easily. It seems the notion of ‘we are busy’ permeates out society and we don’t respond to emails, texts or any other form of communication. It’s as if we ignore them they may go away. Hardly a Christian response. What we all need to do is support and connect to one another – each phone call, text, email, note is a way to form a connection. People want to get to know others and we can’t attend every activity but we can be in contact and age in this endeavour is no barrier.

The situations of family life has changed and are certainly complex .The idea of going to mass outweighs the commitment to being ‘community’. There are so many competing demands and on the other hand so many lonely people. We have a large number of people living with very little support. Passionist Family Groups were always based around families and concerned in how to include outsiders young, single, married, old, widowed or whatever. As a ‘family for all’, we try and reach out to all. 

We are indeed in challenging times. Yet, human beings are social beings and we rely on these important relationships to assist us in being the best person we can be. I can see as I travel around the results and impact of decisions to change parish structures and on top of this the impact of closing churches. I see the impact on pastors trying to deal with their own loss let alone the loss of their parishioners. This is not easy on any level and the pastors and  the people need encouragement and support.

We have many members across Aotearoa who are unwell and dealing with life threatening illnesses. Our Passionist Family Groups are a way to alleviate isolation and be a source of healing and comfort, let alone friendship. As St Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee”

Driving home yesterday I was listening to music in my car and just reflecting on my PFG encounters over the past six days and I heard the song The Rose and it just leapt out at me.

Read these lyrics:

The Rose

Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed

Some say love, it is a hunger
An endless aching need
I say love, it is a flower
And you, its only seed

It’s the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It’s the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance

It’s the one who won’t be taking
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul, afraid of dyin’
That never learns to live

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong

Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose

We are seeds placed here to bear fruit and in Jesus’ terms that is sowing through our lives, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, love and service. Our Passionist Family Groups allow us to be ‘a bed’ of nourishment and support through which we allow the God of Jesus to live and shine for others. 

Have a good week – blessings on each of you and those struggling.

Paul.                                                          pastedGraphic_1.png

Formation-Reflection and moving forward:

  • It has been great to hear of the enthusiasm and ongoing commitment to their members.
  • There is still  real enthusiasm and these were some of the themes that I shared that may be helpful for the groups going forward.
  • When new people join – get to know them and be patient
  • Promote and advertise – put your functions/activities in the parish newsletter with an added “You are welcome to come along and join us”
  • Introduce yourself to new people or people you haven’t seen before and bring them along to your functions.
  • Introduce yourself to new internationals they are human just like us and would welcome a friendly smile and conversation. 
  • There were those who shared that they have lost PFG member/friends – one needs to remember that the members will feel the loss and there will be grief.
  • This grief is where one can hold a function on the 2nd November and celebrate these lives and remember them.
  • Remember PFG’s are about creating “belonging”
  • it’s not numbers but if people don’t turn up make contact – a personal visit will save a lot more time and effort then sending a barrage of emails or txts.
  • Two PP’s offered house masses’ take this up with a shared international meal -other cultures will find this approach inclusive. It also helps with getting to know and sharing life and faith – Make it an annual function.
  • Have a function of ‘faith sharing as suggested – this can be very simple and not offensive to non-catholic partners eg bring a personal piece of memorabilia and share this – it will creates lots of warmth and fun etc or pick your favourite line in scripture
  • Finally, as I started what is obvious is what you have each gained from PFG’s and your commitment. Well done.


Scripture reflection:  Third Sunday of Lent Year B, 3rd March 2024. 

Christ, the power and the wisdom of God


O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness, who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving have shown us a remedy for sin, look graciously on this confession of our lowliness, that we, who are bowed down by our conscience, may always be lifted up by your mercy. 

First reading: Exodus 20:1-17
Responsorial psalm: Ps 18(19):8-11
Second reading: 1 Corinthians 1:22-25
Gospel: John 2:13-25

Link to readings  – click here

As we enter this third week of Lent, our readings remind us of God’s love for us, soon to be witnessed in the suffering and death of Christ Jesus. In the First Reading, God speaks to the people of Israel after their release from slavery in Egypt. The Ten Commandments show his people how to freely live in service of the One who has liberated them. The Psalm speaks of the gifts the law of God brings in terms of wisdom, truth and life.

St Paul reflects on the way in which those who are called to follow Jesus see the crucified Christ. For those early Christians, and ourselves, this is not a sign of God’s foolishness or weakness, but a demonstration to the world of God’s power and wisdom. (Second Reading)

In this week’s Gospel, we see Jesus sweep away the buyers and sellers from the Temple, which should be revered as the house of God. We are reminded that it is through Christ’s suffering and death that salvation will come, and the power and wisdom of God will be revealed.

This week, perhaps we can pray for all those areas of the world where places of holiness and sanctuary are debased and de-valued. We pray too, for all people who are prevented from worshipping openly, and from practising their faith in freedom.


St Patrick’s Pukekohe Set Up pf Passionist Family Groups is under way thanks to John and Rosie Crawford, Jocelyn and Billy Uasike who spoke at masses  three weeks ago; Lindsay Brand and her daughter Tam Fatiolofa along with Trisha Schistra spoke a couple of weekends ago. I spoke at last weekend’s masses. Please keep the people of this parish and their supportive PP Fr Robert Steele in your prayer. We will announce the groups next week on March 3rd after the 10am Mass, and John and Rosie along with others will coordinate this process with Fr Robert Steels the PP. Currently we have 43 enrolments which is a great response and I am sure a few more will trickle in over this week.

Week  before last I had positive meeting with the Christchurch South Fr Peter was away but I had a good chat with him via phone.  Also good catch up with Christchurch West also Fr Michael PP joined us – Aileen and Murray Straight coordinating the meeting. Went to Ashburton and met at Stephanie ad Joe Butchard’s where the PP Fr Litto and his assistant Fr Peter both joined us. I met with Fr Rick from Christchurch North – no one came to the meeting but they are still meeting and there is some experiences that make life there difficult especially the closing of Christ the King church due to earthquake issues and concerns. But the residue is another grief aspect for the community and a splintering of where people share eucharist. It does have an effect on /belonging’.

Last week on Wednesday meeting with Michael Prendergast  to meet the new PP in Lower Hutt. Thursday I met with Fr Marcus in Hastings then onto a PFG meeting in Napier. Friday in Mt Maunganui and onto Whakatane; Saturday/Sunday to Pukekohe for the set-up of Passionist Family Groups in St Patrick’s Pukekohe then onto Wilma Schmanski’s on Sunday night and met on Monday with the Te Awamutu PFG’s and onto Hamilton for a Coordinators meeting and then home. 

“I was meeting with some Passionist Family Group people who have been supporting each other for 30 years, I asked what was one positive things about being in a family group and these are some of the brief answers: Companionship, another way of being church, mix with others, only way to be part of the parish – we belong, strength in fellowship, brings us together as community, a blessing….”

I have people wanting to promote the PFG’s and look to undertake a relaunch. Cambridge have advise that they will have a relaunch in June this year. Pt Chev are keen to do something similar. If you wish to have some follow up please let me know. Paul


Point Chev Parish had morning tea hosted by the Hines Passionist Family Group after 9am Sunday Mass yesterday. It was very well attended, the best so far, with many people saying how good it was. We will look to a relaunch at some stage this year. Trisha and David Schischa Parish Coordinators

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 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 and give example to children     





      Pease remember in your thoughts and prayer: 


  • Please keep Paul Geoghegan died yesterday Tuesday at around 6am. He died peacefully. Please keep Christine and children and grandchildren min your thoughts and prayer.
  • Please keep Jocelyn Bryant who is undergoing Chemotherapy also her husband Kevin and family in your thoughts and prayer 
  • Please keep  Paul and Linda Darbyshire in your thoughts and prayer amid challenges they face.
  • Blessings and thanks for the safe arrival  of Little Darby weighing 2.1 kilos. Both mum and baby are doing well. Congrats to Nick and Leah and daughter Heidi  Darbyshire.  
  • Please keep in your prayer Leanne Hintz (Claire & Ray Hague’s  daughter. She is very unwell.
  • Please keep Richard Gibbs in your prayer he is recuperating at home and remember his wife Sue.
  • Please keep Robert van de Pas in your prayers – he continues to struggle with pain etc from Chronic Pancreatitis. Also Adriana his mother who is supporting him.
  • Please keep a young mum in your prayers who is having pregnancy issues.
  • Please keep Preston Epplett in your prayer and his family. Preston is recovering.
  • Please remember Preston and Jenny Epplett’s daughter she has just completed her course of chemotherapy
  • Please keep Debbi Davidson’s husband Bryan in your prayer after Debbi died on 1st November. Also, please keep the children and grandchildren and friends in your thoughts and prayer. Grief is a tough journey.
  • Please keep Charlie and Maggi in your thoughts and prayer as they support their daughter and her partner
  • Please keep Anja van de Wettering in your prayers as she has shared she is expecting her second child.
  • Please keep David, Victoria and baby in your prayers. There has been some positive progress and it now looks as if this baby will make it to full term. 
  • Please keep a friend in mind who is in very early stages of pregnancy but has had a few miscarriages so, things are touch and go.
  • Keep in mind all those who are struggling with various aspects of mental health.
  • Please keep in mind a son of a friend of mine who has just been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 
  • Please remember Martin van der Wetering in your prayers as his health still is causing him grief and discomfort.
  • Please remember Phil Drew a former Passionist along with his wife Anne and family
  • Please keep in your prayers those who continue to  deal with the after effects of droughts on the horn of Africa. Also weather effects on other countries across the planet 
  • Please keep Bob Buckley in your prayers- 
  • Keep in prayer the people of Ukraine
  • Keep people in Gaza and Israel in your prayer – these acts from both sides have had a horrible effect on the innocent as always. 
  • 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 –his parents are his caregivers.
  • Your own intentions


  • Did you hear the rumor about butter? Well, I’m not going to go spreading it!
  • Where do you learn to make ice cream? Sundae school.
  • What’s a scarecrow’s favorite fruit? Straw-berries
  • Where do burgers go dancing? At the meatball.
  • What time do ducks wake up? At the quack of dawn.
  • Why was the broom late? It over-swept.
  • What kind of tree fits in your hand? A palm tree.
  • Where do books hide when they’re afraid? Under their covers.
  • How do trees get on the internet? They log in.