Morena/Good morning,

I like the readings this Sunday and I can relate to them. The following has been shared with the Passionist Family Groups people who I write to fortnightly. I thought, I could share this with both this week. 

Can you imagine that if we got a block of stone and etched the ten commandments onto it, we would readily see what we are expected to do? Yeah – Nah!,. The thing that doesn’t sit right is that it is an external element. It just tells me we what to do and all I have to do is follow it to the letter. It’s a bit of Ho hum theology. It doesn’t engage me personally nor communally. 

When you reflect on the gospel and the decision that looms for Jesus, this requires a whole new level of commitment. Yes, I have a choice and Jesus did! However, that choice involves living the message and death is imminent. Nothing easy about this?

All of a sudden, we are on a different level of commitment – not, whether I attend mass, or do the nine first Friday’s or keeping the Torah – it suggests, something deeper? Who is my neighbour? Who have I looked out for? Who is my brother? and Who is my sister? This is a different message and the gospel forever tells us that this is a message from the heart and deals with, the concerns of the heart.

Lent is our time of, ‘metanoia’, – a change of heart! The scriptures call us to a new covenant or a new relationship with God. This is a Covenant of the ‘heart’! Like the analogy of the stone with laws inscribed – it is when we reflect on ‘the heart’ that things change and they change big time!

The heart is beating, it is alive and malleable; it is from this we learn that ‘a heart’ that sees is engulfed with mercy, kindness and forgiveness. This underpins the message of Jesus  that with the heart the only law that guides us is that, of compassion – yes, we suffer with  others; we hold their pain, their trials and losses, with ours.

So, let us not worry so much as the ‘doing’ of things rather, the living the example of Jesus.

Each of us in our own way can try to spread compassion into peoples  hearts. Western civilizations these days place great importance on filling the human ‘brain’ with knowledge, but no one seems to care about filling the human ‘heart’ with compassion. This is what the real role of religion is. 

~ Dala Lama

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



Scripture reflection: Fifth Sunday of Lent 17 March, 2024

I will write my Law on their hearts



By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God, may we walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, your Son handed himself over to death. 

First reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Responsorial psalm: Ps 50(51):3-4, 12-15
Second reading: Hebrews 5:7-9
Gospel: John 12:20-33

Link to readings -click here

This Sunday’s readings encourage us to turn towards growth and transformation out of pain and suffering. The prophet Jeremiah makes a great proclamation: ‘See, the days are coming . . . when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel’. God’s eternal covenant of love and forgiveness is written deep within our hearts (First Reading).

It is because of this same promise, that Christ became human to share with us in our suffering, forever praying for us and with us (Second Reading). In Christ, all suffering and death are transfigured into growth and new life through his resurrection. This Sunday’s Psalm would have been familiar to Jesus as he prayed for us during his time on earth, earnestly encouraging us to turn from our sinful ways towards God’s love and compassion.

In the Gospel, Jesus speaks of the personal suffering and death that he will soon be facing. He knows that he could ask his Father to save him from this fate, but instead he willingly makes a choice that leads to our salvation. Jesus invites us to follow his way of living. It is not an easy path to travel, but Christ is always with us, helping and sustaining us.

Let us pray for each other that through God’s infinite grace, we will remain true to the law of love that is written deep within us. 


St Patrick’s Pukekohe Set Up of Passionist Family Groups 

Passionist Family Groups were introduced to St Patricks Parish Pukekohe on Sunday 3rd March. The PFG Movement received a great response from parishioners and PP Fr Robert Steele and as a result we have been able to set up ‘4 Groups,  comprising of over 130 parishioners including children, under new Parish Coordinators Henry and Shireen Cowie. A healthy and generous response.

St Patricks Parish is a very vibrant and growing multi-cultural community and this has carried through into the Family Groups where there is a great mix of ethnicities and many young families. A huge thanks to John and Rosie Crawford who coordinated this process along with Jocelyn and Billy Uasike. John and Rosie are going to mentor and support the parish and group coordinators etc going forward. 

I have people wanting to promote the PFG’s and look to undertake a relaunch. Cambridge have advised 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 We3 care here to assist and support your parish community and your Passionist Family Groups. Paul

Formation-Reflection and moving forward:

February 24, 2024 Despite more bumps in the road, Pope Francis keeps on going Though slowed by diminishing health and old age, a world at war and in profound crisis, as well as internal opposition, the pope refuses to halt the journey towards Church reform By Robert Mickens | Italy


The flu bug has been going around Rome the last several days and guess who caught it? Pope Francis. The Holy See Press Office said the ailment was the reason why had to cancel a pre-scheduled appointment on Saturday with the transitional deacons of his Diocese of Rome. 

It’s not clear when the 87-year-old pope actually came down with influenza because he and the top officials in the Roman Curia have been out of sight the past week. They were, each individually, making a Lenten retreat. It seems Francis did his “spiritual exercises”, to use the classical term of his Jesuit order, at the Casa Santa Marta where he lives at the Vatican. The flu is just the latest in a string of illnesses and health issues that have recently been occurring more regularly for Francis. 

But as he likes to tell others: “Vai avanti!” Literally meaning “move on” or “keep going”, these are the words he uses to encourage people not to give up on their mission, especially when they face adversity and opposition. 

Obviously, it’s a phrase that he, too, tries to live by, Francis, who in a few weeks will mark the 11th anniversary of his March 13, 2013 election as Bishop of Rome, has put the Church on a resolute journey towards renewal and reform. And while this engine he’s been driving has hit not a few bumps along the way, it’s come up against even more lately, and even some potholes. How long will the Argentine pope be able to keep at it, given the various challenges he’s facing?

No longer running on a full tank

One cannot deny that diminishing health and old age have taken a visible toll on Francis, certainly physically. He no longer has the stamina and energy he had when he arrived in Rome last decade as an outsider pope. But even though his legs are not as steady as they once were, this fact — as he likes to remind people — has not stopped him from using his head to run the Vatican and govern the universal Church. And he seems to be using what’s up there in that head of his with greater determination than ever. 

This is probably because he is well aware that time is no longer on his side. His tank, as it were, is more than half empty at this stage in his long life. “Our span is seventy years” — says the Psalmist — “Eighty for those who are strong.” Francis is already seven years beyond that, and he’s showing a sense of urgency in pushing forward. More determinant than his age, however, will be his health. Not just physical health, but mental, psychological and spiritual health, as well.

Difficult traveling companions

Other obstacles to the reforming journey on which Pope Francis has launched the Church can be found among his own traveling companions. Amidst this vast caravan of his fellow Catholics there are those who don’t really like where he is taking us. Some are frightened of the roadmap he’s put forth. Others are merely indifferent to it. More threatening are those who are opposed to the journey itself. All these types are like the Hebrews who followed Moses into the desert: they wanted to put on the brakes and turn back. 

This actually happened not long ago, in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). After the 1978 death of Paul VI, who struggled to balance the Council’s propulsion for reform/renewal with those who wanted to either turn back or leap even further forward, the cardinals elected Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II) after the very brief pontificate of Albino Luciani (John Paul I). The Polish pope did not so much as halt the post-Vatican II journey undertaken up to that point, as he changed gears and re-routed it in a different direction. In any event, the journey was interrupted. There are forces today that threaten to do the same. They include cardinals, bishops and other clerics. 

Among them are Africans, homophobes, narrow-minded and sectarian Catholics, biblical literalists, unyielding “doctrinalists”, and others who, for instance, have rejected Fiducia supplicans and the very principles upon which it is based — namely, that we are all sinners; no one is worthy; and God’s love and mercy is not just for the observant, but every single person and creature on earth. Francis also faces roadblocks from the so-called “staunch Catholics”, “traditionalists”, and “ultra-traditionalists”, most of whom display a superficial understanding of the Church’s pluri-millennial history and Tradition. 

There are also Catholics at the other end of the spectrum who want the pope to push the pedal to the medal and accelerate the pace of change and Church reform. The bishops in Germany and Belgium have been very open about this. But they are hardly alone. They have given an authoritative and public voice to the aspirations of probably most of the world’s Catholics, if surveys — including the Synod consultations with the People of God — can be trusted. This puts the man who is in the driver’s seat in a somewhat uncomfortable position. At least most people occupying it would feel the pressure. Francis, however, appears not to be overly bothered by it. In fact, he seems to relish it.

Traffic jams and hazardous conditions

The current pontificate is playing out in the midst of a world that seems to have gone a bit mad. The political situation in many, if not most, countries borders on instability and civil unrest. Nations are internally divided between ultra-nationalists (who often embrace isolationism) and universalists (who favour global interdependence). Then there are the deepening divides and antagonism between races and religions, as well as genders in some places. Not to mention, of course, the “third world war being waged piecemeal”, as the pope calls it. In this less than pleasant global landscape, Francis has tried to use the power and prestige of the papal office to help stop this situation from further spiraling out of control. 

Recall that we recently marked the fifth anniversary of the historic document that he and one of the world’s top Muslim figures signed to promote peaceful co-existence, friendship and fraternity among people of various faiths and of no faith at all. Additionally, we’ve now reached the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine where war still rages, destroying infrastructure, people’s homes and historic buildings; doing untold damage to the environment; wasting billions of dollars on weapons; and killing a horrifying number of innocent civilians. 

More horrifying still is the current situation in the Holy Land where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems fixated on eliminating, one way or another, every last Palestinian living in the Gaza Strip. Pope Francis has done all within his power to play a role (even if none realistically exists for him) in leading the warring factions in these and all conflicts around the world to a peaceful solution. He has been a voice crying in the wilderness. Blind spots.

But the Jesuit pope does not always get it right. Perhaps it is due to his own upbringing, culture or chronological age, or maybe it’s a lack of vision or (perhaps) understanding. Whatever the reason, there are certain issues he has not handled well. And this has also created obstacles to his efforts at Church reform. His way of dealing of two in particular have disappointed, infuriated and even alienated some Catholics — they are clergy sex abuse (of minors and vulnerable adults) and the role of women in ecclesial ministry and governance.

 Several days ago was the fifth anniversary of the Vatican summit Francis called in 2019 to deal with sexual abuse in the Church. It was highly touted as historic, and great promises and concrete commitments were made. New documents and protocols followed shortly afterwards. But five years on? Only the bishops and Vatican officials seem to be happy with what has happened since. The high priests who self-regulate each other are smugly self-satisfied. Unfortunately, the pope is as much — or more — to blame for this than anyone else. While he has shown willingness to use the monarchical authority and power that is (unfortunately) at the Roman Pontiff’s immediate disposal on other issues, he has not done so here. The case of his former Jesuit confrere Marko Rupnik is the damning example. 

Concerning women’s issues, whether in Church or society at large, Francis seems stuck in that fading cultural paradigm (at least in the developed world) that is wedded to patriarchal society. That’s not to say he’s a male chauvinist, and certainly not a misogynist. Indeed, he goes to lengths to praise women and the invaluable contribution they make and need to offer even more to the Church and the world at large. But he too often sounds patronizing. For a pope who walks the talk on so many other issues, he can’t seem to be able to put a foot forward on this one.

How long until we reach the final destination?

Soon Francis will begin the 12th year of his pontificate. The anticipated highlight of the year (dreaded by some) will come next October at the second session of the Synod assembly on synodality. In between the anniversary of the pope’s election and that gathering in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Francis is scheduled to make some trips outside of Rome — a couple within Italy, and some abroad. He’s slated to visit nearby Belgium at some point early on. And then, at the end of August he is supposed undertake the most ambitious trip of his pontificate — a 10-day visit to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Timor Leste. 

There are also a number of major appointments he’ll need to make in the course of his 12th year as pope. For instance, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, one of his chief advisors, turns 80 at the end of June. Francis will have to choose a new man to replace him as archbishop of Boston. There are other important dioceses around the world that already need a new leader and there will be more over the next several months. And perhaps Francis will create another batch of cardinals? Or issue more documents “moto proprio” (on his own initiative) to cement the reforms he feels necessary for the Church? Brace yourselves for such possibilities. 

It must be said that his pope has not been dealt a very good hand. The Church and the world around it were facing innumerable crises when he was elected and they have been plunged into various others since then. One can speculate what such a pontificate, all things being equal, might have been like had it begun immediately after Vatican Council II. But such speculation is certainly a waste of time. 

As noted here some years ago, the right pope sometimes arrives at the wrong time. That’s what the cardinal-secretary of Pope Adrian VI believed of the Dutchman who reigned ineffectively for just a year-and-a-half during the turbulent early 16th century. Adrian, the last non-Italian pope before John Paul II was elected, is entombed in an ornate funereal monument in the German national church in Rome, Santa Maria dell’Anima. His cardinal-secretary had these words inscribed on it: Proh dolor, quantum refert in quae tempora vel optimi cuiusque virtus incidat.”Alas, how much it matters in what times the work of even the best of men happens to fall!” Another cardinal, or history itself, may write the same of Francis one day. But, for now, the Argentine pope seems determined to make sure that day and those words never come.

Read more at:


 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 Christine Geoghegan and family in your thoughts and prayer.
  • Please keep Jocelyn Bryant who is undergoing Chemotherapy along with 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.
  • Please keep in your prayer Leanne Hintz (Claire & Ray Hague’s  daughter. She is very unwell.
  • Please keep Richard Gibbs in your prayer he continues to slowly improve. Remember his wife Sue who has just been a pillar over the past 3 years.
  • 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


  • What does a painter do when he gets cold? Puts on another coat.
  • What did the calculator say to the pencil? You can count on me.
  • What has four wheels and flies? A garbage truck.
  • What do you call two ducks and a cow? Quackers and milk.
  • What do cows like to read? Cattle-logs.
  • How did the farmer fix his torn overalls? With a cabbage patch.
  • How much money does a skunk have? Just one scent.
  • What do you get when you cross an elephant and a fish? Swimming trunks.
  • What kind of cereal do leprechauns eat? Lucky Charms.
  • What do you call recently-married spiders? Newly-webs.
  • Where do crayons go on vacation? Color-ado.
  • What do you get when you cross a Smurf and a cow? Blue cheese