Morena/Good morning,

This week we are venturing into an area that challenges us to strip back some of the things that hinder us from being a man or woman for others. We groan under the weight of busy lives and increasing demands from family which leaves us with little in the tank for others. Increasingly, people are exciting our churches not necessarily in search of something better but are moreso disillusioned with the world and what is going on and this includes the church.

Where are the understanding and empathetic voices? Where are the hospitable supports? Where are the ‘go to’ people? Where are the open and positive people who we can look to for guidance and encouragement? Where are the people to listen to our woes, frustrations and losses? Where are the people to laugh with and just waste some time in good quality company and bathe in friendship to soothes our tired minds and hearts?

With feedback due next months for the Synod (See below and please send your response) I believe the mission of Passionist Family Groups can be a framework where we can experience answers to the above questions. It doesn’t always and sadly that is because we forget the call of Jesus is to serve. Being a follower of Jesus is not always easy nor is it without its challenges in all human ways – isolation, injustice, unfairness, struggle. Loneliness, feeling like one has no voice, feeling like no one cares.

As I travel round New Zealand I hear some of this which mirrors what is happening in our society. We can so easily give up and leave it to others. We can so easily be discouraged and think why am I doing this where are the others and why are they not helping. This is what many experience in our groups. They experience that many group members just leave the role of coordination  and forget that the responsibility to connect with other’s in our groups is in fact a ‘shared’ responsibility! We, like our families need to reach out and share the load then people will lose, this sense of “it’s all too much”. We need to share our gifts and talents but also be honest of where we are at. We need to ask for help and we don’t have to be invincible because we aren’t! I encourage you to see that being a family group is everyone’s responsibility and if more was focussed on connecting and contacting then the life of groups will grow deeper due to the caring compassionate connections. All are called to pitch in and assist. 

This Holy Week is a timely reminder that despite all the difficulties our belief and faith is in that God loves us, forgives us and walks with us. We will still have our struggle but then that is where as a community of believers we become the presence of God to and for others. It’s easy to sit on the side-lines but let’s all get in the game and reach out have some fun and also some time sharing in our vulnerability but also our strength when we are together. Keep the monthly function but then reach out in between for a chat, send a note , have a coffee and make a commitment to meet a different member each week – build those bonds of love and friendship.

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


Scripture reflection: Palm Sunday, 24 March, 2024


Almighty, ever-living God, who as an example of humility for the human race to follow caused our Saviour to take flesh and submit to the Cross, graciously grant that we may heed his lesson of patient suffering and so merit a share in his Resurrection.

First reading: 
Isaiah 50:4-7
Responsorial Psalm: 
Ps 21(22):8-9, 17-20, 23-24
Second Reading: 
Philippians 2:6-11
Mark 11:1-10 / John 12:12-16 / Mark 14:1 – 15:47 / Mark 15:1-39
Link to readings – click here

Today marks the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week. The readings focus on Jesus’s sacrifice for us and express confidence in God’s faithfulness.

St Paul (Second Reading) highlights the humility of Jesus, who emptied himself of the glory that was his as Son of God. He gives himself away totally in love, coming among us as the suffering servant described by Isaiah in the First Reading. Jesus puts others before himself rather than seeking power or honour. Riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus shows us his way is one of love, compassion, mercy, humility, and service. We hear the crowds welcome him excitedly, shouting ‘Hosanna’, wanting to make Jesus into the king who will save them from Rome. (Procession Gospel)

In the main Gospel, we see the same crowds turn against Jesus, calling for his arrest. He is mocked, beaten, condemned, crucified, and placed in a tomb. Jesus is betrayed by one of his own disciples, denied by another, and abandoned by most. The Psalm describes this humiliation. On the cross Jesus prays the psalm’s response: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

We are invited to walk with Jesus through Holy Week. Jesus, in turn, wants to be with us in our experience of this journey. Lord, help us to walk with you, to be strengthened by your example and teaching.

Formation-Reflection and moving forward:

Introduction to Synod Process for PFGM:

Pope Francis has brought the theme of synodality (SIH-nuh-DAL-it-ee) to the forefront of the Church. He convened a synod of bishops in Rome on October 10, 2021. That synod is being followed by local synods in dioceses around the world. Then, following two years of preparation, listening, and discernment, bishops will once again assemble in Rome in October, 2024, to complete the synod. The goal of this synodal process is to renew the Church and collectively discern a future for it by considering the following:

  • ways of increasing participation of ordinary Catholics.
  • reforming unsustainable and outdated church-governance styles and models. focusing on missionary evangelization.
  • reaching out to those on the margins.

According to Pope Francis, “The purpose of the Synod…is not to produce documents, but ‘to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, give strength to our hands.” (Preparatory Document, #32)

To this end, The Passionist Family Group Movement has been invited to undertake its own reflection and conversation and to share our fruits with the New Zealand Bishops. We note that this is not about responding to particular issues nor critiquing the Synthesis Report. Rather, it’s about the Passionist Family Group Movement identifying ways in which individuals and groups can make our contribution to the Church’s mission in a synodal way.

We have a very tight timeframe in which to respond. In the first instance I will email you what we are reflecting on and fi anyone would like to be in a discussion-reflective process to

share a response then please let me know by Saturday March 23. I know it is a short time but we have not been given a long preparation time.The other process will be a shared discussion/reflection over Zoom with two groups of representatives from PFG’s around Aotearoa/New Zealand. This process will be facilitated by John Kleinsman.

Our response is limited to 300 words – this will require us to be very focused and to make strong connected points based on the contribution of PFGs to Mission. 

PFG’s have an important role to play in adding to the mission – in terms of the essential ingredient for any church community – building a sense of ‘belonging’ and ‘family’.

John and I initially thought that we should focus on the following themes in the attached documentation. 8. Church as Mission; 9. Women in the life and Mission of the Church; 10. Consecrated life and Lay Associations and Movements: A Charismatic sign; 16. Towards a Listening and Accompanying church.

 We look forward to exploring and discerning how our Passionist Family Group can advise, lead and participate in this Synodal process.

When reflecting you may decide to just comment very briefly on one themes or al. When doing so the process should start with;

“How can we be a synodal Church in mission?”

We are asked to identify ‘concrete actions’ that enable individuals and Passionist Family Groups Movement to make their unique contribution to the Church’s’ mission, guided by the following questions:

– How can we enhance the differentiated co-responsibility in the mission of all the members

of the People of God?

– What ways of relating, structures, processes of discernment and decision-making with regard to mission make it possible to recognise, shape, and promote co-responsibility? -What ministries and participatory bodies can be renewed or introduced to better express this co-responsibility?

So, in simple terms – how does Passionist Family Groups across Aotearoa assist the Mission of the church through its role and ministry. Much of what we currently share demonstrates

co-responsibility and creating a sense of belonging and how to be church involving men women and children

You Response is encouraged: Due to the Bishops Secretariat request that al responses, be under half page (300 words). Yes, it will be difficult, but doable.

So, when you respond, keep your response(s) be focussed on 2-3 bullet points 

Please email you response by 6pm Saturday March 23rd to

People who have beeen invited to Zoom discussions have been contacted, and invited to meet in

Two group Zoom sessions 1st. From 7pm to 7.30pm and the 2nd 8pm to 8.30pm on Monday 25th March.

John Kleinsman and myself will collate discuss and formulate a response on behalf of the PFG’s and this will be shared with all PFG members.



National Coordinator

Passionist Family Group Movement Aotearoa/New Zealand


Readings for Holy Week 2024

Sunday, March 24 2024 – Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, Year B

Jesus Enters Jerusalem in Jubilation for His Passion and Cross

On Palm Sunday, we reflect on Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, his subsequent suffering, and the sacrifice he made for humanity, inviting us to contemplate the depth of his love and our own response to it.

Monday, March 25 2024 – Monday of Holy Week

Mary Anoints Jesus’ Feet With Costly Perfumed Oil

·         Catholic Daily Readings for Monday of Holy Week


We see Jesus being anointed by Mary with expensive perfume, which sparks controversy among the disciples, revealing themes of devotion, sacrifice, and the looming betrayal of Jesus.

Tuesday, March 26 2024 – Tuesday of Holy Week

One of You Will Betray Me

Jesus predicts his betrayal by one of his disciples and emphasizes the importance of love and unity among his followers.

Wednesday, March 27 2024 – Wednesday of Holy Week

Judas Denies Being Jesus’ Betrayer

Jesus teaches about true freedom and reveals the connection between belief in Him and being set free from the slavery of sin.

Thursday, March 28 2024 – Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Lord, Are You Going to Wash My Feet?

Jesus washes his disciples’ feet to teach them about humility and the importance of serving others.

Friday, March 29 2024 – Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

Jesus Dies for Our Sins on the Cross

The reflection for Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion delves into the profound sacrifice and love shown by Jesus through his crucifixion, inviting us to contemplate the depth of his suffering and the redemption it brings.

Saturday, March 30 2024 – Easter Vigil – Holy Saturday Night

The Savior Has Died, He Rests in The Tomb

As we gather on Holy Saturday night for the Easter Vigil, we reflect on the anticipation of Christ’s resurrection and the promise of new life it brings to all who believe

Sunday, March 31 2024 – Easter Sunday – The Resurrection of the Lord

Jesus Christ Resurrects from the Dead

On Easter Sunday, the reflection for the Gospel focuses on the miraculous event of Jesus’ resurrection, symbolizing hope, renewal, and triumph over death.

 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 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 Christine Geoghegan and family in your thoughts and prayer.
  • Please keep in your prayer Leanne Hintz (Claire & Ray Hague’s  daughter. She is very unwell.
  • Please keep Wayne and Mary Dorn in your prayers
  • 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.
  • What happens when ice cream gets angry? It has a meltdown.
  • What do you call a locomotive carrying bubble gum? A chew chew train.
  • How do you get a mouse to smile? Say “cheese.”