Morena/Good morning,

As advised previously, the New Zealand Bishops invited Passionist Family Group Movement to respond to the tasks set for the Synod feedback by asking this main question: 

How can we be a synodal Church in mission? 

Synodal is simply walking together and all that conjures up. It is about openness to the spirit interacting in our minds and hearts as we journey as followers of Jesus. I thought I share the final nine points raised from feedback from Passionist Family Groups from all over Aotearoa; this included two Zoom discussions where we shared openly and honestly. The final write up is in this letter and we have attached the feedback we gained from the process.

As also advised, this process was led by John Kleinsman who is the Director of the Nathanial Centre who provides advise to the NZ Bishops, Both John and his wife Kerry, are currently Parish Coordinator sin Johnsonville. As there are many parish communities affected by the current process it is timely we reflect on our communities and reflect on where we are in relation to others locally There has been much hurt, disappointment, grief, and loss. through the processes and the outcomes have not generally healed many. What is important for us is to realise the importance of Passionist Family Groups in bringing people to a sense of home where all are welcomed and invited to join.

We can forget that there are others now on the outer and in our groups, we may experience deep friendship and enjoyment That is great but how do we find ways to welcome those who come to our shores from other cultures who can feel as outsiders and not experiencing a sense of ‘belonging. Our ongoing challenge has not changed in almost 36 years in New Zealand. We are to be a “Family for All”. The recent start-up of the St Patrick’s Pukekohe Parish provided evidence that other cultures are seeking and looking to ‘belong’ just as we did all those years ago.

Who can we reach out to?

Who can we invite to share in our mission?

What gifts and talents do we have to find different ways of doing this?

Are there ways we can contribute to the wider communities in our area?

Can we move like the early church and be ‘one in mind and heart’ bringing Jesus to others?

An important reality lies before us in the first reading today. The community was one in mind and one in heart. We all be a little like Thomas in the gospel I will not believe until to touch Jesus. Doubt comes before faith and our humanity ensures often that we falter – but as Jesus is always encouraging and inviting ‘get up’ try again and believe! I will be with you always!

I like most of you don’t have the answers and I like most of you look for ways to build and support our faith community. .Let’s reflect and consider other ways and better ways to communicate to all so that our openness invites and welcomes as we are called to do. So, if you have any reflections, thoughts you’d be happy to share then I would be happy to collate and forward these. Send to

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

 Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday) Year B, 7 April 2024.


It is understandable that the Church should celebrate the octave of Easter by reading each year the episode in the Fourth Gospel where the risen Lord appears to Thomas ‘eight days later’. 

First reading: Acts 4:32-35
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 117(118):2-4, 15-18, 22-24
Second reading: 1 John 5:1-6
Gospel: John 20:19-31
Link to readings – click here

It is understandable that the Church should celebrate the octave of Easter by reading each year the episode in the Fourth Gospel where the risen Lord appears to Thomas ‘eight days later’ (20:19-31). This is preceded, appropriately enough, by a First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (4:32-35) describing the life of the disciples in the very early days of the Church. A key sign of the Spirit’s presence among the faithful is detachment from material possession. The assertion, ‘None of their members was ever in want,’ echoes a prescription in Deuteronomy 15:4 in connection with the celebration of the seventh or sabbatical year: a year when all outstanding debts had to be remitted so that the burden of debt would not pile up and continue to be ever more oppressive upon the poor. The gift of freedom and love created by the Spirit enabled the community of believers in Jerusalem to truly live out this liberating command of the Lord.

The sharing of material goods denoted by ‘having all things in common’ was destined to last in Christianity only in the monastic tradition. But beyond the material sense, we should be aware of an axiom pervasive in Greco-Roman society that ‘friends have all things in common’. What is being indicated, then, is that the early disciples were a community of friends. They shared friendship with the Lord Jesus and because of that they were friends with each other.

The Second Reading from the First Letter of John (5:1-6) features one of those passages in the letter where it is not all that easy to see which way the logic is running. The main point seems to be that loving God, the Father who has ‘begotten’ us in Christ entails loving our fellow believers. As also begotten by God, they are our “siblings” within the one family of God.

Gospel (John 20:19-31): Thomas is one of the most clearly defined characters in the Fourth Gospel. Born loser, realist, pessimist, he has missed out on the Easter night appearance of Jesus. He won’t believe in the resurrection simply on the other disciples’ claim ‘we have seen the Lord’. He lays down his explicit, highly ‘physical’ conditions.

With the divine ‘courtesy’ that is characteristic of the risen Lord in all the appearance stories of the gospels, Jesus is prepared, eight days later, to meet Thomas’ conditions exactly. Before the risen Lord in person, however, Thomas abandons them and makes the most exalted act of faith contained in the Gospel: ‘My Lord and my God!’. The confession takes us back to the Prologue: ‘… the Word was with God and the Word was God’ (1:1); ‘No one has ever seen God; it is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known’ (1:18). At this climactic moment of the Gospel it is Thomas, the late-comer, the obtuse one, the doubter, who proclaims the full identity of Jesus.

Brendan Byrne, SJ, FAHA, taught New Testament at Jesuit Theological College, Parkville, Vic., for almost forty years. He is now Emeritus Professor at the University of Divinity (Melbourne). His commentaries on the Gospels can be found at Pauline Books and Media



Poster – collage of one of St Patrick’s PFG groups on 9th March sent from Henry and Shireen Howie – Parish Coordinators

Formation-Reflection and moving forward:

Introduction to Synod Process for PFGM:  A big thank you to all who particiapated!

As advised at the start of this Newsletter we have a Final Draft that John and I worked through so as to forward to the NZ Bishops. We could never have got to this point without the feedback and sharing via our Zoom discussion groups. We were able to get representation from every diocese with Passionist Family Groups which is in itself a major achievement. So, a BIG than you to all who contributed and also a big thank to John Kleinsman for his expertise in facilitating this process. 

I have put the Final statement which follows – this was sent to the Bishops Secretariat on Tuesday this week. Its receipt has been acknowledged. I have attached all the feedback we received and I am sure you will find this feedback both informative and  Insightful. Blessings and thanks,, Paul

Synod NZCBC Consultation
How can we be a synodal Church in mission?
Feedback from the Passionist Family Group Movement Aotearoa

  • The face of the Church in Aotearoa has changed immensely over the past two decades and is largely multicultural, but we remain poor at welcoming new migrants and showing hospitality. The diversity of parishioners is not always reflected in parish leadership teams. 
  • We spend money renovating buildings, but spend little energy building small, intimate, non-judgemental, and inclusive communities of hospitality where people feel safe and can minister to each other. Many people who are not regularly or actively attending parish mass maintain their connection with the local church by belonging to Passionist Family Groups.
  • Our church has become less inclusive for young people, many of whom feel they no longer belong even while they are searching for community. Their connection with church will only happen through relationships. There needs to be better ways of helping children, teens and young adults connect outside of the Sunday mass.
  • The amalgamation and/or closing of parishes has devastated many communities, hurting many people. Restructuring parishes around the provision of eucharist is not the same as protecting and nurturing eucharistic communities and undermines a co-responsive approach.
  • If we are committed to building small communities in which people exercise true co-responsibility, then this needs to be reflected in the way we celebrate liturgy. Church buildings which are physically set up in the style of a lecture theatre promote a ‘passive’ vision of church which undermines co-responsibility and stifles liturgical creativity, including music.
  • The culture we develop in Passionist Family Groups is that members minister to and care for each other in times of need, exercising leadership and pastoral care and providing a safe space for people to be invited into by other members in a spirit of being missional. The ministry of invitation is at the core of Passionist Family Groups – small, intimate communities that are open and outward looking.
  • The experience of the Passionist Family Group Movement is that many members are active in other parish ministries.
  • Some parishes do not have active parish leadership teams. Others that do, work out of a model that is still highly clerical. Co-responsive leadership involves real sharing of power – a governance structure in which decision-making is truly inclusive of lay people. Women, who are heavily involved in the day-to-day running of parishes, need to be more represented in parish governance.
  • We need structures which enable us to reach out to those on the margins of our parishes rather than judging people as ‘no longer Catholic’ because they do not attend church regularly. Schools need to be a part of this outreach. 




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.
  • A 
  • 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 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


  • One Easter, a father was teaching his son to drive when out of nowhere a rabbit jumped on the road. Slamming on the brakes, the son said, “I nearly ruined Easter! I almost ran over the Easter Bunny.” His father replied, “It’s okay son—you missed it by a hare.”
  • Where does Valentine’s Day come after Easter?  A. In the dictionary
  • How do you make Easter easier? A. Replace the “t” with an “i”
  • Therapist: What’s been up lately? Chocolate bunny: I don’t know Doc, I just feel so hollow inside.
  • 364 days of the year: Do NOT eat anything you find on the ground.  A. Easter: Go and search in the dirt for candy a strange giant bunny left for you, kids!
  • What is the Easter Bunny’s favourite kind of music? A. Hip Hop
  • How does the Easter Bunny keep his fur in place? A. With hare spray
  • What do the Easter Bunny and Michael Jordan have in common?       A. They’re both famous for stuffing baskets
  • Why did the Easter Bunny have on a hat? A. Because he was having a bad hare day.
  • What happened to the Easter Bunny when he misbehaved at school? A. He was eggspelled!
  • What kind of jewelry does the Easter Bunny wear? A.14 Carrot Gold
  • A parishioner was in front of me coming out of church one day, and the preacher was standing at the door as he always is to shake hands. He grabbed the parishioner by the hand and pulled him aside. The Pastor said to him, “You need to join the Army of the Lord!” The parishioner replied, “I’m already in the Army of the Lord, Pastor.” Pastor questioned, “How come I don’t see you except at Christmas and Easter?” He whispered back, “I’m in the secret service.”