WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Leading from the top: Archbishop John shows the way

June 2014

Opinion

Fr James Lyons

Using the theme of our 2006 Synod, Salt and Light Together, Archbishop John Dew took to the road in April and May to encourage hundreds of parishioners across the archdiocese on the journey to ‘re-imagine the archdiocese’.

Reminding his audiences of last year’s Year of Faith with its celebration of 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (1962), he explained how the seeds within that council’s teachings were bearing fruit in the social and religious environment of the 21st century.

He built on the momentum of the Together we are One theme from the 2013 gatherings, stressing the need for individual Catholics to identify with their communities, praying and serving together as the one Body of Christ.

In a wonderful example of the teaching role of bishops, the archbishop made 11 stopovers to cover almost the whole of the archdiocese, meeting with clergy, religious and laity in evening sessions to teach and dialogue on issues critical to the fabric of pastoral life.

He travelled to Westport, Kaikoura, Masterton, Levin and all parts in between to help the understanding of ‘church’ in today’s world and the ‘local church’ as it meets the challenges of our times.

The creation of pastoral areas, halving the number of parishes, the deployment of lay pastoral leaders and the introduction of a revised liturgy, are developments with the potential for confusion and uncertainty.

As teacher, Archbishop John showed courage and stamina in listening to concerns, presenting his vision and inviting a partnership to work for the good of everyone.

He was well supported by his projects assistant, Catherine Jones smsm, and Director of Pastoral Services, Michael Noonan, giving witness to his distinctively collaborative style of leadership.

The exercise reached more than  600 people, representatives of parishes, leaving them feeling privileged and encouraged by the archbishop’s openness and commitment.

Fr James Lyons is parish priest of Sacred Heart Cathedral, member of the Wellington Central Pastoral Area.