Kia tau te rangimārie ki a koutou
Last Sunday many people gathered at St Mary of the Angels to renew the dedication of Aotearoa New Zealand to Mary, the Mother of God, under the title of “Mary, Assumed into Heaven,” which was first done by Bishop Pompallier in 1838. Pompallier actually dedicated his mission in New Zealand to Mary. I think last Sunday many people were thinking mostly about dedicating the country to her especially at this time of pandemic, and it is right that we did that and asked for her prayers to keep everyone safe.
I believe we also need to dedicate our mission as the baptised to Mary.
We are all being given a chance to have our say about the direction the Church should be going in the future. Pope Francs wants to consult everyone on the topic, “For a Synodal Church: communion, participation, mission”. He wants us all to have a say because we all have the right to have a say because we are baptised. We are divided, however, over the direction change should take.
The Pope does not subscribe to the theory that God’s gifts of grace and guidance for his Church flow exclusively through the top management team. He wants the Church to be a synodal Church, characterized by ongoing open discussion and a “listening process conducted at every level of the Church’s life”.
I was present in Saint Peter’s in Rome the evening before the Synod of Bishops on the Family began in 2014. In his homily Pope Francis said “The Lord asks of us a renewed openness, He asks us not to close off dialogue and encounter but to gather everything that is valid and positive…”.
We have a chance to do as Bishop Pompallier did and dedicate our mission to Mary Assumed into Heaven, not just our country. We all have a mission, we all ARE a mission. In the next few months there will be an opportunity for all of us to have a say in how we will live out our mission. Francis has also called on all the of the world to develop synodality at “every level” as a normal feature which permeates Catholic life, and which includes all clergy and the laity at “every level”.
I invite everyone to personally renew your mission as a baptised Catholic, dedicate your mission to Mary as Bishop Pompallier did, and remember that the word “synod” comes originally from the Greek and means walking together. This is a metaphor for talking together and for the great value of what we can learn from one another on life’s pilgrimage. We walk together and talk together as we pick up our mission and make a new start every day.
Nāku noa. Nā