‘A very blessed, peaceful and happy Christmas to you all’

As we come to the end of what seems to have been for many a tumultuous year, and as we seem to be hurtling towards Christmas faster than ever, it is time for me to say THANK YOU to everyone around the Archdiocese of Wellington and the Diocese of Palmerston North. It is also time to stop and reflect once again on what it means to have our God living among us, present to us and walking with us. 

‘A very blessed, peaceful and happy Christmas to you all’ Archdiocese of Wellington
John A Cardinal Dew 

WelCom December 2022

+ John A Cardinal Dew 
Archbishop of Wellington Archdiocese
Apostolic Administrator of Palmerston North Diocese

As we come to the end of what seems to have been for many a tumultuous year, and as we seem to be hurtling towards Christmas faster than ever, it is time for me to say THANK YOU to everyone around the Archdiocese of Wellington and the Diocese of Palmerston North. It is also time to stop and reflect once again on what it means to have our God living among us, present to us and walking with us. 

For everyone the year has been challenging. We are not over Covid, many people are still wary, and cases are increasing again. Please continue to keep yourselves and others safe. People everywhere are affected by the cost of living and life is very hard for many people, so let’s look for ways to care for and support those who are really struggling. Some parishes are still challenged with property issues, and with how in these times our faith communities can be vibrant and alive, prayerful and reflective, caring and kind. 

It is very challenging to work with far fewer priests, and it is time to grow in awareness that we all have gifts to offer, and we are all called to work together. 

We learn from Mary, and a Synod reflection document reminds us that one of the oldest and most venerated icons of Mary, mother of God, is known as the ‘hodegetria’: she who shows us the way.

The Catholic Centre in Hill St had to be closed at the beginning of this year because it is an earthquake risk. This has made it very difficult for the staff who work to support parishes, schools and other Catholic institutions in the archdiocese. I want to assure all WelCom readers this is still our mission, and we will continue to work hard to be supportive of you all. 

Our Cathedral is still closed as work continues to strengthen and renovate it. Please think of how you might be able to support the call for financial help to complete the remaining work that needs to be done. 

In the midst of all of this, we have been travelling together on the Synodal journey. I thank very sincerely all those who have taken part in the ‘Spiritual Conversations’ as part of the Synod process, and those who have organised them. Pope Francis has reminded us that ‘In Mary, we learn how to travel as a synodal Church. We learn to be at home in the world and to make a home for all those who are seeking home, a place of welcome and refuge, healing and salvation, a place of reconciliation, peace and the assurance of eternal life.’ 

We do learn from Mary, and a Synod reflection document reminds us one of the oldest and most venerated icons of Mary, mother of God, is known as the ‘hodegetria’: she who shows us the way. Mary is the one who accompanies the Church on this journey, on life’s journey. In many icons Mary directs attention away from herself to her Son, to Jesus the source of our salvation, the One in whom we hope. Mary does not speak. She does not need to. She simply directs our gaze to her Son. 

“We learn from Mary, and a Synod reflection document reminds us that one of the oldest and most venerated icons of Mary, mother of God, is known as the ‘hodegetria’: she who shows us the way.”

As I use this column to wish you all a very happy and blessed Christmas. I thank you for your contribution to the Church throughout this year. I pray that Mary will continue to point out the way for us to Jesus our Saviour, to him who is the source of our life and hope. May this be a blessed a peaceful and a very happy Christmas for you all. 

‘A very blessed, peaceful and happy Christmas to you all’ Archdiocese of Wellington

A Hodegetria or Virgin Hodegetria (Our Lady of the Way) is an iconographic depiction of the Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus at her side while pointing to him as the source of salvation for humankind. ‘The Madonna and Child Enthroned’, by Guido of Siena, 1285–95, Church of San Regolo, Montaione, Florence, Italy.

Image: Public Domain