WelCom April 2019:
“It is through Abraham and Sarah that we Christians are brothers and sisters with all Muslims. The Abrahamic religions – Jews, Christians and Muslims – are the faith communities that descend from, and are united in, the worship of the God of Abraham.” – Bishop Charles Drennan
A message from Cardinal John Dew in the wake of the Christchurch shootings
21 March 2019
Kia tau te rangimarie ki a koutou,
I recently wrote about a line that had deeply impressed me from a Hymn sung at a Mass I celebrated with the Sisters of Mercy. The line was ‘There is never a time for hope to die’. Little did I know that just a week later New Zealand would be facing one of its ‘darkest days’. The tragedy of 50 people being shot and killed while they were at prayer on a Friday afternoon could easily make us think hope had died. We heard so much in the following days about how ‘New Zealand has changed forever’. I believe that is true, this has been a very difficult time for everyone and will continue to be for a long time to come.
Amid this disaster, people all over the country have turned out in their thousands to pray at many different services, have taken flowers to mosques and stood outside in solidarity with Muslims. Politicians and civic leaders who do not often speak of love and compassion, kindness and care have done so eloquently and with passion.
We have witnessed deep goodness and compassion in so many people. I have never heard so many people talking about how a dreadful act of violence has brought out the good in so many other people. This is the time for anyone in New Zealand to stand up and say we have had enough of violence and racism and bigotry and hatred, attitudes which are negative and destructive do nothing for our society.
Last year Pope Francis wrote that wonderful document on Holiness called Gaudete et Exsultate; he wrote powerfully about the call to holiness and used the Beatitudes from Matthew’s Gospel to help us reflect on what holiness is.
Being poor of heart: that is holiness
Reacting with meekness and humility: that is holiness
Knowing how to mourn with others: that is holiness
Hungering and thirsting for righteousness: that is holiness
Seeing and acting with mercy: that is holiness
Keeping a heart free of all that tarnishes love: that is holiness
Sowing peace all around us: that is holiness.
Thousands of people around Aotearoa New Zealand have mourned with others, have been showing us they are hungering and thirsting for right behaviour and justice, have been showing mercy, keeping their hearts free of anything that might tarnish words and acts of love, and above all have been sowing peace all around. Most of those people would not dream of calling themselves ‘holy’. I believe they are.
I thank God and I thank the people of New Zealand who have shown such love and goodness, such attitudes of welcoming all and accepting everyone in this land we are proud to call our home. This is bigger than New Zealand; messages of love and support have been received from civic and religious leaders from all over the world who are thinking of and praying for us. Thank you to everyone who has not ‘allowed hope to die’.
With abundant blessings,
Naku noa. Na + Hoane
‘As-salāmu alaykum – Peace be with you’