WelCom March 2019:
A Mass of farewell and thanksgiving for 11 years of service to the Cathedral Parish by Fr James Lyons was held on Sunday 17 February. The occasion was to honour and celebrate Fr James’ retirement as parish priest of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Thorndon.
The Mass was celebrated at the nearby Anglican Cathedral of St Paul, as the Sacred Heart Cathedral is closed for building re-strengthening. Hundreds came to honour and support Fr James and parishioners and friends enjoyed a picnic lunch afterwards in the grounds of Parliament.
Fr James celebrated Mass with many other priests from the Archdiocese. Led by music director Michael Fletcher, the Sacred Heart Cathedral choir sang beautifully.
Well known as a gifted writer and communicator, Fr James has published many books and some of these were brought up to the altar by children during the Offertory.
In his homily Fr James said, ‘Leaving a parish is not too much different from arriving in one. Both are occasions for anxiety. And that’s where I am. The gospel passage we’ve just heard follows immediately after Jesus names his 12 apostles. The moment signals an end to the life they’ve known without Jesus, and the beginning of a time with Jesus but shrouded in mystery. And, as they step into this “unknown”, they hear Jesus pronounce blessings on all the things they were not expecting to be part of their life with him.
‘I have been richly blessed during these 11 years at Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish; food and laughter have accompanied me in all my visits and times with you. It is with these blessings that I move into a new phase of my life. The “unknown” will unfold as it has always done. And then there is the stream into which we are all called – to be rooted and to grow in the waters of God’s love and kindness – to be a forest of faithfulness – putting our trust in God and letting the breeze of the Holy Spirit move through our branches, uniting us in the work of proclaiming the gospel of peace.
‘That remains our mission, wherever we are.’
Fr James concluded Mass with a blessing for the children.