WelCom September 2018:
Mass celebrated for those affected by separation and divorce
Cardinal John Dew celebrated a special Mass at a gathering on Thursday 9 August, to offer support for and with those affected by separation and divorce. About 60 people from all over Wellington attended the Mass held at St Joseph’s Church, Mt Victoria. The Mass was an initial response to Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) to ensure people feel welcome in our churches and on parish communities.
When a marriage fails and circumstances change, the people affected can feel alienated or even ostracised. In his homily, Cardinal John reminded us that Jesus never turned anyone away, that none of us are perfect and when hopes and dreams are broken there is sadness in feeling judged. He spoke about how Pope Francis asked for a document that would ‘encourage families’. Quoting Francis, he said, ‘No family falls from heaven perfectly formed. Indeed, it is the unconditional love of Jesus that strengthens us in times of need.’
The evening together felt grace filled with a strong sense of support and encouragement for one another. There has been a wonderful response of gratitude from those who attended. Most stayed on after Mass to share refreshments, to talk and to be with others in a similar situation.
‘For our own soul stories. For our families. For the new love that has brought new life. In our gratitude, we look back at the times of brokenness and see if we are still carrying some kind of resentment or small anger. We lay this at the foot of the cross, as Jesus invites us into his own story of love – that what is resurrected is always greater than what has died.’ – Prayer by Joy Cowley, prayed by Joy during Mass.
We ask for prayers as a new ministry for those affected by divorce and separation is developed in the Archdiocese. It is hoped to hold this Mass annually and to strengthen existing support networks throughout the region.
For more information please contact Felicity Giltrap, Family and Young Church Vicariate, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (04) 496-1719.