Update from the recent Parish Stewardship Afternoon

Thank you to all who attended the recent Stewardship Afternoon at St Anne’s. It was a great turnout and a wide range of communities in our parish were represented.
There was thought provoking comment and animated discussion. While there is much we can do, we also recognised that there is a lot of welcoming going on in our communities and we shared many stories of this.
Thank you to Mike Gourley especially for taking the time to share with us his experience, as a disabled person, of ‘welcoming communities’. Mike’s sharing stimulated a lot of reflection on our facilities especially and how we engage with people with disabilities (some of which are not visible).

Below is a summary of key themes /ideas and next steps…
Theme 1: Being welcoming and feeling welcomed

  • Personal greetings – when arriving, leaving and by those sitting next to you 
  • Hospitality after Mass – being invited; new people are approached 
  • Being invited to be involved and to volunteer – everyone has something to contribute
  • Being asked your name – and knowing others’ names. (Name tags for greeters, Eucharistic ministers, etc?)
  • Good music
  • “Come as you are” – be clear we welcome everyone and all diversity (encourage people to be comfortable with their self-identity)
  • Doing things together, knowing more about each other (social events, family groups, etc, outside of Mass times)
  • Involve young people (invite them to choose a role in Mass; support Lifeteen and eXaLT)

Theme 2: Being welcoming of disability and inclusion

  • Personal welcome and concern: greet the person, not just their disability.
  • Ease of access – ramps and handrails: to the church, to the altar, to toilets, to pews (spacing of benches)
  • Being asked if you need assistance
  • Good AV and sound systems – large clear print for overhead projectors with strong contrast
  • Voice projection training for presiders/readers to speak clearly into microphones
  • Concern and awareness for invisible disabilities
  • Warm churches
  • Spare wheelchair/walker in each church? Defibrillators?

Theme 3: Wider ideas for enriching our communities and being even more welcoming

  • Gather feedback from visitors and new parishioners – learn if they how welcome they feel and why (and why not)
  • Ensure liturgy, ministries and roster volunteers are representative of the whole community – invite more people to participate (individual invitations work)
  • Te Reo slides with English translations alongside (and slower pronunciation)
  • Bi-cultural and multi-cultural signage
  • Even more inclusive language in the liturgy
  • Grow engagement with the wider community – look out beyond our church buildings (including social justice activities)
  • Continue to establish the Home of Compassion as the “joint meeting place” for our parish churches and whole of parish events
  • Grow school-church-parish links
  • “More lively” liturgies
  • “Spontaneous notices” at the end of Mass – e.g. family news, birthdays..
  • Gender-neutral toilets

Next steps

  1. Individual communities to discuss opportunities to utilise some of the ideas listed above.
  2. Parish Council& Leadership Team to consider actions to be integrated into current pastoral plan in the New Year.

Thank you again for your support,
God bless
Stephen Neal, Chair, Pastoral Council

Wellington South Rotary Pride of Workmanship Awards.

Anna Kozyniak from the St Joseph’s community was presented with an award marking the many hours of committed, unstinting service in our church community as well as the St Catherine’s College community.

Anna is a most generous woman who turns her hand to anything that is required.  She:

  • trains leaders in various ministries at church, eg, Children’s Liturgy;
  • organises functions, eg, midwinter church gathering of the parish;
  • prepares the physical space before Mass and often comes very early to turn the heaters on;
  • caters for almost every event we have, eg, baptisms, special morning teas for people celebrating a milestone (all of this out of her own pocket;
  • is a key organiser of the Easter and Christmas Religious ceremonies and other celebrations, eg, Sacramental Programmes such as First Communion etc;
  • assists at parish working bees and brings morning tea for others;
  • weeds the parish gardens;
  • visits those who are ill or shut in

At St Catherine’s, she:

  • volunteers with sports teams;
  • weeds the garden;
  • bakes for school events, eg prizegiving, fairs etc;
  • has been a member of the College PTA.

There are probably other things Anna does which I am unaware of. She never shouts it out, just gets on with it.
One would never know how busy Anna is or that she is immersed in family life while she is doing all this. Always pleasant and calm, always thoughtful of others.

We are proud to be associated with her.

Stephanie Kitching rsm

All saints Day Mass at St Francis de Sales

Parishioners, including the students and teachers from St Francis de Sales school, joined together to celebrate All Saints day on Thursday 1 November.

A member of the congregation began her journey to being a full member of our Catholic community. Mass included a celebration and welcome, as Fr David gave a special blessing to her and her sponsor.


Saturday 17 November,
1pm St Anne’s Hall, Newtown
Theme: Welcoming Communities

A recent story of welcome – A young man turned up at Sunday Mass in one of our Wellington South churches and sat towards the back. He’s not Catholic but wants to know more about what we believe and how we live as Catholics. He is open to becoming Catholic and joining a community. Some parishioners noticed him and invited him to stay for morning tea and introduced him to the priest.
Another recent story of welcome – Two gay men sought baptism for their child during Sunday Mass recently. The community welcomed them and enjoyed a shared morning tea after Mass.
Those are simple stories of welcome. Do you have a welcoming story to share? Come to St Anne’s Hall, Emmett St Newtown on Saturday 17 November at 1pm. Help us explore opportunities and ideas to enhance Wellington South Parish as a ‘welcoming community’. There’s a lot of ‘welcoming’ that already goes on in a wide range of forms and situations. How can we build on this?

For Personal Reflection

  • What talents and abilities has God given me?
  • Do I use them in service of others?
  • How can I become a more effective steward of the gifts I have received?

Congratulations to Linda Swayn

Cardinal John Dew presented the Papal Benemerenti Medal to Linda Swayn at St Francis de Sales on Sunday 7 October during a special Mass held during Compassion Fest. The award acknowledged her work for the church and in particular working with and supporting children.

Compassion Festival Events

What is Compassion Fest?

Celebrating the life and work of Suzanne Aubert, social and religious pioneer and champion of children and the poor.
During her life, Mother Aubert, as well as founding a religious congregation, greatly influenced progress in such areas as health, education, women’s rights and social welfare. Her work in the fields of medicine, Maori language and an evolving New Zealand spirituality was pioneering and far-reaching.
The first event in the Festival is For Compassion’s Sake: an art exhibition. This will be running the week leading up to the festival in the Island Bay Presbyterian Church lounge, contributors have been invited to submit work illustrating either the life of Suzanne Aubert or the virtue of compassion. Some work will be for sale, it will be open for viewing each day. The formal exhibition opening will be 4-6pm next Sunday, refreshments provided, all welcome.
The first formal event of the Festival weekend is a Taize service as CompassionFest opens in reflection and with prayer. This is at the Home of Compassion chapel, 7-8pm Friday Oct 5th. The Heritage Center will also be open that evening from 6:30pm if people wish to immerse themselves in Suzanne Aubert’s life.

Compassion Fest Events

  • “For Compassion’s Sake” Art exhibition: Showcasing the artistic vision of Compassion in 2D and 3D media. Presbyterian lounge, 88 The Parade. Opening: Sun 30 Sept 4pm. Until 7th Oct.
  • Taize service: Reflective service at Home of Compassion Fri 5 Oct, 7-8pm
  • Kids Fest: Fun, craft, cooking, food art & learning activities Presbyterian Church, Sat 6 Oct, 10am-2pm
  • “Small steps in big shoes” – Children’s tour of Home of Compassion. Walk up with trolleys and food donations to the Home; be guided through a Mother Aubert ‘experience’. Sat 6 Oct. Leaves the church 2.10pm; tour 2.45-4pm.
  • “Suzanne’s Island Bay” Mother Aubert knew her local community inside out. Take a 1900’s trip with the Historical Society. Baptist church, Sat 6 Oct 5pm followed by soup for all ($2 per cup).
  • Splendid Drop A beer tasting event featuring six styles of homebrew beer, one brewed by Tuatara! It will weave a narrative through Suzanne Aubert’s life with the tasting notes of the beers. R18. St Hilda’s, Sat 6 Oct 7:30-9.30pm. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at eventfinda.co.nz/2018/splendid-drop
  • Combined Church Service: Contemporary combined worship service, celebrating the life and legacy of Suzanne Aubert at Presbyterian church. Sun 7 Oct, 10am.
  • Compassion Mass with Cardinal John Dew at St Francis de Sales Church, Sunday 7 Oct, 10:30am
  • Native Tonics Workshop: Make curatives from local flora, as found in M. Aubert’s kete! Join our fun field experience and learn how to identify, harvest, prepare and use native plants. Limited spaces. Email amber.parrystrong@gmail.com to register. Tapu Te Ranga Marae Sun 7 Oct 2-4pm
  • What’s Compassion got to do with running a Country? A symposium with politicians and theologians – feat. Hon. Paul Eagle, Hon. Chris Finlayson, Prof Chris Marshall, Janna Dennison and Sister Catherine Hannan at H.O.C. Sun 7 Oct, 7:30pm.

SOCIAL JUSTICE WEEK 9 – 15 September

This year the Social Justice Week focus is on disability and participation. How can we encourage more enabling communities, affirming that everyone has a part to play in our society?
Disability is not about individual impairment, but about society. The New Zealand Disability Strategy says: “Disability is something that happens when people with impairments face barriers in society; it is society that disables us, not our impairments… It is something that happens when the world we live in has been designed by people who assume that everyone is the same.”
We are all valuable before God, and we all have the same desire to experience life more abundantly, as Jesus promised us. God has called us together as one body – in fact, it is our diverse gifts and abilities that make us the Body of Christ. As St Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “if one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it” (1 Cor 12:26).
It is the duty and responsibility of each of us to play our own part to the fullest and remove every barrier that stands in the way of our brothers and sisters from doing the same.

“Every child, every person needs to know that they are a source of joy; every child, every person, needs to be celebrated.  Only when all of our weaknesses are accepted as part of our humanity can our negative, broken self-images be transformed.”   Jean Vanier, Becoming Human, 1998