a new harmony

Jun 10, 2019

The Holy Spirit made it to the front page of the Christchurch Press today within hours of the celebration of Pentecost.

And if you had searched a little further online you would have found the Pentecost homily Pope Francis gave in St Peter’s yesterday:

“There is always a temptation to build “nests”, to cling to our little group, to the things and people we like, to resist all contamination. It is only a small step from a  nest to a sect: how many times do we define our identity in opposition to someone or something! The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, brings together those who were distant, unites those far off, brings home those who were scattered. He blends different tonalities in a single harmony because before all else he sees goodness.”

The Press front page was a report of Bishop Paul Martin’s proposal for restructuring of Christchurch city parishes. These changes are proposed not as a reaction to anything negative since the bishop is very positive about what is happening in the parishes of the diocese at present. His proposal is instead a necessary stepping into the future with the confidence that the Spirit of God has given us. Bishop Paul’s proposal is centred on Jesus Christ:

“The changes I am now proposing for Christchurch City are required because our current parish structures are not serving the mission we are called to as effectively as we want. Pope Francis has asked us to be a church “permanently on mission”. Our mission as Christians is to go out and share with the world the good news that we are loved unconditionally by God and that a relationship with Jesus Christ is the best way to a fulfilled life. Our mission is to help our friends, family and our community to rediscover the heart of the Pentecost faith. Often too much parish energy and resources goes into maintaining parish plant that was built for, and appropriate to, an earlier era. This has meant that less time and money is available to be spent on the primary mission of the church and as a result too many of our family and friends are struggling to encounter Jesus Christ within the Catholic Church”.

Bishop Paul concluded his video homily and pastoral letter inviting us to pray and learn by heart the ancient prayer to the Holy Spirit. Join us in praying this prayer now for the people of the diocese of Christchurch.

Come Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.

V. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.

R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit,
did instruct the hearts of the faithful,
grant that by the same Holy Spirit
we may be truly wise
and ever enjoy His consolations,
Through Christ Our Lord,

Find out more about the proposal by clicking on the image below.


  1. Well said John
    Denis N

  2. I remember about 10 years ago? A Fr. John O’Connor saying that we have the right number of Priests, just too many Parishes. So true then and now.

  3. the Bishop is both Brave and Bold.

  4. So proud of our Bishop, to tackle this issue so soon after his Ordination.
    Praying that we can have open minds and hearts to see the many positive possibilities this time can bring.

  5. This is quite similar to the message of Jesus asking his disciples to “Go out into all the world…”. Our church buildings are places where we gather, are equipped to ‘go out’ and be part of the Good News of Jesus.

  6. I also applaud our Bishop. Leadership has to be inspite of the fears of those they lead. I think +Paul has shown great courage. Much like those men at Pentecost.


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