Pastoral Plan Updates

MAY 2008


The five Pastoral Areas that have been launched continue to work through their planning process; developing parish profiles, formulating strengths and weaknesses analyses and then using this information to put together a plan for the Pastoral Area.   The Pastoral Area Councils which work through this process comprise the Priest Coordinator of the Pastoral Area and lay men and women who generously offer their time and expertise.   Through the process they develop a working relationship and gain a wider perspective of the Pastoral Area.   As we evolve in this process I can see that these Area Councils are now wrestling with pastoral issues such as formation and education for lay ministry and preparing parishes to have systems for a situation where there may be a non-resident parish priest.

We pray to the Holy Spirit as we continue to discern the way forward for our Parishes and Pastoral Areas.


The Diocese welcomes Fr John Rizzo of the Fraternity of St Peter who has arrived and is now residing at the Cathedral Presbytery as Assistant Priest and Chaplain for the Extraordinary (old) Form of the Mass which is celebrated daily at the Cathedral.   The Mass schedule can be found on the Diocesan website under Cathedral Parish.  

Bishop Barry has already indicated in his recent pastoral letter that Fr John and the other three new priests coming to the diocese from overseas will be going through an orientation programme which the Pastoral Planning Office will coordinate.   In addition the priests will receive ongoing mentoring by a priest of the diocese.


Mrs Jenny Rooney has been appointed part time Catholic Pastoral Chaplain at Hillmorton and the Specialist Mental Health Units at Princess Margaret Hospital.   Jenny has worked in this role previously, then having a break with Br Stephen Coakley OH taking up the role.   Jenny brings numerous skills in the area of mental health to this role.


I was fortunate to be able to attend the above conference in Orlando , Florida where six national Catholic organisations have collaborated toge the r to work on this joint project.   The Conference was the culmination of four years of research with over 1200 people participating in the Conference - bishops, priests, permanent deacons, religious and laity.   There were four people who attended from New Zealand (2 from Wellington , 1 from Palmerston North and myself).

Every diocese in the USA was involved in the extensive consultation and 80% of dioceses were represented at the conference itself.   The conference presented the initial findings and provided an opportunity to work in ‘Action Groups’ in a specific area of choice.   The six Action Groups were as follows:

·         Multiple Parish Pastoring

·         Parish Life Coordinators and Sacramental Ministers (Canon 517.2)

·         Next Generation of Pastoral Leaders

·         Implications for Human Resources

·         Impact of Multicultural Diversity

·         Parish Roles, Structures, and Best Practices (my choice of focus area)

The trip provided great insight into pastoral life on a huge scale, particularly in the area of lay ministry formation providing both resources and information to reflect on.  


Pentecost Sunday saw the conclusion of Catholics On Air in its current format.  This radio programme has been part of the Community Radio of Plains FM for the past 12 years.  Many volunteers over the years have contributed significant time in preparing, interviewing and editing programmes and our thanks go to all of them for their service in this area of communication.  The four people who have most recently been responsible for the programme are Dorothea McKenzie and Reon Murtha (involved since the programmes inception in 1996), Barbara TeMiha (involved since 1997) and Maryanne Martin (2006).  “I value to be able to assist in providing a channel through which fellow parishioners can share their faith journeys”, said Maryanne about her time as part of Catholics On Air.   Discussions are happening about how the programme might be continued into the future.


The Diocesan Pastoral Plan states that "It is highly desirable that as many people as possible continue their education-in-faith".  As a result the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry is being offered in 2008. 

The next course being taught is Introduction to Liturgy, which examines Vatican II’s call for full, active and conscious participation by all in the Liturgy.   This course is designed to familiarise participants with the principles of liturgy and to give them an overview of them.

The NZQA course is being held on a series of Monday and Wednesday evenings 4th August to 1st September, 7pm to 9pm.  It is a free course and taught at the Catholic Education Office. For more information view the website or contact Charles Shaw or Mike Stopforth (phone 366-9869).

MARCH 2008

The Pastoral Plan offers some wonderful reflection material about the Church and how we live out our Faith in the local Church here in the Diocese of Christchurch.   For example under the Pastoral Principle of Collaboration we read,

“All Catholics, both lay and ordained, are responsible for the mission of the Church. Since the Second Vatican Council, we have become increasingly aware that the question has changed from the priest himself saying “How am I going to manage?” to the parish saying “How are we going to respond?” Christ’s work belongs to us all! 

This collaboration of ministries in the Church brings into partnership people who through Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders have different vocations, gifts and offices within the Church. Collaboration does not blur the distinctiveness of each, but enables the identity of each to be expressed more fully. Collaboration embraces a wide range of possibilities in our parishes, including leadership in such areas as prayer, outreach to those in need, evangelisation, and education-in-faith. We see this happening increasingly in our parishes and yet the re is so much more to do.

- Diocesan Pastoral Plan p13

I invite you to read and reflect on the Pastoral Plan and consider what it might mean for your parish, school or community.   How might this pastoral principle be implemented?

Catholic Volunteer Hospital Chaplaincy Assistants

Since the passing of Father Kevin O’Grady, the pastoral care of Catholics in hospital has undergone significant change.

Sister Mary Hanrahan RSM is the Pastoral Chaplain at Christchurch Hospital and visits patients and brings Holy Communion to patients with the Voluntary Chaplaincy Assistants.   12 months ago a process began to identify and provide formation for Catholic men and women to work as part of our Catholic Chaplaincy in hospitals.   Four people have been through this process and are now probationary Chaplaincy Assistants.   There are three who are part of the Catholic Chaplaincy Team at Christchurch Hospital :

·         Anne Fogarty (from Sockburn Parish )

·         Br Pat Hill FMS (from St Albans Parish )

·         Stuart Thow (from Rangiora Parish )

The fourth person is at Princess Margaret Hospital :

·         Sharon Henshaw (from Beckenham Parish )

Subject to assessment and the Bishop’s decision to appointment the m, the y will be fully accredited mid year.

Fr Kevin Wei is priest chaplain to Christchurch Hospital 3 days per week with the other days covered by priests of the Pastoral Area on a roster system.   A priest is always available for urgent calls by asking hospital staff to contact the priest. 

Pastoral Plan Snippets:

·         Fr Stuart Sellar will be in all Pastoral Areas of the diocese speaking about the Pastoral Principles (Holiness, Communio, Collaboration and Mission).   This will be held from 14th to 18th September 2008.   Fr Stuart is a priest of the Dunedin diocese and is currently teaching at Good Shepherd College, the national theologate.   More information is on

·         Mid Canterbury Pastoral Area has produced a Pastoral Area Newsletter called “Pastoral Plains” with a second one being produced prior to Easter. the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry.   More information can be found on the website .   One of the courses being offered is ‘Introduction to Catholicism’ which opens up and deepens our understanding of the Catholic Church. This is being held in May over two Friday evenings and Saturdays.

·         The list of all rest homes in the diocese and the parish that has pastoral care over each one has been updated.

·         The priests of the North Canterbury Pastoral Area ga the red recently for a very fruitful meeting.


Why Pastoral Areas?

Each parish in the diocese is part of one of the nine Pastoral Areas.   These Pastoral Areas offer new possibilities as the Pastoral Plan indicates:

“Pastoral Areas offer exciting opportunities to be generous and imaginative, enabling parishes to look beyond their boundaries to their neighbouring parishes. It invites parishes to identify how they can help each other and share their resources. For example, a Pastoral Area might decide together to employ additional pastoral or youth workers or to combine for education programmes or sacramental preparation. Increasingly they will share priests. The concept of Pastoral Areas requires priests, religious, laity and parishes as a whole, to be generous in looking beyond personal interest to the wider needs of the Diocese and the mission of the Church.

The adoption of Pastoral Areas gives us an opportunity to review what is happening in our parishes, to acknowledge what is not happening, and to dream what might be possible in the future. Sharing the resources of people – priests, religious and laity – gives our parishes and Diocese the potential to be more vibrant in faith and in mission."

- Diocesan Pastoral Plan page 18

If a need arises within a Pastoral Area the principle that the Bishop has is that he looks to the Pastoral Area first to see what resources might be able to be accessed.   A practical application of this is Christchurch Hospital where the Christchurch Central Area was asked to take responsibility for pastoral care of the Hospital.

The full parish and Pastoral Area list can be found here

“The Pastoral Plan for our Diocese has been developed over a number of years at the initiative of Bishop John Cunneen. The Council of Priests oversaw this work, and I was a member of it, so I have been familiar with the plan from the very beginning. I endorse it, and recommend it, because the Church must always work in its present situation. As is well known, the need for excellent collaboration between priests and lay faithful to carry forward the mission of the Church is paramount.”           - Bishop Barry Jones

Certificate of Pastoral Ministry

In 2008 the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry will be offered for the first time in the Christchurch Diocese.  This has come out of a response to the Diocesan Pastoral Plan and the desire for continued formation of people across the Diocese.

This certificate is offered by the Wellington Catholic Education Centre (WCEC) and taught by lecturers from the Christchurch Catholic Education Office.   Each course requires 18 hours of teaching time, plus reading and an assignment.   Courses can also be taken for interest.   The courses are offered free of charge.    

This is an exciting new beginning in the opportunity for adult education in our Diocese.

For more information about the courses and when they are being offered check the website or contact Mike Stopforth phone 03-366 9869 or Charles Shaw (Course Coordinator)

Parish Secretary’s Day

A day was held at CatParish Secretaries Day 2007hedral House for parish secretaries on Wednesday 19th September.   This day followed a very successful day held some years earlier.   22 of our parish secretaries attended the day with another five sending an apology.   Parish fulfil a very important role within the life of the local parish so it was opportune to provide a day for them which included:

o        Sharing best practice and resources among themselves.

o        A time of prayer and reflection led by Sr Jill McLoughlin RSCJ

o        An input on the working relationships of the secretary by Msgr Gerry O’Connor VG

o        Administration matters (Paddy Beban and Janice Rennell)

o        An update on the Pastoral Plan (Mike Stopforth)  

Click on one of the files below to see the Pastoral Plan Updates...

Update November 2007.pdf Update November 2007.pdf (24.29 KB)

Update August 2007.pdf Update August 2007.pdf (23.94 KB)

Update April 2007.pdf Update April 2007.pdf (31.86 KB)

Update March 2007.pdf Update March 2007.pdf (33.15 KB)

Update February 2007.pdf Update February 2007.pdf (33.23 KB)

Update October 2006.pdf Update October 2006.pdf (24.25 KB)

Update 2 December 2005.pdf Update 2 December 2005.pdf (1.03 MB)

Update 1 August 2005.pdf Update 1 August 2005.pdf (388.82 KB)