Newsletter of the Wellington Christian Life Community
Dear CLC members
As we move into spring the kowhai, magnolia and other trees bloom and with the lifting of Covid restrictions it is possible these things might induce a lifting of spirits for some of us. At the same time the rising cost of living, homelessness and inflation remain a problem for many, and on the wider front the war in Ukraine continues and floods and fires threaten many in different parts of the world.
Another example of change has been the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of Charles III to the throne and thus Head of State for Aotearoa New Zealand. Whatever our attitudes regarding monarchy or republic as a form of government I think all acknowledge the late Queen’s example of leadership conceived as service. For more on this see ‘For Reflection’ below.
Tutu Rural Training Centre, Fiji
CLC Mission Project
In the first year of our mission project, participating members contributed a commendable $1,525 to support the Marist-run Tutu Rural Training Centre on Taveuni Island, Fiji. The Centre teaches basic agricultural skills to rural farmers as well as programs for strengthening family and community bonds.
The staff, volunteers and their families are the lifeblood of Tutu RTC.
Welexco has undertaken a three-year commitment to the project and invites all our members to consider joining the project as part of our CLC mission outreach. It is not too late to join. It is run on a voluntary basis, with members’ confidentiality safeguarded, and their contributions qualify as a tax-deductible donation. Caritas provides participating members with receipts for their individual contributions at the end of each tax year (31 March).
The project is operated jointly with Caritas Aotearoa NZ. Channeling our contribution through Caritas attracts a 1:3 subsidy from the government. That means that our $1,525 contribution delivered a whopping $6,100 to Tutu RTC.
Those choosing to join simply make their payment(s) into Welexco’s Project Tutu account. The account number is 38-9023-0243858-01, giving your name in the Reference box.
Saint Ignatius Day
CLC Wellington met on 31 July 2022 at St Thomas More Church, Wilton, to celebrate the anniversary of St Ignatius of Loyola. Sunday Mass was followed by an enjoyable lunch together at a local café.
First Spiritual Exercises Retreat
CLC Wellington offered Fr Michael Hansen’s retreat in daily life “Inner Peace in Friendship with Jesus” for five weeks over August and early September. A group of nearly 30 people (including a group joining through Zoom) met every Sunday at the Home of Compassion, Island Bay. The retreat went really well and was a grace filled experience for participants and givers.
An unexpected blessing of the Covid period has been the use of Zoom and Teams for CLC groups to meet, and the experience many of us have had with this technology encouraged WELEXCO to offer this way to meet for those unable to attend in person, either due to distance or illness.
The Zoom retreat had technical glitches (more silence during the combined virtual and live times than expected), but we have learned enough to be confident that we can offer this ‘hybrid’ retreat form again.
Chris Hartley, who as a Spiritual Director offered support to the retreat guides and participants, reads a reflection in front of the screen where much of the material was displayed.
Sarah Dench and Stephen Sandford with some of the equipment helping the Zoom retreatants share the live experience. Stephen joined as a retreatant, then became an invaluable asset dealing with lots of tech and IT issues. Many thanks Stephen!
Please mark your calendar for 12 November 2022. On that day from 10 am to 3.30 pm we will have a combined AGM and Reflection Day at Pa Maria the Marist Spirituality Centre in Thorndon.
Please also give consideration to serving as a member of WELEXCO, the Executive Committee for Wellington CLC. WELEXCO meets monthly – in recent times by Zoom. This is a community of people who are keen to share in a practical way with others the graces they have received through being in CLC. To join, there’s no expectation that you have been in CLC for decades, or that you need to bring a special talent or gift to this group. As time progresses, people find their talents and gifts will flower and everyone who attends brings a special something to this CLC group. Meetings are short, cheerful and interesting, and when an event developed by WELEXCO moves from planning to fruition, there is a sense of joy and achievement. We would love to have you join us.
Notes On A Retreat from Bernie Kernot
Mosgiel, for Catholics of my generation, has long historical associations linked with Holy Cross College, which was the only New Zealand seminary for a century until it closed in 1998. The buildings are still there, nowadays a convention centre that retains much of its Catholic ambience.
I had the pleasure recently of spending six days at the Burns Lodge and Holy Cross Centre as it’s now known, at the Ignatian themed “Remain In Me” retreat. The retreat was arranged through Ignatian Spirituality NZ with Father Mark Chamberlain of Dunedin as the retreat director, assisted by two guides Astrid and Katie.
The 10 retreatants meet their appointed guide on a daily basis. There was nothing regimental about the program. Each retreatant set their own objective
and the guides, who were well trained in the Spiritual Exercises, offered insight and help with appropriate Scriptural texts for the day’s meditation. I was gently guided by Astrid through a truly Ignatian experience. I return to Wellington spiritually refreshed and a reset compass for the year ahead.
The key, so often missed by the media but intuitively grasped by her people, was that for her, monarchy was not about privilege; it was about vocation. It was not something she had chosen; it had been asked of her, and, with her whole life, she assented. In that gracious “yes,” whatever the challenges, criticisms and vicissitudes, personal as well as political, the queen showed us how to convert privilege, whatever its form, into service……..
The queen is dead. Long live the king! The shout goes out, but her memory and her legacy does not fade. It remains not only as an example but a question to all who enjoy the privileges of birth, wealth, intellect and power. Can you convert your privilege into the grace of service? Noblesse oblige—something democracies cannot afford to forget. For this reason, the queen’s life has been a gift, and her memory will remain a blessing.
James Hanvey SJ
Spring has arrived, adorning the trees in lovely new garments and reminding us of the blessings God has given us through our natural world.
Let us find God in all things and praise God always.