Newly-ordained Dunedin Bishop Michael Dooley and Christchurch Bishop Paul Martin, SM, joined all the other New Zealand bishops, as well as priests and seminarians at a Mass commemorating the 118th Founders Day celebration for Holy Cross Seminary.
Bishop Martin, who was the main celebrant, said the occasion was not a “static reality” as is often perceived, but a reflection of the Church’s changing needs.
“The fact that we are celebrating Founders Day here in Ponsonby, Auckland, rather than in Mosgiel, Dunedin, reflects the changing needs and situation we find ourselves in and the ability to actually respond to those needs and circumstances,” he said.
The Mass was held at Sacred Heart church in Ponsonby on April 30. Other bishops at the Mass were Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn, Hamilton Bishop Stephen Lowe, Palmerston North Bishop Charles Drennan and Wellington Cardinal John Dew.
Dunedin Bishop Emeritus Colin Campbell, Hamilton Bishop Emeritus Denis Browne, Bishop Stuart O’Connell, SM, and Bishop Paul Donoghue, SM, from Rarotonga were also present as well as seminary officials led by Rector Fr Brendan Ward and seminarians. Bishop Martin said Christians have to be courageous and take risks as following Christ “will demand of us constantly to be seen where the Holy Spirit is leading”.
“This courage is based on what God is asking of us in the situations in which we find ourselves. . . , situations where we trust that God will be at work. And so while the fundamentals of our faith remain the same, the expressions and places and means of doing so need to be scrutinised and effective to see that they are meeting the needs and demands of the age in which we live,” he said. Bishop Martin said the Gospel is dynamic and “proclaimed within a culture”.
“We are called to see where God is at work within that culture so we can evangelise from within rather than without,” he said.
He said preaching the Good News is not always fashionable or popular.
“[People] may also look down [on us] or mock us or ignore us, but this is where we need the courage of the Holy Spirit, the courage that we have heard of in the Gospel promised to us by Christ, to envelop us, to help us be the people who love God and love God so much we want everyone to share it, despite the reaction we might have seen,” he said.
Bishop Martin said the work of foundation building continues on today.
“For us to be able to do this, we need to be holy men [and] holy women, people who are in a real relationship with God, who allow the Spirit to transform us to be the full version of who God created us to be,” he said. “People who look out for the needs of others before our own. People who by our actions show what being a Christian looks like and feels like.”