Bishop Dunn’s Lenten Pastoral Letter

On Ash Wednesday the Bishop Patrick Dunn of Auckland New Zealand published a pastoral letter to mark the beginning of Lent.

In his pastoral letter the Bishop invited parishes to open their churches on a Wednesday evenings so people can gather and simply “‘be still’ with the Lord” before the Blessed Sacrament


The Light is On for you

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ

These Sacred Forty Days invite us to step aside from “ordinary time” and to allow God to work silently within us so that we can approach the great Easter Festival with hearts and minds and lives renewed.

In his most recent Encyclical on “The Joy of the Gospel” Pope Francis reminds us that the mission of the Church in every generation is to be bearers to all people of the Good News of the nearness of the Reign of God.  However, he also warns us that this privilege should not lead to frenzied activity.  Often it is better simply to slow down, in order to see and listen to others, to stop rushing from one thing to another, and to remain with someone who is encountering difficulties.

Even in comparatively wealthy countries, like our own, the hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, and the joy of living fades.   Young people at times fear they have nothing for which to live.

The Church is called to be the House of the Father, with doors always open wide. One consequence of this is that, wherever possible, our church doors should be open each day so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door.

With this in mind also, I have asked parishes to see if they can plan to be open for one hour on each of the Wednesday evenings of Lent, with the Blessed Sacrament exposed,  so that people can come simply to “be still” with the Lord.

I encourage you to advertise this fact to friends, and also in local media outlets, so that all will know that The Light is On for You as Easter draws near.   For Catholics  too it can be an opportunity for Reconciliation or Confession.  The key point however is that THE DOORS ARE OPEN AND ALL ARE WELCOME.

+Patrick Dunn

Bishop of Auckland

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