by MARTIN de JONG
At the annual Waitangi Day Mass at St Mary of the Angels Church, Wellington, Cardinal John Dew said that people from many nationalities had come to Aotearoa “led here by God’s good choice”. The prayers of the Mass were “for all who live here under the guardianship of the Treaty. To live here together, Māori and many others, we do look for true justice, and we strive to live with respect for one another”.
More than 120 people attended the annual Mass on February 6. A feature of the Mass was the combined choir of about 50 people drawn from both St Mary of the Angels and Te Ngākau Tapu parish for Māori in Porirua. They led prayers and hymns sung in Māori, English and Latin, while the Prayers of the Faithful were offered in nine different languages.
Cardinal Dew was assisted by Fr Frank Bird, SM, who read the Beatitudes from Matthew’s Gospel.
Recalling Pope Francis’ naming of the Beatitudes as “the Christian’s identity card”, Cardinal Dew asked, “Are the Beatitudes our own identity card?”. He said that, in the crowd on the hill listening to Jesus, and in the Church today, “there are people who are poor in spirit, . . . there are people who are mourning for someone they loved dearly, . . . there were, and there are here, those who are passionate about justice and who feel the pain of injustice very deeply; there are people suffering, really suffering because they are trying to do the right thing and it is very hard to do – they or you, may even be wondering if it is worth it”.
Referencing a quote from Leo Tolstoy in the novel Anna Karenina – “Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be” – Cardinal Dew said, “As people gifted to live in Aotearoa New Zealand, there are always things we can do to lift the human spirit and fill the empty places . . . there are many who need to hear words of encouragement and have empty places filled with respect. We are privileged to do that for all who have made their home here.”
On the 183rd anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the cardinal concluded, “we do pray that the Holy Spirit of God, in a wondrous manner, will fill our world, our hearts and our empty spaces with love and justice”.