National Chaplain

At the end of November we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King and move in to Advent with its preparation for the birth of Jesus.  Have you ever thought about what connection there might be between the two?  The Jewish biblical understanding of a king was one who used his power and authority to care for the downtrodden in society (hardly how we view royalty, is it?)  Scriptural historians remind us that the kings appointed by God for Israel were quite different from other kings who saw themselves as there to protect the rights of what we would call the aristocracy or upper classes. Israel’s kings were appointed to defend those who could not defend themselves.  Widows, orphans and resident foreigners had access to the king at all times of the day and night because, given the customs of the time, they had no one except the king of Israel to protect their rights.  It’s with this kind of king that Jesus identified himself.

As we move into Advent and Christmas let’s not stop at thinking of Jesus as “the newborn King” whose invitation is “come let us adore him”.  Perhaps this year we could add the thought that the “newborn King” whom we look forward to celebrating, is the one who says, “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full” and “when you do it to the least of my brothers and sisters you do it to me”, inviting us to share compassion and love in the way he came to share it.

May the compassion and love of Christ be with each one of you as you celebrate the joy of Christmas.


Jesus communicated his most telling truths about the kingdom of God by means of fiction, i.e. made up stories?

Jesus invited his hearers to use their imagination as he told them what we call a ‘parable’, a story with a deeper meaner to it than mere historical facts.  The truth didn’t depend on whether the tale Jesus told actually happened.

If we think about it, Jesus’ fiction presents a world of banquets, sheepfolds, vineyards, households, journeys, sickness, nature with its trees seeds, weeds, water and fish; a world peopled by callous judges, rich merchants, righteous upstarts, widows, selfish hosts, foolish bridesmaids, awkward neighbors, dishonest servants, broken families, cruel religious leaders and more.

If you think about it, the parables make it clear that we come to the fullness of life God promises us through the events of everyday life with its eating, drinking, sleeping, forgiving, travelling, showing compassion, reaching out and caring, offering hospitality, rejoicing and sympathizing, answering doors and providing help.  There’s not much about the supernatural in Jesus’ parables.  He’s telling us that it is in the arena of the ordinary that the drama of God’s kingdom is lived out and becomes a reality.

The parables challenge us to delve beneath the surface, to recognise the true meaning and message in what Jesus is saying, to make choices and follow them through.

Ref. Seasons of the Word by Denis McBride CSSR

To think about and talk about….

  • What do you think about the idea that Jesus used fiction as a tool for teaching about the kingdom of God?


  • What is your reaction to the statement that ‘there’s not much about the supernatural in Jesus’ parables’?


  • What is your favourite piece of gospel fiction, your favourite parable, and why?


  • What aspect of the kingdom of God do you think Jesus was trying to communicate through that particular story and how does it challenge you?



Chaplain to the National Board of CWLANZ is a relatively new position for which the Board sought the approval of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference in 2011.

The Board felt that there would be significant benefit in having a designated chaplain with a commitment to the growth and development of CWLANZ and able to provide

  • spiritual support to the National Board;
  • advice on doctrinal and moral matters when requested;
  • assistance in the preparation of Liturgies;
  • encouragement to Board members in deepening their relationship with God;
  • spiritual, theological, liturgical input consistent with the teaching of Vatican II;
  • assistance to the Board in developing its understanding of Catholic social teaching.


At the request of the Board, the Bishops Conference confirmed the appointment of Sr John Bosco Kendall rsj as the first to hold this new position for which they had given their approval.

Sr John Bosco Kendall rsj is a member of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and currently lives in Whanganui.  Her years as a Sister of St Joseph have been given to teaching, financial administration,  pastoral ministry, adult formation,  policy development and service on a variety of Church bodies at parish, diocesan, arch-diocesan and national levels.  She has a particular interest in empowering lay people in the Church. Her appointment in 1985 as chaplain to the Council of the Catholic Women’s League in the Archdiocese of Wellington made her the first woman to hold this position in any of the Aotearoa New Zealand dioceses.  She subsequently held the same position for CWL in the diocese of Palmerston North until her appointment as Chaplain to the National Board in 2011.

Have You Ever Thought That….

The articles that appear under this heading are written in response to a need expressed by members at the 2012 National Conference for assistance in deepening their understanding of what it means to be ‘Catholic’.  They are offered as a tool for stimulating thought and sharing at CWLANZ meetings.