Participation in parishes enriches families in innumerable ways

Bishop Charles, 2012

Meet Bishop Charles

Bishop Charles’ motto caritas congaudet veritati (love delights in the truth) is taken from the First Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 13. Saint Paul’s insight can be considered the kernel of Blessed Antonio Rosmini’s (founder of the Institute of Charity to which Bishop Charles belongs as an Ascribed member) entire contribution to the dialogue between faith and reason. It also stands at the heart of the ‘new evangelization’ in which all the baptized of Aotearoa-New Zealand are called to participate as we further the mission of the universal Church in our own secular society.

Bishop's Writings Raphael, the lepers colony

Raphael, where I stay in India, was founded as a colony or community for lepers...

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Saturday December 16th

I’m in Luang Prabang in the north of Laos [when I wrote this]. The whole town is a UNESCO world heritage site, resplendent with multiple Buddhist monasteries and traditional two storied wooden Villas and it is embraced by the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Kahn rivers. It’s a great place to relax or as the Italians put it lose yourself in il dolce far’ niente – the sweetness of doing nothing.

The Church in Luang Prabang is heavily restricted by the authorities. There is a Bishop but no Church let alone a Cathedral. Instead he had to build a ‘guest house’, the ground floor of which has no internal walls so serves as the gathering and worship space for the parish.

The spirit of service and Christian charity cannot however be trapped or contained by anyone, as it resides in people’s hearts and is fed by faith. Yesterday I was on a trip with a French doctor (an Emergency Specialist in Paris who does voluntary work here for a month a year), an Italian Camillian Brother, a Vietnamese priest and a Lao Sister (who speaks in addition to Lao, Vietnamese, Thai, English, and French and also uses sign language fluently!).

We went to visit a village school and ‘hospital’ (see the maternity room photo). The Bishop and the Camillians, rather than adopting a combative approach with the authorities, instead reach the people through the very structures that the government forbids the Church to establish – schools and clinics. Exercise books, pens and medications were distributed as well as some tiling work organized at the clinic.

The Sisters in north Laos do have one officially approved project. It fits the model of out of sight out of mind. They received permission to build on the edge of the town a school and hostel for non-hearing and non-speaking children, and further accommodation (young adults) for when they complete school and seek out a living. It’s the only such facility in the north of Laos. The prospect would be very bleak indeed for these young people were it not for the Sisters. While I was there a deaf French girl was volunteering and loving the rural set up with large vege gardens, fish ponds, and uncaged hens.
To extend the employment opportunities, the Sisters this year have supplemented weaving and sewing with straw-pack white mushroom growing and rice wine (more like grappa) production. A couple of the boys are hoping to open a motorbike repairs workshop should funds become available, and they have already worked out how they will communicate with potential clients.

Ingenuity seems to be the mark of this gutsy community of Sisters and deaf.
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Raphael, the lepers colony

Bishop

Raphael, where I stay in India, was founded as a colony or community for lepers...

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Ragpickers

Bishop

Ragpickers intrigue us...

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Schools in India

Bishop

Schools and hospitals abound in India...

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Sab ko namaste

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Despite best intentions I’ve taken well over a week to tap out a line or two from India...

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Let’s talk about Sundays

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My heart is lifted by the presence at Mass of young families, elderly, teenagers, and young adults

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Homily preached on the 150th Anniversary of NZ SVdP

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The Church’s credibility depends on our work of charity and justice for the poor...

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Southern Star Abbey, Kopua

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I am writing this early in the morning following “Vigils” at Southern Star Abbey

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Vocations Retreat 2017

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Last weekend I led a Vocations Retreat...

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A Visit to De La Salle College

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A couple of months ago I suggested that we visit De La Salle College in South Auckland...

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Federation of Catholics Bishops Conference of Oceania

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This week I'm in Auckland...

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David Seymour's Euthanasia Bill

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We Catholics are a progressive, pro-life, pro-nature people ...

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A Visit to Waipukurau

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I love visiting our schools ...

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A Visit to Whanganui

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Our network of Catholic schools is a massive commitment...

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The Start of Confirmation Season

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Yesterday marked the opening of the Confirmation season in our Diocese

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Easter Vigil 2017

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Bishop Charles' homily during the Easter Vigil mass

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Chrism Mass 2017

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Read Bishop Charles' homily for this year's Chrism Mass

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Holy Week Collections

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Bishop Charles asks us to support the Good Friday and Easter Sunday collections

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Vietnam Visit pt 3

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My Vietnam visit has now reached its end...

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Vietnam Visit pt 2

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One of the hidden treasures of the Church in NZ...

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Vietnam Visit pt 1

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The last week in Lent might seem an odd time to travel...

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Marist Brothers Bicentennial

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Bishop Charles reflects on the 200th anniversary of the Marist Brothers

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Christmas Midnight Mass 2016

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Our Christian lives show to humanity that the darkness of fate can be overcome ...

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Travels in India pt 7

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Along with entrenched corruption, India is full of scams...

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Travels in India pt 6

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Dehra Dun and Mussoorie Hill Station are well known for their schools...

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Travels in India pt 5

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TB is a killer ...

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Travels in India pt 4

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One of the great things about volunteering...

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Travels in India pt 3

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It takes me a few days to get into gear at Raphael...

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Travels in India pt 2

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I've made it to Dehra Dun

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Travels in India pt 1

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Bishop Charles heads off on his annual trip to India

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Strengthening of Catholic Schools

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...a most significant letter concerning all our Catholic schools and parishes...

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Easter Sunday 2016

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…the answer is revealed in tonight’s sacred liturgy, making tonight the most holy of nights...

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Chrism Mass 2016

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...The great unity which this Chrism Mass celebrates is an emboldening of our diocesan mission...

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New Plymouth - unification

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...We have all stumbled and fallen, rarely are our paths straight but always Jesus is with us...

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