Exploring Faith

Seeker's Guide to Faith

In this book we’ll cover a range of topics, touching on things you might have thought were unrelated to each other. What they have in common is that they all have something to do with who you are and how you can know this. Each later chapter builds on the earlier chapters, so they need to be taken in sequence—the way you read a story. It’s all about making connections.

Faith Stories

Pope Francis, through the eyes of New Zealanders

Mary-Grace Williams and Jonny Boon – We are inspired. Inspired by someone who walks the talk, who practices what he preaches. This is simple stuff, but such a powerful example in this modern world – being real. So powerful in fact it has people all over the world transfixed. Pope Francis is counter-cultural. Not wanting to amass money or power for himself but rather to use his global profile and influence to highlight the plight of the poor and marginalized who need to be at the forefront of out thinking, our ministries, and our lives.

Bishop Colin Campbell – One of the most appealing aspects of Pope Francis is his personal approach to people. While he meets huge groups of people, he tries to avoid treating them as a corporate group; he tries to reach each personally and individually.  He phones a solo mum to tell her he will baptize her baby. He visits a prison on Holy Thursday and washes the feet of 12 young inmates, one a Muslim girl. He goes and gets some breakfast for the  young Swiss Guard who was on guard for him. When he visited Assisi last October he walked into a room of 100 people with quite severe handicaps. He didn’t address the whole group as a body but he spent time going around the room and speaking to each person. As Cardinal Theo McCarrick, a good friend of Francis, has said “he doesn’t just reach out to the poor, but to the individuals who are poor.”

 

Archbishop John Dew – Every day, Mass-going Catholics all over the world call to mind the Pope as he is prayed for during the prayers within each Mass which is celebrated. I suspect that while many Catholics have heard the Pope’s name mentioned at this point in the Mass they have hardly given him another thought throughout the day.

Today it is different. Every day, and sometimes many times a day, I hear the question “what do you think of Pope Francis?” or “Did you see what Pope Francis did, did you hear what Pope Francis said?”

May our prayers continue to give him health and strength, may he continue to “warm our hearts” and then may we “warm the hearts’ of others. 

Stories from the 'Coming Home Network'

Emily Stimpson Chapman grew up Catholic, but didn’t experience a personal encounter with Christ until meeting an Evangelical friend in college. Asking questions about the role of Scripture in Christianity and understanding the meaning of the Eucharist were major factors in her return to the Catholic Church. …

http://chnetwork.org/signposts/whole-world-became-experience-gods-grace/

Jackie and Tim Oglesby were both lifelong Christians, who both experienced the tragic loss of a spouse and wondered what God had in store for them next.  They met each other as they were both finding a new way of relating to Christ through the Charismatic renewal, and began to seek the Lord together.  Through a series of encounters with more liturgical expressions of faith, they eventually found themselves drawn to follow Jesus into full communion with the Catholic Church….

http://chnetwork.org/journey-home/jackie-tim-oglesby-converts-charismatic-renewal/

Joanna Wahlund - I was born to lifelong Lutherans (ELCA) who, of course, baptized all their kids Lutheran. I was baptized on December 28, 1980 — a date that I realized, soon after my conversion, as the Feast of the Holy Innocents. I sometimes wonder why I wasn’t baptized sooner given that I was born six weeks prematurely, but I suppose that in Lutheran circles baptism isn’t considered crucial for newborns, even premature ones….

http://chnetwork.org/story/journey-catholic-church/

 

Don Johnson - I clearly remember the moment I became a Christian. I don’t recall how old I was exactly, probably six or seven, but it was a Sunday afternoon and I had been to church that morning. Something about Sunday School must have made an impression on me, because I asked my mother to come to my room to talk to me about getting saved. She graciously led me in a prayer of repentance and faith. As we finished, I felt great joy and relief sweep over me. I knew that I was going to get into heaven because Jesus had died for me.

http://chnetwork.org/story/teaching-bible-atheists-led-catholic-church/

Michael Lofton spent a good portion of his childhood in Israel, and his mother was a convert to Judaism. Growing up in the Holy Land, he was surrounded by the places where the Scriptures were written, and he developed a love for the story of salvation. When Michael relocated to the United States, his faith was put to the testing point both intellectually and morally, and he began to take seriously the claims of the Catholic Church.

http://chnetwork.org/signposts/love-whole-christ-not-just-jesus-head-body-church-michael-lofton/

Parishes

The Catholic Church in New Zealand is divided into six regions called dioceses which are made up of parishes. 

There are 271 Catholic parishes throughout the country – 67 in the Diocese of Auckland; 37 in the Diocese of Hamilton; 33 in the Diocese of Palmerston North; 47 in the Archdiocese of Wellington; 50 in the Diocese of Christchurch and 37 in the Diocese of Dunedin. To find details on Parishes and mass times click here.