Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Life Questions

First World Marriage Day held in New Zealand.
15 February 2017
This year for the first time World Marriage Day was celebrated in New Zealand at a Wellington Event organised by the Centre for Marriage and Family (CMF).
“World Marriage Day honours a husband and wife as the foundation of a family, the basic unity of society.  It celebrates the beauty of their love, faithfulness, sacrifice and joy in their marriage. Further, it celebrates the children that are born to them out of their love and their establishment of a family,” stated Centre Chairman Ewen Laurenson and co-founder of the Open Home Foundation.
World Marriage Day is held every second Sunday of February in many countries worldwide. Its origins began in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1981, when couples encouraged the Mayor, the Governor and the Bishop to proclaim St. Valentines Day as ‘We Believe in Marriage Day’. The event was so successful the idea was presented to and was adopted by Worldwide Marriage Encounter's National Leadership. In 1993, his Holiness, Pope John Paul II, imparted his Apostolic Blessings on World Marriage Day. Since then World Marriage Day celebrations continue to grow and spread to more countries and faith expressions every year.
“CMF wanted to use the occasion to affirm and celebrate the wonder of marriage and family in a secular age that so often seems to disparage or be indifferent to these concepts that for centuries have stood the test of time,” said Mr Laurenson.
The Family Fun Day Out at Aotea Lagoon included games and spot prizes, a walk around the lagoon, cakes, live music and a sausage sizzle. Many young couples and families attended despite the threat of wet weather.
“What impacted me the most, was that it was a lovely and joyous statement about the value to our society of marriage and family,” said Mr Laurenson, who together with wife Gillian won the prize for the longest married couple of 47 years!
Centre Director Patricia Sison said, “I felt God honoured the occasion in the way the weather held. God is good! He made the sun come out as He said he would and at just the right time-- 2 pm the start of the event. He is faithful and I have gained a better understanding of what marriage is through his faithfulness in my life.
“The event was a good public statement about support for marriage and family. It was so wonderful to have young people present and to observe their positive involvement one way and another. It is my prayer that these young people will value marriage and family in the years to come. 
“For CMF the event was a success as it reflected one of the organisation’s key values of  intergenerational participation, involvement and collaboration of people, young and old to stand and work to promote marriage and the family.

“One of the guiding principles of the CMF is to proclaim God's mercy from generation to generation from the song of Mary in the gospel of Luke and that I believe was what we did. Never was it more pronounced then through the walk around the Lagoon which was like a march signifying the generations coming together on a journey,  and proclaiming the great heritage of the human race which is Marriage.”

For more on the work of the Centre for Marriage and Family, email or visit  .


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Bishops Media releases


To the NZ Government and Public:

As leaders in our 3 Churches we wish to publicly state our concern about the proposed deportation of several students from India for falsification of their visa papers. We do not believe they intended to deceive the NZ government in this way.

“Having looked at their situation it seems to us that these students have been duped by unscrupulous immigration agents in India. In a previous similar cases we understand that where documentation had been deemed falsified by immigration agents then the group was allowed to stay.” Archbishop Philip Richardson said.

This points to an inconsistency in policy and an unfair treatment of this group of students.

The students were up-to- date with course fees at their educational establishments. They could not draw NZ benefits because they are not citizens or residents. Most of them were tax-paying workers according to their visa conditions and they were contributing to the NZ economy via their taxes, course fees and general living expenses.

We do not deny that the NZ government has a duty to carefully scrutinize immigration applications, nor that applicants have a responsibility in regard to their applications. However these can be complicated processes and the role and legitimacy of immigration agents also needs careful scrutiny. Immigration New Zealand seems to have erred in its processes as well.

“We urge the government to re-consider the case of these students. We do so on the basis of concern for the human situation of the students, our Christian responsibility to care for ‘the stranger, the widow and the orphan’ among us, and a concern for just application of NZ’s immigration policy.” Cardinal John Dew said.  

Cardinal John Dew
Archbishop of Wellington.

Archbishop Philip Richardson
Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia.

Reverend Prince Devandanan
President - the Methodist Church of New Zealand.

For more information please contact: Monsignor Gerard Burns, Vicar-General, Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington, 027-739-8473.

Simone Olsen
Communications Adviser
Te Huinga o ngā Pīhopa Katorika o Aotearoa
NZ Catholic Bishops Conference
04 496 1725
021 611 052