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Sunday 11th February 2007

SIXTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR IN ORDINARY TIME. + 11TH FEBRUARY 2007. INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE SICK (our Lady of Lourdes). Cycle C Readings. Weekday cycle One.

My Dear People,

Today in the World day of Prayer for the sick and if it was not a Sunday, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Our Lady never said to St Bernadette that she would heal people at Lourdes but from the very beginning of the Apparitions on this day in 1858, folk were cured. In fact one of the first was a woodsman who was blinded by a chip of wood flying out of the saw he was using to cut a tree. He bathed his eye in the little pool which Bernadette had created when Our Lady told her to wash her face. His eye was restored.

The story of Lourdes is an ongoing one and many consolations and communications from God are given at that holy place and others like Medjugorje and Fatima. The one thing all these holy places have in common is that the Mother of God has visited there and blessed the place with her holy and motherly presence for the consolation of God's humble people in painful and difficult times.

Freemasonry and Rational Liberalism ruled in France and in Portugal in 1858 and 1917. The rulers were all atheists and saw the Church as standing in the way of Progress - progress been judged only through the ruler's eyes of course. (Does it remind of our rulers now?)

Famine was not far away for the seers both in Lourdes and in Fatima. Ireland had just emptied two thirds of its population in the face of the Great Potato Blight Famine and the sufferings were so great, the story will never be fully told for the victims are dead or drowned on the way to the New World. Strangely enough in Britain freedom of religion was genuine and except for anti-Catholic Bigotry which was widespread, there was genuine improvement of religious freedom and the Bishops had just been restored to England in 1850.

Bernadette was illiterate and in poor health and the family was bankrupt. It was the need for fuel in a harsh mountain winter that caused her to go to the Rock of Masiebelle to look for drift wood that the River Gave might have carried down from the Pyrenees.

Then with a movement of wind and the bushes not moving she saw a light emerge from the cave on the rock above her little frame out of which emerged her beautiful lady who bowed to her and greeted her with such exquisite graciousness and kindness. "Would you be so kind to return here for (so may days)..." etc. she said to the 14 year old. The rest is history. Millions come to Lourdes every year still bringing their sick and handicapped, their dying and their deep personal intentions and there they find God's comfort. Outsiders see us as only going to Lourdes for "A CURE" and think us superstitious. How wrong they are. I do not know one who has gone to Lourdes for a Cure and only a CURE. Our Lord has told us to ask for everything "in his name" and in Lourdes that's what we do. We know God can work miracles and we pray for a miracle if that is God's will but we want God's will. The Mother of God teaches you there to accept God's will. How many family troubles are cured there and they are not to do with illnesses but past hurts and grudges and injustices. In the Gospel today it says "Jesus came down with the Twelve... where there was a large gathering of his disciples WITH A GREAT CROWD who had come to hear Him and be cured." NOW - that is exactly what you find in these holy places where Our Lady has appeared. There in Lourdes, Fatima, Medjugorje, Knock, Guadalupe etc - you first find the great crowds and then you find the successors of The Twelve Apostles - the Bishops of diocese with their disciples and all listening to the message of Jesus and celebrating his holy Mysteries which he gave to us the night before he died when He said "Do this in Memory of Me." You find the thousands going to Confess their sins and receive our Lord's forgiveness at the hands of the Priests. Jesus breathed on them and said "Whose sins you forgive they are forgiven." The sick are anointed and have hands laid on them in the name of the Lord and many find healing and strength and the courage to face life.

There is so much to say and too little space. Believe me - the hand of God touches you there. So that is why the late Pope appointed this day as a Day of Prayer for the Sick. He showed with his own example how to be really sick and full of the Spirit did he not. His last visit to Lourdes he told the pilgrim sick: "I come to you as one of you now.." What a saint we have in John Paul. So you sick - cheer up. God has chosen you and given you a great mission. Human life does not consist only in health and strength.

God Bless,

Father Tom Connolly.

MRS SHARON SESNAN our much esteemed Deputy Head at St Kentigern's has been appointed as the new Head teacher at St Richard's RC Primary in Longsight. This is another feather in our schools cap which, through the excellence of Mr. Jackson's example has led many to get senior positions in other schools on the strength of their experience under Mr Jackson (and in the past, Mr Driscoll).

FRIDAY MARCH 9TH. GIFTED AND GREEN ANNIVERSARY IRISH CHARITY CONCERT. The awards winning "Young, Gifted and Green" Irish Troupe will be staging its annual Irish Charity Concert on Fri 9th March at St Bede's College as part of this years Irish Festival in Manchester. Special guests include fiddle player "Dezi Donnelly" from the legendary Celtic Rock group called "Toss the Feathers", All proceeds are going to FRANCIS HOUSE hospice and a Hospital in Peru run by the SMA Fathers. Tickets are limited and on sale for 10. Doors open at 7pm. Contact Mrs Doherty at the College on 226 3323 for tickets or www.manchesteririshfestival.co.uk




Bidding Prayers

BIDDING PRAYERS FOR 6TH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR C

Priest: In the Beatitudes we have the description of the new humanity made in the image of the Saviour. Let us pray as a community for these spiritual qualities and be open to our Lord's holy promptings as we come with all our needs.

Reader: Blessed are those who realise their poverty and hunger in the sight of the Living God. May our society open itself to the Beatitudes by opening to God in public life. Lord hear us.

For those who struggle for justice and peace in areas of great poverty and conflict that they will not give up the fight. Bless the word of Cafod and Aid to the Church in Need and all the pro life movements. Lord hear us.

We commend to God all our sick who - Ged Mannion, Agnes Hallighan, Tommy Lynch, Elaine Farrelly, Madge O'Mohoney, Kathleen and Susan Whelan, and Margaret Towey AND all those who will receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at Mass on this World Day of Prayer for the Sick. We pray that they will be given the strength and spiritual courage to face their illnesses. Lord hear us.

Blessed are those who mourn, they shall be comforted - bless all those who mourn for those who they love who have died and we pray for those who have died this week - John Lynch, Jim Murphy, Bill Deneghey, David Arthur Baker and Joan Herring AND For all those whose anniversaries fall about this time: Joseph Mycock, (Vigil) Paddy Callaghan, , Tom Burke (11am ) John O'Brien (9am) |, Patrick and Mary Lohan, Johnnie Deignan, Michael Blackett, Leonard and Sylvia Flynn, Vera Leaffles, Margaret Walsh, Michael Dunne, John Feely, Elizabeth Cassidy and Michael Fadian and Mary Mannion (13th)

May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace Amen.

Mary is the woman of the Beatitudes and her life reflects them in every detail - may Our Lady of Lourdes help us her children to live them in daily life as we pray - Hail Mary...

Priest: O merciful and loving God - listen to the prayers of your children on this world day of prayer for the sick and answer our humble prayers which we ask of you in faith. Through Christ our Lord. Amen