Celtic Cross

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Message From The Parish Priest

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Sunday 18th March 2007


My Dear People,

Well, it is Mothering Sunday and I impart my blessing on all the mothers who are reading this parish newsletter. We all owe our mothers so much for carrying us for nine months and then all that sweat they shed giving birth to us and all that love and devotion they gave us along with their husbands when we were little and helpless. Who cannot respect and love their mum? This day always falls near enough the feast of the Mother of all Mothers - the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary when her single "Fiat voluntas tua " (be it done unto me ) brought her into the realm of being a mother in the virginal conception of her Divine Son.

Today we will be blessing flowers at the main Masses until they run out and giving them to the mothers of our community to take home as a keepsake of just how much our Mother the church respects your gift and vocation. Remember that on one else can be the mother that you are to your children.

This Fourth Sunday of Lent we have a wonderful Parable of our Lord that has come to be known as the Prodigal Son. In a way it could be called the Parable of the Prodigal Father. It is the father in the story who is prodigal with his love and forgiveness of the son.

The son had done the unthinkable by asking his dad for what he was going to get in the Will. He gets the dosh and clears off - leaving the Holy Land and living it up amongst pagans. You can tell this because they were keeping pigs which were anathema to the Jewish religion. Not only was he in a "distant country" but he was looking after unclean animals and therefore was breaking a number one taboo. The way he spent his new money was not nice either - debauched he was.

His motive was not the purest when he decided to "return home". He thought that at least as a servant in his father's house he would be better off and that was true. However - still "a long way off" (in more ways than distance) the father came to him running and kissed him and embraced him, so glad was he that his son was alive and well even though he was a bit poorer. The father was really good wasn't he and even when he had to deal with the ever good brother the father was full of kind words to the eldest too trying to persuade him to love his younger brother again.

This story tells us the mind and the heart of God towards the sinner. It comes from our Lord's lips and he is God made flesh so it is accurate and utterly true - this is how God is to the sinner who returns. But my dear people, the son had to return and take the first step on the road to recovery. He had to turn to the Father and return to the father's house and confess what he had done.

So do we. We have to confess what we have done and especially if it was grave. Do not attend any Penance services that purport to be a sacramental celebration when there is no confession of all your sins. You cannot be told to "just choose one sin to confess". It is not valid and does not have the authority of the Bishop and sins are not forgiven. Also, so called General Absolution is only for people who are going down in a sinking ship or other such disasters. One must confess each and all grave sins and be absolved individually by a priest. That is what this parable means.

The prodigal son did not get from his father forgiveness on the cheap, but surely the son's heart was made even more open to the father's love by the wonderful understanding of his dad?

Our Lord said on Easter Day "Whose sins you forgive - they are forgiven." "God the Father of Mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son, has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." These are the sacramental words of absolution spoken over the penitent by the priest after the confession and act of Contrition. May the proper and lawful celebration of this Sacrament indeed bring us prodigals - Pardon and Peace just like it did for the prodigal son.

Happy Confession and Easter duties my good people.

Father Tom Connolly