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Sunday 24th June 2007

THE SOLEMNITY OF THE BIRTHDAY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST. 24TH JULY 2007. FIRST COMMUNION SUNDAY (2)

My Dear people,

Today is the birthday of our Blessed Lord's Cousin - John the Baptist. He has two feasts - his birthday and his martyrdom. Being our Lord's first cousin he was the only one of the Old Testament prophets who actually met the Saviour so long predicted.

Our Lord described him as the greatest man born of woman up to our Lord's time. He was chosen by God from his mother's womb just like our Lord. His birth was a miracle in as much as Elizabeth was supposed to be past childbearing and indeed was thought to be barren which was a curse in those days.

Zachary was his father and he was struck dumb for doubting that God could do what he was promising and his tongue was only released when he drew the instruction in the wax tablet writing frame that his new son was to be called "John" as the Angelic Messenger had instructed. Indeed he was a child of destiny and his whole life developed in a way which allowed him to prepare the way of the Lord - the Messiah.

He was the one who first spoke the words we say at Mass as we gaze upon the Consecrated Host "THIS IS THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD." The we say the words of the Centurion "Lord I am not worthy..."

These things fill us with awe as we contemplate the life of the precursor of Jesus. His life was a tough one. He was destined to be an instrument of God from his childhood. He even leapt for joy in his Mother's womb when Our Blessed Lady's greeting reached Elizabeth's ears. As the Blessed Mother, bearing Christ within her, got near to her cousins House and gave the greeting - Elizabeth felt the infant John in her womb jump for joy at the presence of God in Mary. Elizabeth cried out in prophesy - "Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord - for as soon as your greeting reached my ears the child within me leapt for joy". She added "Blessed is she who believed what was revealed to her by the Lord".

All this happened at the Visitation in En Karim and you can still visit the spot today. It is a very holy place and you can feel the presence of the blessed four still there. There is Mary and Jesus in her womb, and Elizabeth with John in her womb and the baby cousins greeting one another.

John was born for Jesus to be proclaimed and died a martyr's death at the hands of cruel Herod. The two babies in the womb remind us too of the reality of human life in the womb having the dignity of a human person. We read in the week about the number of abortions going up last year from 183,000 to 190.000. Imagine all those little Johns and Jesus' being pulled out from a mother's womb and swilled down the sluice or worst still put in the furnace. Our country has never been the same since 1967 and millions of little people - given a life by God have been destroyed - never to make their debut on to the stage of this wonderful world. I bet they won't be "pro- choice" !!!

Ah well. That is another matter but one which will not go away. You cannot annually cull 190,000 babies without grave moral destruction in a human community. It is the unspoken of but terrible evil going on every day in our midst ,and human society pays for this evil daily. Look around you if you don't believe me.

But today we celebrate a BIRTH and what a birth and what a Man. John - help us to welcome Jesus and prepare the way of the coming of God's Kingdom on this earth of ours. Amen

God Bless,

Father Tom Connolly


Would folk please note that next Saturday Mass will be at 10.am, not the usual time, for we are attending the priestly ordination of Rev. Simon Stamp at Salford Cathedral later that morning.

Life Sunday 1st July. On the Sunday after this there will be a collection in envelopes for the Life organization for the Linacre Centre - the Catholic Research Body on Ethics. This is the Bishops of England and Wales initiative and we must support it.

Brendan Forkan's months mind Mass last Friday. The Collection for Francis House raised 550.

Mr O'Keefe's class today make their First Holy Communion. We welcome the parents and families of these dear children and we know that they receive a great blessing today.

St Edwards children make their First Holy Communion next Sunday with Father Flynn.

Holy day of Obligation on 29th June Friday SS Peter and Paul . You must attend Mass on this day.

World Youth Day with the Pope and 1 Million Youth in Sydney 2008 - Please come to a meeting re this at 8pm on Monday 2nd July or Friday 6th July in the Social Club at St Kentigerns.




Bidding Prayers

PRIEST: John heralded the Lord's presence in our world and preparted the way by calling the people to a more sincere prayer. We turn to God in trust for all our needs.

Reader: John called those who were practising injustice not to murder, not to extort, to be contented with their wages. Deliver us from the violence of within our nation and the violence of our streets. Lord hear us

John beheld the Lord and pointed the way to him and John's followers became the followers of Christ his Lord - raise up many who will listen to voice of God today and make them eager to do God's holy will in their lives. Lord hear us.

John proclaimed Justice - we pray for the nations who are at war internally and with outsiders and especially our own armed forces that they may restore justice and return home safely. Lord hear us.

We pray for all our dear children making their first Holy Communion today that they will always be friends of Jesus. Bless their families. Lord hear us.

For the civil authorities who so often pursue paths contrary to the Truth revealed by God - that they be more conscience led in the body Politic. Lord hear us.

For the sick who have asked us to pray for them: Sylvia Cummings, Stevan Tivnan, Eileen Egan, Bernard Murray, Elizabeth Mallett, and Sheila O'Keefe. We also add those who are victims of substance abuse.

Lord hear us.

For those who have been called by God to Eternal Life: Carmine Rizzo, Mario Miniarchii. Bridie Kilcummins, Elaine Farrelly and Joan Daly

AND

For all those whose anniversaries fall now: Jack Grady (Months Mind), Paddy Kennedy, Brian Shenton, John Silk, Michael McHugh, Margaret Coffey, Ellen Loran and Margaret Howard.

May their souls and the souls of all the...

Mary is the Morning Star heralded the Lord Jesus in our midst - may she pray for us her children ...Hail Mary.

Priest: On this feast of the great John the Baptist we ask you Lord to hear and answer our heartfelt prayers which we make through Christ our Lord. Amen.