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Message From The Parish Priest

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Sunday 10th February 2008

FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT + 10TH FEBRUARY 2008. + 150th YEAR OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN APPEARING IN LOURDES.

MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST

My Dear People,

Lent has come and this afternoon we begin the five weeks of Sunday Lent Devotions with the STATIONS OF THE CROSS and BENEDICTION at 4pm. What a sacrifice to make on a cosy Sunday afternoon when you have just got into that Match or the Sunday Paper and you are looking forward to may be even a nap! Show your mettle now and get up and come and spend half an hour with the good Lord on his way to the Cross. The devotion is simple and straightforward. We walk with the Christ on the Via Crucis and so we will meditate on His saving Passion which demonstrated his supreme love for the human race.

Look at the Genesis reading today and tell me if the nature of sin has changed. All sin is a rebellion of pride against God and a refusal to serve Him who made us from the clay of the earth. We do not believe God. We find the fruit of the tree of life attractive and luring and doubt the restriction God places on us to NOT DO certain things under the pain of death. Sin is DOING THEM and spiting our Heavenly Father. All sins - personal and the cosmic ones like Hitler and Stalin come from the same origin. "I will not serve". The Devil has a big part to play in our Fall and he had a big part in our Lord's death. John tells us that "Satan entered Judas" and he went out into the darkness from the Upper Room to betray Him who was his Master and close Friend. Man always tries to substitute his own Rules for God's Rules. It is called Pride and it is the root of all sins- one of the deadliest. If we refuse service of God we end up serving the Opposition!

Now, our Lord, on our behalf, as Head of the human race and the Second Adam - to the fight comes and takes on Satan. Satan is testing Him to see if he is any different than the rest of men. Satan did not have the knowledge that God had become Man. However he did recognise the sinless one and his blessed mother as creatures totally different that all others born so far.

The Temptations of Christ in the wilderness are all temptations to draw our Lord away from the path of the Royal Road of the Cross. But our Lord answers Satan with scripture and routs him. Angels appear to minister to Jesus so terrible was that fight with Satan on our behalf.

Who can know the inner working of the heart and mind and soul of our Divine Saviour as he took on Satan? Jesus needed the angels to minister to him for he was left utterly drained and exhausted- bodily and spiritually and the devil goes off to return at the appointed hour. What is that hour? Well - it is when Satan enters the soul of Judas.

We cannot escape that struggle and in Lent we take upon ourselves that struggle more intensely. Do not be put off by human frailty. God is Strong and Holy and will be with us. Our Lady too is our true Mother and she will encourage us. She scared Satan off during one of the appearances to Bernadette in Lourdes by a glance. She will certainly assist us, her children in this the 150th anniversary of that blessed visitation to Bernadette.

Have a good Lent.

Father Tom Connolly


NATURAL FERTILITY CONTROL. Helenena Turska will be giving the Marriage Preparation Talks today and this Sunday at 2.30 in the Parish Centre Marian Room. Any couples or individuals interested in finding out more about this natural method of spacing children - consistent with the teaching of the Church are welcome. Just turn up. Simon and Helen Leach will also share their experience of Christian Marriage.

AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED APPEAL TODAY

FAMILY FAST DAY this Friday 15th February. The envelopes are in the porch. The idea is that you sacrifice a meal or some other item that day and what you save - give to Cafod. I will leave the appeal open for a few weeks.

News from the Bishop's Desk. Father Simon Stamp is to be the Bishop's Secretary. Father Kay is taking over from Fr. Mulheron as Financial Secretary. Fr. Lasia finishes as Judicial Vicar to take over the Chaplincy to HM Prison - Forest Bank. Fr. Chris Dawson will take over the Judicial Vicar's Post, Fr. John Marsland as new Rector of the Seminary in Ushaw. Canon Denis Clinch celebrates 50 years of Priesthood this year.

BEDA EXPERIENCE is a retreat for older men at the college in Rome to help you discern if God is calling you to the Priesthood, 19 -28 March. See one of the clergy if interested.

DISCERNMENT WEEKEND 30TH MAY - 1ST JUNE at Ushaw Seminary, Co. Durham if you are thinking of the Priesthood as a vocation. See the clergy if interested.

CATHOLIC FELLOWSHIP FOR THE HANDICAPPED. WILL BE CELEBRATING 50TH ANNIVERSARY AT THORNLEIGH COLLEGE, BOLTON ON MAY 31ST AT 2PM. You Are invited - phone Jean Rutherford on 787 7688.

WALSINGHAM PILGRMAGE THIS YEAR IS SATURDAY 24TH MAY. SEE JOHN MARTIN ON 653 7284.

LADYEWELL PILGRIMAGE SATURDAY 19TH SEPT. AT 2PM LED BY MGR. MARK DAVIES V.G.

THE COLUMBAN FATHERS APPEAL IN OUR DIOCESE LAST YEAR RAISED 47,000 IN 79 PARISH APPEALS.

PICK UP THE LENTEN MESSAGE FROM POPE BENEDICT FROM THE PORCH AS YOU LEAVE MASS TODAY.




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