Message From The Parish Priest
Sunday 24th February 2008
THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT + 24TH FEBRUARY 2008 + YEAR cycle of readings.
MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST
My Dear People,
Many years ago I too sat at the well at Sychar one afternoon and relived this meeting between the Samaritan woman and our Blessed Lord by reading aloud the Gospel you have just heard. In a moment of distraction I noticed a plaque on the wall of the Chapel built over the well. It commemorated a poor priest, murdered there by terrorists a few years beforehand. But we must get on with the story.
The well is the only one in the area which would have been a public well in the times of Christ. A Church has been built over the holy spot now to commemorate the meeting and the sacred dialogue between Christ and the woman. The meaning of this meeting is of great theological importance as you can detect by the detail St John records. He tell us the time of the day - the hottest part when nobody of good repute would have been seen dead near the public well. What was the lady doing there? Well the less questions asked the better, but she had a few fellows and the one she had was not her husband as our Lord points out gently but firmly!
Our Lord wants to give her the gift of eternal life which would come through Faith in him. So Jesus begins a dialogue which has as its conclusion the conversion of the woman and her village.
It all begins with Jesus asking her- a woman - (which he was not supposed to do!) to give him a drink of water from the well. He has no cup or bucket and he is not supposed to use hers - you see Jews did not drink from cups used by the hated outsiders and heretics - the Samaritans. It would have been seen as "unclean".
Our Lord is not bound by the conventions of his time in relation to this meeting. No he tells her for her cheek (but you have no cup), that she should be asking Him for water and that he would give a fountain welling up to eternal life. "Oh - then give me this water always then and I won't have to come here anymore in this drudgery to get it from the well." She had not understood the meaning of our Lord's words. Jesus meant faith and baptism and the gift of the fountain of grace of the Holy Spirit which would well up in the heart of the Believer. However she was not far from the Truth at this point.
After settling the dispute about where one should offer worship to God - In Jerusalem - (for salvation comes from the Jews, not the Samaritans), Jesus then tells her that the time would come when men and women would worship not in this or that "Place", but in Spirit and in Truth. (In fact through Christ in the Mass, universally). Surely this lady and her community were part of the early church. She puts aside her many "partners" and follows the only man who offers her true happiness and fullness of Life, Jesus Christ our Saviour and our Lord- the Son of God.
The whole water and the well and the spring and the thirst and the washing is reminiscent of Baptism - the Adult Baptism that many would have been Twenty One days away from when this Gospel was read half way through Lent from ancient times. The new converts would hear this Gospel and be longing for their own "washing" and refreshment which would soon be theirs on Easter Vigil.
We must never forget that there are millions of people like that women who are our fellow countrymen. They too have settled for less than the truth but if they met Christ they would be open to him and receive him and bring their friends to him too. It needs he witness of us to bring them otherwise they will stay out of the feast and suffer for their loss.
This Gospel foretold the universality of the Christian Faith and the call to faith which the Church would make throughout the ages. We must never fall into a political message. We must always see ourselves as the servants of the Truth of Christ to a world which longs for Him who will set it free to love truly.
The Pope in his latest book admonishes the democracies for thinking they can decree the Law of God for Man obsolete and think it is alright. He admonishes them for their Godlessness and their pride. All this shows that the West is the woman, waiting at the well of Sychar to be set free by Christ.
I hope your Lent goes well.
God bless you all,
Father Tom Connolly
MOTHERING SUNDAY NEXT WEEK AND FLOWERS WILL BE BLESSED AT EACH MASS AND DISTRIBUTED TO THE MOTHERS TO HONOUR THEM.
WATCHING AND PRAYING HERE AT ST KENTIGERNS. Many years ago Fr. Pat Deegan introduced the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the afternoon - Mondays to Fridays. Now we have a problem. Many good folk who were regulars at watching and praying at set times have gone to their eternal reward in heaven and others have grown frail under the burden of their years and are no longer able to come. WE NEED NEW WATCHERS AND PRAYERS. The more people volunteer for half an hour per week the more we will be able to assure that a person will be in church between 2pm and 4 pm each afternoon. I am putting the FORM in the newsletter for you to fill in and say when you can watch and pray.
WHICH DAY (S)?---------------------------------
WHICH HALF HOUR?---------------------------------
PLEASE CUT OUT AND RETURN IT IN THECOLLECTION NEXT WEEK.
CAFOD FAMILY FASTDAY collection will remain open for 2 weeks. £200 so far.
MARRIAGE COURSE COMES TO AN END THIS SUNDAY FOR THE 42 COUPLES WHO HAVE ATTENDED. MAY GOD BLESS THEM ALL IN THE YEARS AHEAD. THEY COME FROM THE TWELVE PARISHES AND UNIVERSITY CHAPLAINCIES AND HALLS OF RESIDENCES OF THE UNIVERSITIES.
MOLLY'S BALL. Anne and James Cassidy are holding a Charity Ball in memory of their daughter, Molly, who died on the 14th February 2007, in aid of the Special Care Unit at the New Children's Hospital at St Mary's. Molly's Ball is being held in the Palace Hotel in Oxford Rd, Manchester on Friday 27th June 2008. The night will comprise of drinks reception with Vegas Showgirls, a Three Course Meal, a great swing band, DJ, Casino tables, raffles and much more. For further details see the poster in the notices box and or contact Anne and James on 448 1192.
CHARITY talking of charity is should be in print what I told you verbally from the altar a few weeks ago that The Entertainment Night organised by the Fermanagh Association along with Kevin Fitzpatrick for Breast Cancer Research raised £10,000. Is that not amazing in the one night in the parish Centre of St Kents? It was v well attended but I think this must be a record for us. Well done all of you.
"YOUNG, GIFTED AND GREEN..." ANNUAL IRISH MUSIC, SONG AND DANCE CONCERT - COMPERED BY JOE CASSIDY PLUS KEEGAN SCHOOL OF IRISH DANCING AT THE LOWRY THEATRE FOR FRANCIS HOUSE, HOSPICE. ON SATURDAY MARCH 8TH. TICKETS ARE £12 - £20 , Telephone 0870 787 5790 OR BOOK ON LINE :- http://www.thelowry.com
RITE OF ELECTION for adults into the church. Congratulations to Patrcik Mhlanga, Phil Clarkson and Margaret Burke who were welcomed by the Bishop at the Cathedral for the Rite of Election two Sundays ago - First Sunday of Lent. They will become full members of the Catholic Church at Easter Vigil, and so each Sunday Mass may contain a little "Scrutiny" of these candidates for baptism and Reception into Full Communion when we will have the opportunity to pray for them and listen to their consent.
Bidding prayers for 3rd Sunday of Lent in Year A (2008)
Priest: The woman at the Well Lord demonstrates the Lord's thirst for our love and his desire to give himself to us as the Living Spring of Life. We seek this refreshment now in all our needs and the needs of our world.
Reader: For us who seek and who need the fountain springing up within to eternal life - that in this holy season of Lent we may, all of us, drink deeply at the heart of Jesus our Redeemer. Lord hear us.
For the spiritual renewal of our poor country so weighed down with its social sin and its brokenness and for the children and all who suffer from this famine of the spirit that the Spirit of God may renew the face of the earth. Lord hear us.
For all people who seek the wrong things to find fulfilment, that in the sweet yoke of Christ himself they may find their freedom and their joy and life itself. Lord hear us.
For those of our community who are entering the Church this Easter - that the Good Shepherd will lead them to green pastures and that they will be faithful to Him who died for us on the Cross. Lord hear us.
For all Penitents who go to confession at this time that their sins will be acknowledged and fully confessed and forgiven. Lord hear us.
For all who are suffering bodily pain and illness and life threatening diseases - that Christ the Healer may touch them in his Mercy: Bishop Dunne of Hexham and Newcastle diocese, Vincent Corley, Tim Walker, John Francis Walsh, Father Pat Keane, Parish Priest of St Bernard's , Burnage, Mary Colbert, Betty Wallace, Donna Quinn, Joe Christie, Kevin McNulty, Kate Hopkins, Pat Creamer, Rosaleen Condon, Hugh Kelly, Bernard Murray. Lord hear us.
We pray for all who have died this week in our community that that the good Lord will bring them to the Place of light and peace: we pray for: Peggy Walsh, Michael Boyd, Mary Wilson, Betty Pierson, Michael Clavins, Mary Jennings and Kitty Higgins AND For all whose anniversaries fall about this time: Margaret Cole, (24th) Elsie Gillen, Owen Lambe, Seamus Crawford (birthday), Ann Kelly, Michael Joyce (25th), June Duffy, Peter Collins .
May their souls and the souls of all...
Mary is the star of the new evangelisation - we pray for her help in our path through Lent... Hail Mary...
Priest: Listen Lord to the prayer of the Faithful who seek, in faith, your help in their great need. Thru Christ our Lord. Amen.