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Message From The Parish Priest

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Sunday 27th January 2008



My Dear People,

The Marriage Course begins today at 2.30pm in the Marian Room of our parish Centre. All the couples marrying in the twelve parishes of our deanery and more besides who are marrying abroad will be starting the course. Pray for them. They are so brave, starting off together and putting total trust in each other when marriage is under such pressure of negative opinion. People now refer to "partners" as though it was the same as a spouse and it ain't is it? However - that is another story. They will continue each Sunday afternoon for five weeks in total and at the end I would hope that they have more reasons for marrying than they do now! Our Lord will bless them with a faithful love and he has given them the power of the special Sacrament of matrimony to assist them in their life long union.

"Repent and believe the Gospel for the kingdom of God is very close!" - thus spoke the Word made man at the very beginning of his public Ministry.

The evangelist shows how right was the that prophesy concerning the Messiah's origins in that he came from that part of Galilee that was in a "deep shadow - the Galilee of the nations" - near to the borders of those who did not really believe in the true God of Israel. Perhaps it was a sign from our Lord that his mission was to bring the scattered people of the world out of the darkness of unbelief to the knowledge and love of the One and True God.

Straightaway our Blessed Lord begins to build his team. The apostles were the first bishops and they were carefully chosen to be the witnesses closely associated with the Saviour and indeed the recipient of his secret and his true identity as the only Son of God.

The fact that two sets of apostles are brothers is amazing or is it? There are priests in this diocese who come from families where there are three priests and two nuns from the one house. The church Catholic has all the hallmarks of a human family you know. After all the Vicar of Christ is called Holy "Father" is he not? The intimacy, love and friendships which exists in the universal Church and binds it together is tangible in holy places like the parish on Easter and Christmas, Lourdes, Rome, etc. Even the Blessed Virgin's best title is "Mother". In Mexico, in Guadalupe said she said "But I am your mother". You see how things are?

So when Jesus called Peter and Andrew, James and John we are seeing the elements of the future church being laid out. Leaving their father they left the mending of the nets ( a daily task) and the catching of the fish and "FOLLOWED HIM". "I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN" Jesus told them.

The Priest is a fisher of men. Last week I witnessed a lad who had left his Catholic faith to become a Moslem and I wanted to throw out a big hook to catch him and draw him back into the shoal which is Christ. I was upset for days that a young man should reject Christ for another. That is how it should be? We must all have a thirst for men and women's souls you know. We should be eager to save them and to draw them back for the pit. What a terrible waste of a life if a man gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his own soul.

Our Lord wanted to build up his team to begin his proclamation of the Kingdom. He chose not to do it alone but chose "The Twelve" as they were known and to them he revealed many things.

He still continues to choose and to raise up parents and teachers, priests and bishops, catechists and the married to announce the kingdom present in our world. It appears at times very weak in the face of the cold blast of anti Christian legislation but we will withstand that opposition - and the powerful voices will all have to shrivel when their fruits are seen to be rotten. Let us stand serenely with Christ and allow him to use us in whatever way to further his Kingdom in his Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

God bless you all,

Father Tom Connolly

CANDLEMAS DAY "The Presentation" of our Lord in the Temple is the 2nd February is Candlemas day and candles will be blessed at the Saturday morning Mass 11.30. (Midday at St Edwards). The feast of St Blaize is lost this year because of the Fourth Sunday of the Year but the blessing of throats will take place at the end of the morning Mass . This feast of the Light of the World being Presented in the Temple is the beginning really of Spring in ways other than simply Nature for Christ Himself is the Light who enlightens all , without whom we have no growth but only darkness and shadow.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE HUMAN FERTILISATION AND EMBRYOLOGY BILL The Bishop wants us to write to our MP. The address is Sir Gerald Kaufman, The House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. At the back of church there is a sheet from the Archbishops and Bishops guiding you as to what is at stake. Follow that as best you can and write in your own words.

(St Kents only) Readers Rotas are in sacristy - please collect.

OUR LADY OF LOURDES 150th ANNIVERSARY.The Pope has granted a Plenery indulgence to all who having made confession and communion pray before the image of the Blessed Virgin of Lourdes between the 2nd February - 11th February. I will make sure we have an image of our Lady of Lourdes in order to gain this Indulgence in both places.

The Vigil Mass is being serviced by one of the classes from St Kentigern's School.

MARTIN BOWNES IS 80 TODAY (Sat) and Ann and the family are all attending the Vigil Mass with him to celebrate his birthday - well done. And a welcome to you all.

Bidding Prayers

Bidding Prayers for Third Sunday 08.

Priest: With call of the apostles we all feel the need to respond to our Lord's calling to us to follow him in whatever vocation God has given us. We bring to the throne of Divine Mercy the needs we have and the needs of the whole world.

Reader: We pray for many more generous and youthful hearts to experience the joy and vigour of Christ's call to a priestly or consecrated life Vocation - the calling to Christian Marriage - and all the different ways in which Christ calls us to build up his Body, the Church, on earth. Lord hear us.

For all those who have to leave father and mother and lands for the sake of progress for themselves and their families - comfort the exile, welcome the stranger, lead all to a safe harbour and to our heavenly home. Lord hear us.

For the cause of Christian Unity in this Octave of Prayer for the unity of all Christians; may the Conversion of St Paul help us never to underestimate the power of God's grace to bring back the stray and to heal the brokenness of human sin and division - may there be One flock and One Shepherd under the supreme pastoral office of the Papacy - the focus of unity. Lord hear us.

For our First Communion Candidates and their parents and teachers - that they may grow in the love of Jesus, listening to him speaking to them in the Scriptures and at School in the Religious education lessons. May they children who live the teaching of Christ. Lord hear us.

For all our sick and those who care for them that the good Lord touch them through our pastoral care and the ministration of the sacraments: John Hopkins, Mary Colbert, Michael Boyd, Nora Booth, Peggy Walsh, Elizabeth Wallace, Kitty Higgins, Patrick Cahill. Lord hear us.

We commend to the loving Mercy of our Saviour the souls of those who have departed this life: Shiela Delaney Michael Connolly, Mary Murphy, Gerry Darlington, Mary O'Dwyer, Anthony Davies


All those whose anniversaries occur about this time: Mary King, Mary Cleary, Jack Grady, Ines Iaconianni, Maria Arata Turco, Patrick O'Brien, James Fitzgerald, Dennis O'Sullivan, Michael Sharley and John Morris.

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

Our Lady is the Purest of Creatures and the House of God, the tower of Ivory - may she pray for us her children now: Hail Mary...

Priest: Oh Lord and Loving Father, see your family gathered around this Eucharistic Table of your Son who founded the church on the foundation of the apostles and hear and answer our prayers. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.