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Message From The Parish Priest

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My Dear People,

Today the Holy Fatther inaugurates the Year of St Paul, the great apostle who received his commission directly from Christ himself who changed his name from Saul to Paul. He began as a persecutor of the Church and after his conversion became its great Teacher. His Letters form a huge part of the Revelation of the New Testament and his Letter to the Romans contains the whole of the Christian Doctrine concerning salvation, human Nature, the Divine and Human nature of Jesus - the interpretation of history and the understanding of the role of suffering in the Christian life. He explains life after death, the final Resurrection and the nature of heavenly bliss. There is nothing he does not explain for the 21st Century.

I was recently reading about the Birmingham Arena Concert of Neil Diamond. The great star had a total sell out as he did at the MEN. The who stadium was static and sang along with "Sweet Caroline" etc and even did the Mexican wave around the stadium To say the crowd of fans was enthusiastic considering they were mostly in their late 50s or early 60s, would be an understatement. At the end of two hours Neil Diamond sang a song about God. "Put your hands in the air with me!" proclaimed Neil. Guess what? Ten thousand sets of arms and hands went down like a lead balloon. Neil carried on sing "I'm a man of faith" with a look of innocence on his face and 10,000 sat sown in their seats for the first time in two hours. Some folded their arms defiantly just to show their refusal and made a face as though he was chewing a wasp. Neil Diamond persisted "I am a man of God" as the crowd of baby boomers stared back accusingly.

Now - why I am I saying this? Well - it is a parable of our culture. God is not simply not believed in - even to raise his name or subject in public is offensive in a way that is extraordinary. This was not the world even St Paul began his work in. he had the Jewish Diaspora to begin with and then would fan out from there and the pagans had worshipped false Gods with names like Apollo and Zeus and Diana - not NO GOD like the crown in the Midland Arena.

The task is greater now and new ways are happening in the Church to be the leaven on the dough and the salt in the food - small but not insignificant. The old lady praying before her ikons was the winner in the Soviet Union - not Brezhnev and the KGB.

Saint Paul did a wonderful job and was martyred in Rome around the year AD64 at the same persecution Peter gave his lifeblood in - Nero's reign. We have a worse than Nero now. The secularistion as entered men's souls and their minds. Those in power are determined to change values forever and create the "new man" of their atheistic and secular vision and the fruits are deepy rotten and we are witnessing them now as we live through these times.

The newly Ordained Father Markin is here with us for the Vigil Mass to say one of his "first Massess" and I am thankful that he chose to come to England to do this great service. He spent time here doing English a few years ago and then spent some time as a Deacon with Father Francis Wadsworth where he is staying and offering Masses there is St Anne's Parish, Ashton on the actual 29th. He is the fruit of the Faith of the Polish nation which prospered and grew to great good ness and holiness despite a hateful and unjust regime. It produced the Great Pope John Paul for us all. Now Father Marcin faces a new challenge in Poland - for Poland not to become like the rest of Europe - ex Catholic and ex Christian. He is so very welcome and we can receive his blessing and kiss his newly anointed hands after the Mass of the Vigil. Think of the divine blessings and graces which are going to come forth from those anointed hands of a priest and know why we kiss them. You are in a way kissing Christ's own hands.

We also have other guest s from that part of Europe which was under the communist yoke - Paul and Marci Kovaks. They are two teenage brothers and are from Pecs in Hungary. Their parents lived in our parish for a year and we are friends. Under the Communists every Catholic school bar two was suppressed and yet now they are free and their Catholic school is better than ours in as much all the pupils attending actually are attending Mass Catholics !! So after 40 years of downright persecution and suppression the Church in Hungary has come out of the permafrost and its fruits and young Catholics coming from Christian life Couples who create Christian family life. How much we need that. The faith has become so depleted here that we need a new injection don't we?

Well - Cardinal Newman saw all this coming and told the seminarians of Oscott Seminary, Sutton Coldfield, in the 1860s that they were facing a world unknown to Paul the Apostle and a far more difficult one where the warp and weft of society was built on practical unbelief. Utilitarianism and Logical Positivism was new religion and so history rolled onto the bloodbaths of the 20th Century.

Now - not to depress you but to enlighten you - let us end on the clear note that our Lord's Sacred Heart and our Lady's Immaculate Heart will triumph always and not just at the end time but now as we live our lives - God is winning for he is the Risen and Victorious one and those who oppose him will end by bending their knee.

Father Tom Connolly

MARIAN SHAWE. Corner stones rang to say thankyou for our parishioner doing the job of collecting the free butties for Cornerstones. Well done Marian. St Kents got some Brownie Points with Sister Lucy!


Well folks I want to tell you that Bishop Brain has appointed me to be the Dean of St Ambrose Deanery to replace Mgr Corcoran who moves to Clitheroe. Other appointments. Fr Stphen Doyle to St Aidens and Oswald, Royton. Fr Anthony Dutton Pp to St Peter in Chains, Mill Hill. Fr Michael Howrth PP to St Mary Mag and St Augustine, Bromley. Fr Kieran Mullarkey, Priest in Charge St Peter's Middleton. Fr John Dale to PP os St Mary's Oswaldtwistle. Fr Stephen Parkinson to Priest in Charge, St Peter and Paul Pendleton and Salford Univ Chaplain - more next week.

SAINT PATRICK. Do you like the new statue of St Patrick? In memento of the great Apostle of the Irish from whom so many of us descend. It is on the window sill on the Sacred Heart side.

Bidding Prayers

Bidding Prayers for the SS Peter and Paul Solemnity 2008.

Priest: On this great jubilee of St Paul's call to be an Apostle, we turn to Christ who built his Church on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.

Reader: Simon, the fisher man was called by you to be a fisher of men - call others today to share his great task. Lord hear us.

When the disciples feared that the ship was sinking. You, O Lord commanded the waves and the sea became calm and they found themselves in a safe harbour - protect your Church in the midst of all its troubles and give her the peace that the world cannot give. Lord hear us.

After the resurrection you gathered your Church around Peter, gather all Christians into the unity of the Holy Father's Pastoral Office of unity and love. Lord hear us.

You filled Paul the Apostle with the knowledge and love of you - fill those who teach the faith - parents and catechists and priests - with that great spirit of love and knowledge which will communicate the beauty of your Divine Face. Lord hear us.

For those young people and clergy and especially our own young people with Fr Flynn, travelling to Sydney this week for the Youth Gather of the World with Pope Benedict- may they all have a renewed faith through this encounter with the Vicar of Christ. Lord hear us.

We commend to God all our dear students undergoing examinations that they may do justice to their studies and grow in knowledge and wisdom. Lord hear us.

For all those who are sick and are in need of Christ's Comforting and healing touch: Betty Wallace, Agnes Halligan, Kevin McNulty, Pat Creamer, Kevin Devanny, Mary Greenhalch, Christine Liveney, Alice McCarthy, Mario Mini-archie. Lord hear us...

We commend to God those who have recently died: Baby Luke Suggett, Patrick Keary, John Mitchell

AND For all those souls whose anniversary of death occurs about this time: Neil Brennan, Harry Duggan, Bridget Hopkins, Johnny Byrne, Nelly Tarpy, Sean Hyde (Months Mind at St Edwards) Mabel Coffey, Batty Judge, John Scannell, Michael O'Malley and Kevin Kelly

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

O Mary Conceived without sin. R/ Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

O Mary- Queen of the Apostles - pray for the holders of the Apostolic Office and us all - Hail Mary, full of grace...

Priest: On this day Lord God - we celebrate the great gift of Peter and Paul to your People - through their intercession in the kingdom of Heaven - help us to come to you in faith for all our needs. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.