Message From The Parish Priest
Message from the Assistant Priest
Last Thursday the Bishop, His Lordship Terence John Brain, invited the priests of our diocese to pray with him in Salford Cathedral. It was a truly remarkable event as about 85 priests met for an hour or so of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament, praying for our mission, and for all of you.
When Fr Connolly or Fr George or myself go into church every day, we always remember you - you are our 'bread and butter' so to speak.
Today's Gospel is a call to prayer. When the chips are down, it is good to pray. And the result of prayer? As St Paul says in today's second reading - peace! This week we are reminded of the necessity of coming close to our God, or rather, allowing him to come close to us, in prayer. And the chips are cetainly down when it comes to numbers of seminarians and others applying to the priesthood.
But we don't just pray for favours, asking for things. We pray because God is simply worthy of it. We pray too to thank him for all the many gifts that he has given us, particularly for the gift of our baptism and faith. We pray too in sorrow for our sins.
As we begin this 'Year of the Priest' we remember in a particular way to pray for priests (please!). The great 'priests priest', St John Marie Vianney (also called the Cure of Ars, the fly-infested, swampy village where he worked for 41 years as parish priest) said that the priesthood is the love of the heart of Christ. By that he meant that the priest brings Christ to people in a real way, through the sacraments. And with the decline in vocations, we need more and more people to pray for the priests that we have, and also for more priests.
This holy priest also said: 'prayer is a fragrant dew; but we must pray with a pure heart to feel this dew. There flows from prayer a delicious sweetness like the juice of very ripe grapes. The more we pray, the more we wish to pray. Like a fish which at first swims on the surface of the water, and afterwards plunges down, and is always going deeper, the soul plunges, dives, and loses itself in the sweetness of conversing with God.' And our prayers have to an extent been answered - we can thank God in a particular way for Michael Deas, of St Edward's parish (home from Valladolid and from a placement at St Edward's Lees (Oldham) ) and pray that he will persevere. But the fact is that we need more priests, so please, in this year of the priest, try and make that a particular intention.
So our prayer this year has the potential to be really powerful. I am sure that Fr C, Fr George and I will speak about the priest more over the next year, and organise some lovely things to celebrate the priesthood. But the most important service that any of us can do is to pray. 'Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while', asks Our Lord of his followers. That is also a call to us, in this Year of the Priest, to pray, and to pray for priests.
The summer holidays are upon us! Last week in St Kentigern's we had the lovely year 6 Mass, in which our eldest pupils were sent on their way with much to thank God for. We gave them a prayer book (and a book of psalms for Muslim and other non-Christian children) to use. And the St Edward's children have reached a milestone with the closure of their school, but all of them happy to be moving on, with the lower years of course relocating to the Divine Mercy. And Loreto High School is out too. So there are changes all round. Many people will be going away - please remember the parishioners who are unable to do so in your prayers, particularly the sick and the elderly, and those who are struggling in other ways. We are all part of the body of Christ, so we are all in it together. Why not make a commitment in your daily prayers also to pray for members of the parish that you have not seen for a while? The summer holidays are obviously a good time for that, especially when people of the parish are all over the continent, or even further. It would be a good thing to do.
'Come away and rest a while.' That is Our Lord's invitation. Let's take it seriously this summer, not to waste it, but to use the time to really be re-created so that we can start up again with renewed minds and hearts, ready for what he wants to give us in the months ahead.
Fr John Flynn
BIDDING PRAYERS FOR 16th Sunday of the Year B
Priest: O Lord you sent the apostles to bring to the people the saving signs about your mercy. Listen to your disciples now in their need gathered around your altar.
Reader: For your Church and especially those churches and Peoples of the Holy Land and Iraq and for their places of worship and the holy Places - protect your people O Lord and spare them from the ravages of war. Lord hear us.
For all our young people who took part in COVIVIO and others, that they may hear the message of Christ and meet him through the witness of young priests and the lay faithful apostles. Lord hear us.
For all newly ordained Priests - that the good Lord who has commissioned them may bless them with holiness and the zeal. Lord hear us.
For all in training for the priesthood; that they may persevere in faith and come to serve our Lord as his Priests and be bearers of the Divine image and power to the whole world. Lord hear us.
For all our sick: Moira McBrien, Mary Geraghty, Bridget Boyle, Marjorie Walsh, Mary Pook. Maureen Waring, Teresa Regan, Michael Connolly. Lord hear us.
We commend to God's tender mercy those hwo have departed this life in the last week: Gerard Bracegirdle, Garry Davine, Mary Farren and Rosheen Barrett...
For all those whose anniversary of death falls about this time: John Henry Sexton, Joe Moran, John Joe Lally
May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.
Mary Most Holy, Mother of the Bread of Life - pray for us all: O Mary, conceived without sin. Pray for us who have recourse tot thee. Hail Mary, full of grace...
Priest: O God our Heavenly Father, your Son sent our the Apostles on their first apostolic mission and sustained them: look with mercy on your people who come to you in their heartfelt prayer and hear and answer our prayer. Through Christ our Lord.