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Message From The Parish Priest

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My Dear People,

Next Sunday is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood. It is called Good Shepherd Sunday because of the Gospel of that day. Please pray for good vocations to the Priesthood for our Diocese, especially in this coming week but all year round.

Today we have the Gospel of the reconciliation of Peter or Simon as our Lord calls him (his old name). It is significant that Jesus calls him by his pre apostolic name for in a way he lost it when he denied he ever knew Christ as he stood warming himself at the brazier outside the High priests Palace on Holy Thursday night.

The scene is set perfectly. The fruitless fishing trip - the stranger in the first light of dawn calling them to slip their nets to starboard for a catch; faithful John, the recognition of the Divine Master - the impetuous Peter, jumping into the lake half naked to greet the Lord...wonderful is it not?

You can offer Mass on the spot where this took place you know. It is called "Peter's Confession." There was a tiny and neglected chapel there until Pope Paul VI visited and he left money in his will for a proper place to be built and it is now an outside amphitheatre kind of chapel with the altar below. I have actually offered Mass there in 1986.

Here the charcoal fire is lit and the bread is warm and some fish is grilling and our Lord asks the apostles to bring some of the fish they had just caught to cook for breakfast. Imagine all this from the man whose hands had been nailed to the cross and whose body had been nearly whipped to death a day or so before.

Jesus took Peter aside and asked him THREE times if he was the one apostle WHO LOVED HIM MORE THAN THE OTHERS DID. Listen carefully. He asks him to measure his love for the Master against the other Ten apostles. One would imagine John loved Christ more than any of them. He after all stayed by the Cross with our Blessed Mary and our Lord had bestowed on him (and on us all) the motherhood of his own mother. However our Lord had not chosen Peter as the first Pope because he was a good administrator or dead reliable in every circumstance but because he could see that Peter, despite his moment of weakness, actually did have a greater love for Him than all the others. Jesus gives him the threefold Mandate to rule and to govern and to care for the sheep and the lambs.

This is the same mandate given to the Pope on his Election to the Supreme Petrine Office. He is to feed and to love and to look after the flock of Christ out of love for the Divine Master - the supreme shepherd. Oh my - how well Pope Benedict has fulfilled this Divine Mandate. How fortunate we are when other Church leaders lead their flocks up the Swanny - the Vicar of Christ, at the helm of the boat of Peter, takes us through rough storms with the faith intact. This is a God given task and the one who holds that Office must be faithful to it. Peter was. His martyrdom is predicted by Jesus straightaway. He was crucified upside down on what is now the left hand side of St Peter's Piazza in Rome and buried in the common cemetery but now his grave lies under the mighty High Altar of St Peter's Basilica where only the Pope can preside at the offering of the Holy Mass.

And so we come full circle. Always remember that Peter was asked three times in order to turn around his three fold denial. The point was not lost on Peter. He became a little agitated at the end did he not? It is a good lesson for us. The way our Lord dealt with Peter was so kindly, so pastoral, so truthful and honest and yet totally respectful of his human dignity and self worth. That is how our Lord deals with us.

God bless you all with Easter Joy,

Fr Tom Connolly

VOCATIONS SUNDAY. 25th April Good Shepherd Sunday. Next Sunday there will be a Second Collection for the Ecclesiastical Education Fund to pay for our students for the Priesthood and their studies. Please be extra kind.

The Catenian Association will be having a special Mass for Vocations at the 6.30pm Sunday evening Mass on 2nd May, next week and will serve tea and scones in the Marian Room afterwards. They are always looking for new members by the way so any of you men who would like to consider - perhaps you could have a word?

Bidding Prayers


Priest: Peter's three fold commission to feed the sheep reminds us all of the tender love of the Good Shepherd for his flock. We come therefore in confident faith to the Father in the name of Jesus for our needs and the needs our world.

Reader: As a breakfast was prepared on the shore of the sea of Galilee, our Lord was preparing to restore Simon Peter to his original dignity. We pray for all who are afraid of living near to God in friendship that they might find the true meaning of life and come to him with trust. Lord hear us.

Let us pray for those whom we call Lapsed - that in the lives of believers they may find a sign of joy and confidence in the power of the Risen Lord. Lord hear us.

For the apostles' successors in the Universal Episcopate that all the Bishops of the Church in communion with the Pope may show strong leadership to the faithful flock of Christ and rally them to follow the way of Christ. Lord hear us

For all those who earn their living by sailing the seas and especially the fishermen, that they may have a livelihood and come home to harbour safely. We pray for all Port chaplains. Lord hear us.

Those who were sick would wait for Peter's shadow to touch them and find healing from God - touch our sick who have asked us to pray for them: - Gerry Driscoll, Mary Page, Eddie Kenny, PJ Connolly, Margaret Quinn, Martin Hoysted, Ted Murphy, Francis Hinds, Fr. Pat Keane, Mgt Levy, Mary Colbert, Patrick Brett.

Lord hear us.

Our Lord descended into the place of the dead to bring the souls to heaven through the power of the Passion - bring to heaven those who have died recently: Liam Keating, Victims of the Polish Air Disaster, Margaret McGagh, Kath Brady.


For all those whose anniversaries fall about this time: Tom Connolly, Margaret Nuthall (Sunday evening ) Anne Wolfe, Margaret and Michael McDonagh, (VIGIL), Joseph Nolan, Month's Mind, Paddy Lydon, Cath Hillis.

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

Mary you are the Queen of the apostles and stood by them in those early days of the Resurrection and Ascension. Stand by us now and support us in our efforts to follow your Son. O Mary, conceived without sin. Pray for us who have recourse to thee. Hail Mary full of grace...

Priest: Hear our Paschal tide Prayers almighty and ever living God and in your mercy answer them through Christ our Lord.