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Sermon for 19 September 2010




My Dear people,

To the very end the media searched for negatives on this visit. Cardinal Casper's remark about GB being like a "third world" country was to a mission magazine and he was referring to the state of the nation in terms of the need of Missions - not poverty. Well - in the end the Media left behind somewhat their preoccupation with the only issues that interest them - the liberal agenda - that is: abortion, condoms, civil partnerships and women clergy and whatever!!

His Holiness came and was received with great joy and the dignity of a State visit enhances this whole encounter with the people of our nation. When he was greeted and welcomed by the H.M. The Queen at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, I was reminded of the historical significance of this meeting. Holyrood means Holy Cross. Behind the Queen's Official Residence is the ruin of the Abbey of Hollyrood. This was built by the Scottish King David in the 12th Century for the Augustinian Monks to pray for the wellbeing of the Royal Family.

It was here that Mary Queen of Scots, that eminent Catholic Queen, executed by Elizabeth I, had the bitter Protestant mob murder her Carmelite priest chaplain as he was finishing offering the Holy Mass for the Royal Household. They reckon you can still see the blood stains on the floor boards!! (I could not see but it was a cloudy day). What a historic moment and the Queen made the Pope so warmly welcome.

Read the Pope's words carefully. His message is direct and straight forward. He has had a lot to say about "Education" and what makes for the education of the human person. It reveals a very different approach than the one we have become used to which is almost payment by results. Our school children throughout the diocese of Salford and indeed every diocese in the country tuned into to the Pope's meeting with the school children representatives of our country at St Mary's College, Twickenham. Quite a few students from Loreto High School and St Peter's High, Belle Vue will be present. (I write this on Thursday).

Although this is a State Visit it is also a Pastoral visit. Pope Benedict comes to us as Vicar Of Christ on earth - "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church" our Lord said. Peter was the first Pope. Pope Benedict comes to us to shepherd us and encourage us and teach us and strengthen and support his Bishops. He is the Supreme Pontiff (=Bridge Builder). He is our "Holy Father" and the Father of all Christians. When he was elected he asked us to pray for him that he would defend the Flock of Christ against the Wolves. I feel the same way about you, my dear flock. I see the devil trying to get his claws in and I pray for you all everyday and offer the Holy Mass for you and for those who are no longer with us.

The Opening Speech of the Pope referred to our Christian history and the many good things we have given to the world because of the Christian faith of our people. He warned against the lack of faith leading to new forms of cruelty and spiritual blindness. We see proof of this don't we in the poor care for children whose lives are in danger. They are left to suffer in a way that did not happen before. I am aware of the poor youth who never even meet their dads and the official attempts to corrupt our youth with false sex- Ed in our schools and so much more. I try to teach you and guide you and encourage you so that we will all make our way to the Kingdom of Heaven. I have to answer for you before the Judgement Seat of Christ when I die so there!!

By the time you read this the Pope will have or will be about to Beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman. His bust is on the altar today. He will be now Blessed John Henry Newman.

God Bless our Pope.

Father Tom Connolly

GOLDEN WEDDING Tom and Mary Colbert celebrate their 50 years of married bliss on 17th September and the Pope has sent his Blessing upon them on a lovely Parchment. Mary is not too well at the moment so I have Presented them with he Papal Blessing in their home and said the Prayer of Thanksiving for Fifty Years of Marriage.

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