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Sermon for 1 May 2011
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SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER (LOW SUNDAY) + 1st MAY 2011.+ FEAST OF THE DIVINE MERCY.

MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST.

My Dear People,

Today is what we call LOW SUNDAY - after the Highs of Easter day. It contains in this Year of A reading the account of the Apostle Thomas who had boasted that he would not believe in the witness of the others that our Lord had risen from the dead. He declared that "unless I can but my fingers in to the wounds in the hands and feet which the nails made and put my hand into the gaping wound of the lance - I will not believe."

Well - without doing either, Thomas did believe and he made the greatest act of pure faith in the four Gospels "My Lord and my God". These are the words addressed to the Risen Lord and so indeed he is, though many would want to compromise it and deny it or explain it away. In Ireland they still use this act of Thomistic faith after the Consecration as one of the Acclamations.

When I was a child, preparing for my first Holy Communion, Miss Branston taught her class to look at the Host and the Chalice when they were elevated and say those very same words - "My Lord and my God" and you must know - I still do though you cannot hear me!

Jesus chides Thomas gently for seeing and believing - but there again the others had been there and seen him when Thomas was absent. Maybe Thomas was absent because he was more depressed by the death of our Lord - who knows. But "doubting Thomas" has been his distinguishing name ever since. However - Thomas's doubt and difficulty serves us all well. We can identify with his feeling can't we? It is easier when you have seen and experienced. Thomas got there in the end. It is the tradition that he brought the Faith all the way to India.

The second event in this Easter appearance our Saviour was his first gift to them. He appeared to then through locked doors and said "Peace be with you" and he then breathed on them saying "Receive the Holy Spirit". The Spirit is like the Breath of God which breathed life in the nostrils of Adam. Here the new Adam - victorious on the Tree of Life, breathes new life into the apostles and he institutes the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. "Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven - whose sins you retain they are retained". Only God can forgive sin and he is the God-Man bestowing his authority on his infant church - and the first of the apostolic office holders (the Apostles) - the forgiveness of sin.

The Church teaches that Mortal sin can only be forgiven through an act of Perfect Contrition - sorrow out of the love of God and then Confession. Yes - even if you got general Absolution on the Titanic as it went down (as they did) you still have to Confess with your lips any Mortal sins if you survive. This is the Gift of Jesus - after all he laid down his very life" for the remission of sin" as he said many times.

The Sacrament of Penance is neglected and people lose the art of living holy lives. They think that because they are not doing any of the Seven Deadly sins they are reasonable and don’t need to go to Confession. How wrong can you be?.

When the penetrating sun beam of Christ's grace is allowed to lighten up the soul, the person sees just what a wretch they are - full of bad things that cause damage and hurt to oneself - ones loved ones and GOD!

I know it is not fashionable to say this but without regular Confession there is no growth in holiness. In fact we would be simply "coasting". Vocations are not heard because the fundamental relationship of Love, with the Loving God, in our Divine Master becomes a kind of lukewarm affair. Our Lord said sins could be retained-. Without confession how would the apostle know what to forgive or retain ? In fact when you were without a priest in the past - people confessed to each other – laypeople. Vocal confession of ones sins was seen as so necessary. (Not many people know that).

So - fly away from anyone who offers you a quick fix absolution with no Confession or telling you to confess just One Sin! They are not valid and they do not have the Bishop's approval.

Regular Confession with a good examination of Conscience is a most excellent way of progressing in the Christian life and then we will bring others to the one we love and adore, Jesus, our Risen Lord and Master who lay down his life for the remission of sin.

Pick up the leaflet outside the confessionals which has an excellent examination of conscience based on the Commandments.

Wonderful Easter !

Father Tom Connolly.

Pray for the Prince William and his new Bride Princess Katherine as they begin the life of Holy Matrimony.

ADORATION OF THE Blessed Sacrament fully restored this week. The Altar looks more splendid that ever.

DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY. Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope John Paul is being Beatified by the Pope today in Rome. AT 4PM WE ARE HOLDING AT St Kentigerns the Divine Mercy Prayers and Devotion and the veneration of the Image of the newly Blessed - John Paul II ending with Solemn Benediction - This Devotion stems from the visions Saint Faustina had in Krakow in the last Century. This is the lovely prayer one uses in the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

ETERNAL FATHER, I OFFER YOU THE BODY AND BLOOD, SOUL AND DIVINITY OF YOUR DEAR BELOVED SON OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, IN ANTONEMENT FOR OUR SINS AND THOSE OF THE WHOLE WORLD. FOR THE SAKE OF HIS SOROWFUL PASSION HAVE MERCY ON US AND ON THE WHOLE WORLD. HOLY GOD, HOLY MIGHT ONE, HOLY IMMORTAL ONE, HAVE MERCY ON US AND ON THE WHOLE WORLD.

Saint Faustina was canonised by Pope John Paul 30th April 2000. The Pope said "Where if not in the Divine Mercy can the world find refuge and the light of hope". The Polish Church in Moss lane is named "Divine Mercy".

THE PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION - SOME PEOPLE HAVE ASKED ME TO PRINT IT SO HERE IT IS:

O My Jesus, I believe that I have received your Flesh to eat and your Blood to drink because you have said and your word is true. All that I have and all that I am are your gifts and now you have given me yourself.

ROBBERY AND SACRILEGE AT ST EDWARDS On Monday the sacristy door near the WC was smashed open with a heavy implement and the thieves attempted to pull the Tabernacle off the plinth to steal it. Thanks be to God they did not get it. However they stole the big six candlesticks either side of the tabernacle and the Silver Crucifix which had been on the main Altar. I have decided to brick up this door. I have never seen it open and Michael said it was designed as a fire escape. The alarm went off but was not heard so I will have to get that fixed too!

GAPOLUNYA FOUNDATION CHARITY FUND RAISING DANCE TO COMPLETE ORPHANAGE IN CALABER, NIGERIA. SAT 14TH MAY AT SACRED HEART AND ST FRANCIS, LEVENSHULME RD, GORTON M18 7WJ. £10. AFRICAN AND CARRIBEAN FOODS AND MUSIC BY HOT PEPPER. More info phone Lydia on 613 7985

St KENTS ONLY - CATENIAN ASSOCIATION PROVINCE 17 ARE HOLDING THEIR ANNUAL MASS FOR VOCATIONS TODAY AT THE 6.30 SUNDAY EVENING MASS. LOUIS WEST – THE VICE PRESIDENT OF PROVINCE 17 AND HIS BROTHERS AND THEIR SPOUSES AND FAMILIES ARE MOST WELCOME.





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