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Sermon for 12 August 2012
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Nineteenth Sunday of the Year B 12th August 2012.

MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST.

My Dear People,

I got back from Lourdes on Monday night having prayed for you all many, many times and particularly I prayed for those who would need my prayers the most known only to Our Lord and our Lady so ther you are. I hope you feel the benefit in tne coming weeks.

As I knelt or sat in front of the holy Grotto at the hope in the limestone rock about 12 feet above the ground level where Our Lady - the Immaculate Conception - appeared eighteen times to Saint Bernadette, I could not fail to notice the sea of humanity constantly streaming in a line maybe three deep, heading through the grotto area. The rock forms a very inward shape which allows you to actually walk in and under the space our Lady stood, smiling at the little saint as she reached for her rosary and speaking gently with her and praying with her the "Glory Be" on the rosary. In heaven of course our Lady would not say prayers like the Our Father would she? She is present in the kingdom now outside time and space . (Think about it!)

No, I was so moved by the sight of all those people streaming through 24/7 whatever the weather. Every kind of person is there. Some young dad and mums with kids - babes in arms, children who were handicapped, teenagers, frail elderly, strong elderly, clergy, nuns, folk who can hardly walk- others in wheelchairs and machines which carry them. One thing they all have in common is this...their hands reach out to stroke, hold and touch the holy rock where the Immaculate One stood. The rock is worn smooth by the touch of millions of hands and lips kissing it since 1858. The rock is a very Biblical image of security . The psalms describe "the Lord, my rock". Jesus says to Peter - "Simon, you shall be called Peter and upon this rock (it means the same) I will build my church." Indeed - our Lady Immaculate asked Bernadette to tell the priests to build a church on the spot and to bring their people in procession and to wash her face in the spring she pointed to and for us to wash and pray for sinners and do penance.

All this goes on today. As you go through the grotto you still can hear and then view the gushing well of water from the spring which Bernadette discovered at our Lady's direction. This is called "Lourdes Water and whilst you are a pilgrim you wash your face in that water and even better - wait in the Q and get totally immersed head to toe in it with a prayer. It is a very moving experience I can tell you - naked before your God. ( All very modest I promise)

All this today - and 4 and half million pilgrims a year come at our Lady's request to "come in procession". The processions take place every day with the torchlight at 9 pm and the Blessed Sacrament Procession with the sick to be blessed by the Montranced Eucharistic Lord - held by a Bishop - successor of the Apostles at 5pm.

Many smaller processions too approach. We as the Salford diocese led by our Bishop Brain - all 600 of us processed to the Grotto one morning for Holy Mass at 8.30am. We then we processed to the Baths. We gathered behind our Banner for the Torchlight procession with the Rosary and the hymns to Our Lady. One day it was Bishop Brain and us leading the Blessed Sacrament Procession. Our Seminarians did the serving too.

The saving Mysteries are celebrated everywhere. Hours and hours of confessions every day in every language are heard and forgiveness and reconciliation administered to those seeking this and most do. Everyday huge numbers gather for the offering of the Holy Mass in various Basilicas built for size. The Stations of the Cross are life size and really high and tough and take two hours - Bishop Brain was leading us in prayer.

All this is, because our Lady was sent by God to a little shepherdess from a very hard up household one morning on February 18th 1858. Within three years the Local Bishop had investigated an approved that the vision was a Divine intervention - the first church was indeed built and it is now one of the three, built over the spot and grand they are too, and the People of God poured there at their Immaculate Mother’s invitation.

Yes, and it is still going on. When you go on pilgrimage many things happen on the way - on the journey, when you are there - at the various things you do - on the casual encounter over a teapot etc. God still speaks to us in a mighty way believe me. It imitates the very journey of the soul through this life span God has given us to our eternal home in heaven. We experienced a bit of that journey in a concentrated form last week. Our Lady as a true Mother of the Church brings us all together on our journey in all our different lives and vocations - ill and healthy, young and old, from every race - there we see the family of God gathered in a truly Catholic way. I honour Our LADY OF Lourdes and thank her for the genius she is in bringing her children together to receive her Divine Son so wonderfully and so discretely.

I have brought back a load of Lourdes water but it had to come by bus so I will put it our when it arrives and you take some sparingly won't you and bless your sore parts with it and especially your senses and pray the Hail Mary as you do. I hope more will come to Lourdes next year from our Deanery - our local parishes and we can all stay together in one hotel then.

God Bless,

Father Tom Connolly

HOLIDAY OF OBLIGATION THE ASSUMPTION OF OUR LADY INTO HEAVEN ST KENTIGERNS . WEDNESDAY, 15TH AUGUST. MASSES AT 9 30AM AND 7PM.

AT ST EDWARDS VIGIL MASS AT 6.30PM OF THE ASSUMPTION ON TUESDAY EVENING 14TH AUGUST : THIS IS A FAREWELL MASS FOR ANDREA, THE FRATERNAS OUT-GOING SUPERIOR AND A WELCOME TO THE ARRIVAL OF THE NEW SUPERIOR – MYRIAM HERRERA. WEDNESDAY MASS 9.30AM.





Bidding Prayers

BIDDING PRAYERS FOR NINETEENTH SUN B.

Priest : Christ heals the sick and feeds the hungry, He continues to provide for our needs as we come to Mass to nourished. We seek that food which Christ gives and which lasts for eternal life.. We pray for our needs and the needs of our world.

We pray for the church - called to be the Body of Christ on earth that we may proclaim by our way of life He who is the Bread of Life. Lord in your mercy. We pray for all those involved in the Olympics and the Para Olympics Games in London - that as the world marvels at the athletic excellence we may be reminded o that our body is made in the image of God made Man and to always safeguard it and be moderate and chaste. Lord in your mercy.

For all those fellow Christians deprived of the Mass and therefore the Bread of Life, the Lord's risen Body. Watch over them Lord in their isolation and bring them freedom again. Lord in your mercy.

We pray for those people’s ravished by plague and famine and flooding - especially in the Philippines that our welfare agencies provide them with help and compassion. Lord in your mercy.

We pray for our young people that in a world which promotes lifestyles and attitudes contrary to Christ's Divine teaching they may hold on to what is truly valuable - the love of Christ. Lord, in your mercy.

We pray for the sick and those who care for them that their dignity and value be assured by our love and care: Fr McGarry, Sylvia Cummings, Tom and Brenda Lynch. Lord in your mercy..

For all who have died recently that they may see the face of Christ in Heaven: Mary Dugdale, Ronald Dugdale, Martin Murray, Francis Walsh VIGIL (MONTH'S MIND MASS), and for those whose anniversaries we hold near this time: John Scannell, Tony Hall, Afram Zaer, Danny Cassidy.

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

Oh Mary, conceived without sin. Pray for us who have recourse to thee. Hail Mary, full of grace..

Priest: O Lord and Eternal Father - your Son has given himself to us the Eucharistic sacrifice as food for eternal life. Listen to the prayers of your people who come to present themselves to you in ardent faith. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.