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Sermon for 25 March 2012
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FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT. + CYCLE b READINGS + 25 TH MARCH 2012.

MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST.

My Dear People,

We begin the end run today to Passiontide and Holy Week. It happens to be the eighth anniversary of the beloved and much revered Blessed, Pope John Paul II. He was one whose life personified the meaning of our Lord's words in today's Gospel - "unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it Remain only a single grain - but if it dies it bears abundant fruit."

In the late Pope's life we see him spending his whole life energy on serving Christ to the very depth of his soul. He spent himself before and after being elected Pope. He struggled and fought with the atheist regime of thugs at home and then as Supreme Pastor of the Church witnessed on a world stage to the Divine Master. He fought for the rights of the people's to hear the Faith proclaimed with fidelity. He fought those who supported the culture of death as he called it. These include the abortion rights folk, the assisted suicideers, the euthanasia enthusiasts, the "let them die gang" who are so keen not to intervene or to pull the plug out, or those who want to hang them and flog 'em. He even had to defend the rights of Catholics to have proper and moral clergy and the children to be taught their religion properly in our schools and not the airy fairy mulch so many of our schools teach these days in other parts. (Not Salford diocese). Yes - and finally he was literally mown down by the would-be assassin; his life blood pouring out near the spot where St Peter's life blood was shed.

When the Pope went to see the assassin in his cell the only thing Aga wanted to know is by what "power" the Pope had diverted the trajectory of the bullet! The Pope of course always attributed it to our Lady of Fatima. In fact the bullet (or one of them) now hangs in our Lady of Fatima's crown.

Yes - we have a modern example in the late Holy Father and Blessed Mother Teresa of a life fully complete and fruitful beyond compare Ė by dying to self and living to God. That is the heart of t he Christian Faith. The grain of wheat only bears fruit when it dies in the ground. We die to sin and live to Christ in others and for others. That is how the Christian find "Life".

As "the hour" of our Lord's Passion approaches one can feel the fear in our Lordís words "Father save me from this hour". The devil was to have his hour and through this "hour" would be defeated forever - vanquished - caput - finished. "My hour has not yet come" Jesus said to his Mother at the marriage of Cana. You see our Lady knew about this "hour" all the time. She lived in the shadow and the hope of the Cross. She "stood by the Cross". We too have to go our Lordí's way for there is no other way through which we will find eternal life. Pope Benedict explains the mystery of the wheat grain dying to produce more fruit, extremely well in his Book "Jesus of Nazareth". He goes into great detail with tremendous scholarship and erudition. What a gift he is to us all from Jesus!

That is what it is all about folks - and donít forget it or lose focus.

The Catholic Students at the chaplaincy put on the Via Crucis in the Holy Name Church on Wednesday night and it was deeply moving. They have penetrated the secret at the heart of the Church - the self giving of Christ for us all.


NEXT SUNDAY IS PALM SUNDAY AND THE MASS AT 11AM (10 at St Edwards) WILL BEGIN OUTSIDE THE MAIN DOOR FOR THE BLESSING AND PROCESSION WITH THE PALMS. PALMS WILL BE BLEST AND DISTRIBUTED AT EACH MASS. AND THE FIRST COMMUNION CHILDREN WILL BE MAKING A SPECIAL APPEARANCE TO WELCOME OUR LORD INTO THE HOLY CITY AS PART OF THEIR COMMUNION PROGRAMME SO BE READY FOR A BIG CROWD AND THE LONG GOSPEL OF THE PASSION. THEY WILL HAVE A SPECIAL CRUCIFIX PUT AROUND THEIR NECKS WIH A RED CORD. THESE HAVE BEEN BLEST BY THE POPE AND THE RED CORD WILL REMIND THEM OF HOW OUR LORD'S PRECIOUS BLOOD WAS SHED FOR LOVE OF THEM.

God bless you all,

Father Tom Connolly.


FIRST COMMUNION PARENTS WILL MEET IN THE SCHOOL HALL AT 3PM NEXT TUESDAY 27th MARCH.

SACRILEGE The Tabernacle of the Church in Nelson has been stolen and therefore the Blessed Sacrament desecrated. Each parish is to make an act of reparation. St Kentigerns will offer the Stations of the Cross this afternoon at 4pm in preparation and the evening Mass at St Edwards will be offered in Reparation to this insult to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

MARY'S MEALS. GOOD NEWS IS THAT OUR LOCAL GROUP HAS RAISED £6,600 FOR MARY'S MEALS IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS WHAT WITH THE BOXES YOU SO GENEROUSLY FILL AND THE DANCE AND SOCIAL HELD AT ST JOHNS'/ THANK YOU AND KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. Mrs Franca Rizzo.

PARISH SHRINE DAY ON A SATURDAY FROM 1.30 TO 5PM (ENDING WITH VIGIL MASS at 5pm. I INTEND TO TAKE A GROUP OF PARISHIONERS ON PILGRIMAGE TO OUR LADY'S SHRINE AT KEARSLEY - RUN BY THE SCHOENSTATT FATHERS IN OUR DIOCESE. WE WILL LEAVE HERE BY COACH AT 12. 30. THIS IS THE PROGRAMME:
1.30PM VISIT TO THE SHRINE and WELCOME LITURGY.
1.45 LIGHT REFRESHMENTS
2.15 "GOD IS HERE" TALK
3PM. TIME AROUND THE SHRINE
ADORATION, RECONCILIATION, FAMILY ACTIVITY.
4PM BENEDICTION
TEA BREAK
5PM VIGIL MASS.
FILL IN THE FORM IF YOU ARE INTERESTED AND RETURN TO ME.

Parish Shrine Leaflet (PDF)





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