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Sermon for 10 March 2013



My Dear People,

Well, it is Mothering Sunday and I impart my blessing on all the mothers who are reading this parish newsletter. We all owe our mother's so much for carrying us for nine months and then all that sweat they shed giving birth to us and all that love and devotion they gave us along with their husbands when we were little and helpless. Who cannot respect and love their mum? This day always falls near enough the feast of the Mother of all Mothers - the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary when her single "Fiat voluntas tua" (be it done unto me) brought her into the realm of being a mother in the virginal conception of her Divine Son.

Today we will be blessing flowers at the main Masses until they run out and giving them to the mothers of our community to take home as a keepsake of just how much our Mother the Church respects your gift and vocation. Remember that on one else can be the mother that you are to your children.

This Fourth Sunday of Lent we have a wonderful Parable of our Lord that has come to be known as the Prodigal Son. In a way it could be called the Parable of the Prodigal Father. It is the father in the story who is prodigal with his love and forgiveness of the son.

The son had done the unthinkable by asking his dad for what he was going to get in the Will. He gets the cash and clears off – leaving the Holy Land and living it up amongst pagans. You can tell this because they were keeping pigs which were anathema to the Jewish religion. Not only was he in a "distant country" but he was looking after unclean animals and therefore was breaking a number one taboo. The way he spent his new money was not nice either – debauched he was.

His motive was not the purest when he decided to “return home”. He thought that at least as a servant in his father’s house he would be better off and that was true. However – still "a long way off" (in more ways than distance) the father came to him running and kissed him and embraced him, so glad was he that his son was alive and well even though he was dirty . in rags and a lot poorer.

The father was really good wasn’t he and even when he had to deal with the ever good brother the father was full of kind words to the eldest too trying to persuade him to love his younger brother again.

This story tells us the mind and the heart of God towards the sinner. It comes from our Lord's lips and he is God made flesh so it is accurate and utterly true – this is how God is to the sinner who returns. But my dear people, the son had to return and take the first step on the road to recovery. He had to turn to the Father and return to the father's house and confess what he had done. So do we.

We have to confess what we have done and especially if it was grave. Do not attend any Penance services that purport to be a sacramental celebration when there is no confession of all yours sins. You cannot be told to "just choose one sin to confess". It is not valid and does not have the authority of the Bishop and sins are not forgiven. Also, so called General Absolution is only for people who are going down in a sinking ship or other such disasters. One must confess each and all grave sins and be absolved individually by a priest. That is what this parable means. The prodigal son did not get from his father forgiveness on the cheap, but surely the son’s heart was made even more open to the father’s love by the wonderful understanding of his dad?

Our Lord said on Easter Day "Whose sins you forgive - they are forgiven." "God the Father of Mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son, has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit." These are the sacramental words of absolution spoken over the penitent by the priest after the confession and act of Contrition. May the proper and lawful celebration of this Sacrament indeed bring us prodigals - Pardon and Peace just like it did for the prodigal son.

Happy Confession and Easter duties my good people.

Father Tom Connolly

SAINT PATRICK'S DAY. A happy feast day next week to you all for Sunday 17th March on the feast of the national patron of Ireland its first apostle. May St Patrick’s prayers from heaven plead now for the safeguarding of the Catholic Faith in Ireland.

Bidding Prayers

Bidding Prayers for 4th of Lent C

Priest: All Powerful Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ listen to the prayers of those who acknowledge him as the Lord, the Saviour, the Holy Redeemer, the one lifted up on the Cross for our salvation.

Reader. When you were lifted up on the Cross you drew all mankind to your divine heart on fire with love for humanity; draw humanity now to your abundant mercy through the witness of those who belong to your flock. Lord in your mercy.

When your side was wounded with the lance, blood and water poured out - signs of baptism and Holy Communion - nourish your people with a strong faith in the power of these sacraments. Lord deepen our faith. Lord in your mercy.

For all who are afraid to approach your mercy in the sacrament of Penance – be an assurance to them that you are full of mercy and compassion, awaiting them like you waited for the Prodigal son. Lord in your mercy.

For all the Mothers of the parish and of the world – that motherhood be honoured and esteemed by all and that all mothers will love and care well for the God- Given offspring. Bless family life O Lord. Lord in your mercy.

For the Conclave meeting to elect a new Pope on Tuesday – that the Holy Spirit will guide the Cardinals in their electing a new Vicar of Christ on earth. Lord in your mercy.

For all our sick that they may unite their suffering with the Lord's Passion: Des O'Hara, Mary Grogan, Sarah McHale, Jeffry Gaynord, Michael Connolly, Pat Aldcroft, Mary Tivnan, Katheen Burke, Joseph Calvi. Lord in your mercy.

For all those who have died – that they may rejoice with all the saints in the glory of heaven: Minni Collins, Norah Parley, Cathy Knowles, Martin Connolly, Paddy Fogarty, Denis Keyes, Patsy Hand AND For all those souls whose anniversary falls about this time: Danny McCormack, John Scannell, Ivan Bilyk, Edward Williams, Thomas Carpenter, Stephen Sharples.

May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed though the mercy of God rest in peace.

O Mary - bright star of the dawn of grace - pray for your children who call upon you. O Mary, conceived without sin. /R . Pray for us who have recourse to thee. Hail Mary...

Priest: Listen O Lord to the heartfelt prayer of your children who gather around the altar of your Son and make their prayer rise before you like incense. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.