PENTECOST SUNDAY 8th June 2014.
My Dear People,
It is Pentecost and the Birthday of the Holy Catholic Church. It was this day in 33AD (according to the new calendar brought in by Constantine the Roman Emperor) that Saint Peter stood up in front of thousands and made the original missionary sermon and converted thousands. The birthday of the Church as a public institution is today. The Holy Spirit caused it to happen and was with the apostles and the disciples to animate them and transform them into active and adventurous apostles of the faith. "As the Father sent me, so I send you" said Jesus to them. They are the ones who are sent by God. Today also the apostles are sent by God - that is the origin of the teaching of the Church that the Bishops with the Pope are the apostle's successors in the Apostolic Office. It is to them to fulfil the Divine Mandate - "Go forth to all the nations..." How much we need to do just that today, don't we?
St Edward, saintly King of England revered the Faith and Sprit led supported it. It is on his throne that the Queen sits to open Parliament and the crown of St Edward is the one used on the same occasion. St Augustine brought the Faith as an Apostle to these shores sent by Pope Gregory. The Holy Spirit filled him for within seven years he established the Catholic Faith on our shores. It reminds us that St Patrick, the Apostle of the Irish also brought the faith to the nations. He rang the bell that St Kentigern is always depicted holding and called them to listen to what he was saying - the Message of Jesus Christ. Assisted by the Holy Spirit he brought the heathen Irish out of their worship of the constellations and the earth and the Sun. He announced the Only Son of God. He and the fellow apostles established the Church of God. Rather like school - you are only as good as the last top class. Every year has to bring the knowledge and skills to the new pupils coming up. So it is with the Faith. The Church in the West stands in great need of renewal. The Pope recently speaking to two Provinces of USA Bishops told them that the renewal of the Church in the US would begin with a re-conversion of the Bishops themselves! I am sure the Irish and English Bishops feel the same. St Augustine was the Apostle of the English and he did the same with his fellow monks sent with him by Pope Gregory the Great. So began the Christianization of our nations. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will renew again "the hearts of the faithful and enkindle in them the fire of that love."
We come to the end of the Month of May and it is half term for our schools. We crowned our Lady's statue in St Kentigern’s school on 20th May and every child brought in flowers and presented them to the image of our Blessed Mother singing every Marian hymn ever written I think. We all prayed the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We ended with the blessing of the crown and the flowers, with the sun shining through the windows with huge beams of light.
During the MISSION there will be a special night dedicated to Our Lady, the Most Holy Mother of God and our Mother too.
Devotion to our Lady is essential for a balance in our faith. God has done great things in her and we have to acknowledge that otherwise we would be neglecting a great gift. Our Lady is not the icing on the cake – optional. She is an essential part of the Church. Her role was decreed by God himself and his Only Son gave us the mothering of Mary from his place on the cross when he said to John the Apostle "Behold, your mother". Jesus looked and saw her and the beloved disciple standing by her and spoke those words. Every word spoken from the cross cost our Lord a lot of pain so each of the seven sentences were very short and to the point and carefully recorded like precious jewels falling to the ground. So the power of Mary's prayers for us and her protection is an essential experience for us all. We dedicate every newly baptised child to the protection of the Mother of God in front of Our Lady's Altar after the Baptism in our parish. St Bernard said that it was never known that any turned to her and was left unaided. She is also the woman of Pentecost for she was present with the apostles at prayer when the Holy Spirit descended with great power form on High. She is with the Church at its very start and is with us now as we read this – fully alive and already sharing the glory won by her Son in her risen and glorified body – the one which bore the Immaculate and Sinless One, Jesus Christ our Lord and God.
Father Tom Connolly
NEW CLEANERS. PLEASE, please will you volunteer to clean our Church. Age and infirmity has decreased the number of cleaners by half so we need to get new people. It will only take one hour every few weeks if enough people volunteer. It is our Church and we must show we care for it. We are losing one of our younger cleaners too so please - don't leave it to someone.
ALTAR SERVERS. WE STAND IN NEED OF MORE ALTAR SERVERS. PLEASE ASK THE PRIESTS OR TEACHERS FOR A FORM FOR YOUR PARENTS TO FILL IN WITH THEIR APPROVAL AND WE WILL TRAIN YOU TO SERVE THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS.
Pentecost Bidding Prayers
Priest: The Apostles waited and prayed for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Gathered together in their company we pray for his coming and joyfully proclaim the greatness of God.
You breathed into Adam the breath of life - breathe your Spirit into your Church that the world may find life in her. Lord in your mercy.
Send your Holy Spirit to give rest to the weary, and to comfort the dying - strengthen our faith - give life and joy to the broken hearted. Lord in your mercy.
Cleanse and refresh us in the waters of the Spirit - where there is anguish and sin, bring healing and rebirth. Lord in your mercy.
May the St Patrick’s Mission Team being announced in our parishes next weekend remind us of the power of the Holy Spirit who changes bread and Wine into the Lord’s Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. Lord in your mercy.
For Canon Kevin O'Conner, on the Diamond Jubilee of his Priesthood. Lord in your mercy.
The Father anointed Christ with the Power of the Holy Spirit for his ministry of salvation - may he pass once more among us, healing the sick and doing good for everyone as we pray for our sick: Eileen McCormack, John Lawson, Marie Hopkins, Brenden Byrne, Tom Cummins, Mary Gallagher, Mary Connolly, Mary Collins, BeeAnne O'Grady, Kirsty Rafferty, Mrs Keegan Senior, Denis McLoughlin, Chris Lyden, Lord in your mercy.
Through the Holy Spirit you bring men and women back to life and glory- may the dead enter their home in heaven to enjoy your love forever. We pray for Tommy Cobert, Mamie Walsh, Kathleen McClusky, Marie Ryan, Micke Heneghan.
And for all who anniversaries fall now : Eugenia Madge Williams, Afram Zaer, Charlene Stokes - raise them up in glory when Christ comes again. May their souls...
O Mary, conceived with sin. R/ Pray for us who have recourse to thee. Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit and bore that most excellent of all fruits - Jesus Christ the Word made flesh - may she pray for the Spirit to come to us on this great feast of Pentecost. Hail Mary...
Priest: O God who dwells in the hearts of the faithful by the presence of the Holy Spirit – we pray that this divine indwelling may ever console us and hear and answer our prayers. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.