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Sermon for 22 June 2014



My Dear People,

Today is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi- The Body and Blood of Christ

The Mission Team of St Patrick have departed leaving us with so many graces and blessings that I cannot thank God enough. Thank you to John Pridmore, to Neil Slattery and Michael Axiak and Katherine Leigh in animating us all with the work of the Holy Spirit, stirring us up to deeper faith and love of God. The Church was packed to the gills each night and I felt great graces flowing through the Themes of the Mission - the Love aND the Mercy of God and the Healing Presence of Jesus in the Sacrament of the Altar, the Motherhood of our Lady and the Gift of the Holy Spirit. Well done too to all of you who were able to come and hear and respond. The Team thought you were all a lovely people. I agreed of course.

Today at 2pm the children of St KENTIGERN'S School will receive our Lord for the first time in Holy Communion. (The Divine Mercy School will make their First Communion at St Edwards on 6th July).

Jesus has longed to give himself to these young ones since the day they were baptised and now the day has nearly come. They are well prepared and know the difference between an un-consecrated host and a Consecrated host, they understand that it is not bread anymore, but Christ's very Risen Body Present on the altar and to be received by them as a food for the journey on earth, and pledge of eternal life to come and a means of union of love with Him who made them. It is the Pledge of Immortality is it not, the Catholic Faith teaches.

It was on the evening of Holy Thursday that the Mass was born in the Upper Room. Maundy Thursday as you know is the birthday of the Holy Mass, the Last Supper.

Every Thursday in the Divine Office which priests are obliged to pray every day (FIVE times a day) the Office has a Theme touching always on the remembrance of that great gift of Jesus in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar and our Lord’s humility in the Mandatum- the Washing of the Feet.

My dear people, how lonely life would be without Jesus our Lord being present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. Imagine a Church with no Tabernacle? Imagine not believing that the bread and wine at Mass is changed by the miracle of Transubstantiation, through the Ministry of the ordained priest, into Our Lord's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity? Life would be so lonesome and so lacking.

The late Saint Pope John Paul taught us all about the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist in a sublime way as you would expect from the Successor of St Peter. I want to repeat one of his teachings concerning this great Feast of Corpus Christi, The Body and Blood of Christ. It is worth repeating.

He says that first of all the Blessed Sacrament is a PRESENCE SACRAMENT. In this we have the gift of the Lord’s bodily risen and abiding presence until he comes again in Glory to judge the living and the dead. Jesus promised that he would be with us always until the end of time and in this way supremely he becomes present to us so that we can actually feel his presence in the Tabernacle and on the Altar after the Consecration. Being present to us is a great gift and Jesus makes himself vulnerable to man's indifference or lack of respect. However – that is how our Lord wants it. He will put up with these things in order to be truly present always.

The Holy Sacrament is secondly a SACRIFICE SACRAMENT. It is the means by which the Redemptive power of the cross is made present in our time and space. The Sacrifice of the Mass is the same one as the Sacrifice on Calvary made present through the power of the Holy Spirit and the words of Institution spoken by the priest. Our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross was/is an Eternal Sacrifice – valid for all time and men’s sins are forgiven in our time and space through the merits of this One Sacrifice given Once and For All. You cannot see what the angels and saints can see when the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered. Calvary is made present in our time on the Altar. Our sins were nailed to the Cross. He is the Sacrifice which takes our sins away.

Lastly the Blessed Sacrament is a COMMUNION SACRAMENT. It is the means by which we communicate with the Risen Lord by receiving His Sacred Body in the Sacred Species. Jesus is received by us when we come to Holy Communion but He also receives us doesn't He? There is no communion on earth so close and life giving as the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's Body and Blood. Our Lord told us "Unless you eat my body and drink my Blood you cannot have life in you." The disciples for the first time, split up St John tells us over this teaching, and some refused to follow him after that. They said "This is an impossible saying."

Jesus made faith in the Blessed Sacrament a touchstone of faith in Him. He said to the Twelve "Will you also go away?" Peter thankfully answered on behalf of all the millions in the future when he replied: "Lord to whom we would go? You have the message of eternal life..." Jesus is our spiritual food and without this food we cannot have life - his life; so it truly is a Communion Sacrament. The worthy reception of this Sacrament joins us to Him in a bond of unspeakable joy when we receive him in grace.

May this feast be a cause of joy. May we all learn to love Christ in the Holy Sacrament more and more until we see him face to face at the end of our life’s pilgrimage.

In the meantime can I make a few requests of you my dear parishioners?

Firstly: Please genuflect properly when you come into church and when leaving. Your knees might not be as flexy as they used to be but do your best to make a real gesture of reverence to the Tabernacle where our Lord is really and truly Present.

Secondly : we are supposed to make an "Act of reverence" just before we receive Holy Communion. Would you get into the habit of making the Sign of the Cross whilst the person in front of you is receiving their Holy Communion?

Thirdly: try not to chatter unduly in Church. Jesus is present and He wants your attention. He wants you to know his love for you and you might not be listening. Chat after Mass and better still outside. Now – I've said it!

God Bless,

Father Tom Connolly


FALLOWFIELD CREDIT UNION : Join the Credit Union BASED IN OUR PARISH and you will see what they can do. Better than a Bank these days. Every Friday in the Marian Room – 7.30pm. Fr Tom Connolly.

SUMMER SUPPLY. I HAVE A PRIEST COMING FOR July and August – Father John from Nigeria. So all you Nigerians - get your booking diaries out to give him some Home-cooking !!

AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED tell us that the Archbishop of Mosul tells them that nearly all the Christians have left who could get away and the rest await their fate- convert to Islam or be beheaded. You have seen what they do to their own – no chance for us !! To think that that these areas were once entirely Catholic in their religion before Islam.

THE CATENIANS in 2009 STARTED A SCHEME WHEREBY FOLK WHO HAVE SPARE ROSARIES KNOCKING AROUND THE HOUSE NOT NEEDED MIGHT DELIVER THEM TO ME AND I WILL GIVE THEM TO THE Catenians and they will send them to the Missions. Bishop Brian approves and so far 100,000 Rosaries have been donated in UK . So- if you have please put them in an envelope otherwise I will get them all tangled!


Bidding Prayers

Bidding Prayers for Corpus Christi.

Priest: At the supper to which all are invited, Christ gives his Body and blood for the life of the world. Earnestly we beseech him, in his name we pray.

Be with our Bishops and Priests and people from all over the world who have gathered that the love emanating from this Holy Sacrament, may warm and enlighten the hearts and minds of the people . Lord in your mercy.

Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, you have committed to your priests the ministration of your sacraments - help our priests to do their part in your work with unfailing gladness and genuine charity. Lord, in your mercy.

For every Christian community throughout the world who celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi that the Eucharistic Sacrifice may unite us all as one with the Holy Father and with all the bishops and holy people of the church of God. Lord, in your mercy.

In thanks for the great success of the Mission in our Parish and for the work of the St Patrick's Community in steering on the way of Christ. Lord in your mercy.

Lord Jesus Christ, Heavenly physician, you give an eternal remedy and a pledge of resurrection to those who eat your body- grant health to the ailing and real hope and we pray for - Maureen Joyce, Ann Dolan, Denis McLoughlin, Kirsty Rafferty, John Lawson, Marie Hopkins, Eileen McCormack, Mrs Keegan, Francis Howarth, LORD in your mercy.

Lord Jesus Christ – Bread of Heaven, we know that whenever we celebrate these mysteries we proclaim your life giving death until you come in glory – give to those who have died the vision of your Glory..- Maureen Rowe, Tommy Rowe, Susan Marie Kelly (Tues 12) John Leo Grimes, Beverely Thompson AND All those whose anniversaries fall about this time:- Bernard Murray, Tony Walsh (VIGIL), Johnny Byrne, Michael Bradley (11am), Susan Doherty, Francis Ward.

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

O Mary, Conceived without sin. R/ Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Mary is the Holy One who gave us the Lord Jesus to become our Food - she brought him forth in Bethlehem which means The House of Bread- we salute our mother - Hail Mary. Priest: Lord Jesus, unseen guest at this Sacred Banquet, carry these prayers to the throne of grace and in your mercy answer them. We ask of you who lives for ever and ever. Amen.