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Sermon for 27 April 2014
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SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER (LOW SUNDAY) + 27th April 2014 + FEAST OF THE DIVINE MERCY.

MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST.

My Dear People,

Today is what we call LOW SUNDAY - after the Highs of Easter day.

By the time you read this I will be in Rome attending the Canonisations of the Blessed John Paul II and the Blessed John XXIII who will be Saints by then. Pray to them. They are great Saints. I will pray for you all there. The new St John Paul visited our City and offered Mass in Heaton Park. The Gospel contains in this Year of A reading the account of the Aposle Thomas who had boasted that he would not believe in the witness of the others that our Lord had risen from the dead. He declared that "unless I can but my fingers in to the wounds in the hands and feet which the nails made and put my hand into the gaping wound of the lance - I will not believe."

Well - without doing either, Thomas did believe and he made the greatest act of pure faith in the fours Gospels "My Lord and my God". These are the words addressed to the Risen Lord and so indeed he is, though many would want to compromise it and deny it or explain it away. In Ireland they still use this act of Thomistic faith after the Consecration as one of the Acclamations.

When I was a child, preparing for my first Holy Communion, Miss Branston taught her class to look at the Host and the Chalice when they were elevated and say those very same words - "My Lord and my God" and you must know - I still do though you cannot hear me!

Jesus chides Thomas gently for seeing and believing - but there again the others had been there and seen him when Thomas was absent. Maybe Thomas was absent because he was more depressed by the death of our Lord- who knows. But "doubting Thomas" has been his distinguishing name ever since. However - Thomas's doubt and difficulty serves us all well. We can identify with his feeling can't we? It is easier when you have seen and experienced. Thomas got there in the end. It is the tradition that he brought the Faith all the way to India.

The second event in this Easter appearance our Saviour was his first gift to them. He appeared to then through locked doors and said "Peace be with you" and he then breathed on them saying "Receive the Holy Spirit". The Spirit is like the Breath of God which breathed life in the nostrils of Adam. Here the new Adam - victorious on the Tree of Life, breathes new life into the apostles and he institutes the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. "Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven - whose sins you retain they are retained". Only God can forgive sin and he is the God-Man bestowing his authority on his infant church - and the first of the apostolic office holders (the Apostles) - the forgiveness of sin.

The Church teaches that Mortal sin can only be forgiven through an act of Perfect Contrition - sorrow out of the love of God and then Confession. Yes - even if you got general Absolution on the Titanic as it went down (as they did) you still have to Confess with your lips any Mortal sins if you survive. This is the Gift of Jesus - after all he laid down his very life "for the remission of sin" as he said many times.

The Sacrament of Penance is neglected and people lose the art of living holy lives. They think that because they are not doing any of the Seven Deadly sins they are reasonable and don't need to go to Confession. How wrong can you be?

When the penetrating beam of Christ's grace is allowed to lighten up the soul, the person sees just what a wretch they are - full of bad things that cause damage and hurt to oneself- ones loved ones and GOD!!

I know it is not fashionable to say this but without regular Confession there is no growth in holiness. In fact we would be simply "coasting". Vocations are not heard because the fundamental relationship of Love, with the Loving God, in our Divine Master becomes a kind of lukewarm affair. Our Lord said sins could be retained - Without confession how would the apostle know what to forgive or retain? In fact when you were without a priest in the past - people confessed to each other - laypeople. Vocal confession of ones sins was seen as so necessary. (Not many people know that).

So - fly away from anyone who offers you a quick fix absolution with no Confession or telling you to confess just One Sin! They are not valid and they do not have the Bishop's approval.

Regular Confession with a good examination of Conscience is a most excellent way of progressing in the Christian life and then we will bring others to the one we love and adore, Jesus, our Risen Lord and Master who lay down his life for the remission of sin. Pick up the leaflet outside the confessionals which has an excellent examination of conscience based on the Commandments.

Wonderful Easter it has been !

Fr George has had to cover St Ambrose's on Princess Parkway for the Parish Priest was not able so we were all stretched from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday evening.

Father Tom Connolly.


ADORATION OF THE Blessed Sacrament fully restored this week. The Altar looks more splendid that ever.

DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY PRAYER: ETERNAL FATHER, I OFFER YOU THE BODY AND BLOOD, SOUL AND DIVINITY OF YOUR DEAR BELOVED SON OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, IN ANTONEMENT FOR OUR SINS AND THOSE OF THE WHOLE WORLD. FOR THE SAKE OF HIS SOROWFUL PASSION HAVE MERCY ON US AND ON THE WHOLE WORLD. HOLY GOD, HOLY MIGHT ONE, HOLY IMMORTAL ONE, HAVE MERCY ON US AND ON THE WHOLE WORLD. Sorry no devotion this Sunday. Too few of us.

Sint Faustina was canonised by St John Paul 30th April 2000 - The Pope said "Where if not in the Divine Mercy can the world find refuge and the light of hope". The Polish Church in Moss lane is named "Divine Mercy". Our primary school of St Edwards and Bishop Bilsborrow became The Divine Mercy.

THE PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION - SOME PEOPLE HAVE ASKED ME TO PRINT IT SO HERE IT IS:O My Jesus, I believe that I have received your Flesh to eat and your Blood to drink because you have said and your word is true. All that I have and all that I am are your gifts and now you have given me yourself.

COLLECTION FOR FATHER SEAN O'BRIEN NEXT WEEK. SO MANY OF YOU ASKED ME "WHAT ARE WE DOING FOR FR SEAN" SO HERE IS WHAT WE WILL DO- NEXT SUNDAY THERE WILL BE A SECOND COLLECTION AND I WILL GET HIM BACK TO PRESENT HIM WITH YOUR CHEQUE. HOSPITAL CHAPLAINS IN OUR DIOCESE ARE PRETTY POOR I CAN TELL YOU.






Bidding Prayers

BIDDING PRAYERS LOW SUNDAY A.

PRIEST: The Doors were closed in the upper room but you entered and filled the apostles with joy at the sight of your bodily presence. Listen, O Lord to our confident prayers which we make now for our needs and the needs of the whole world.

Reader: We pray to God for all, like Thomas, who find faith difficult without touch or proof. Lift the veil from people's eyes so that they may be filled with a lively Easter faith. We commend to God those under Instruction. Lord in your mercy.

For the gift of Christ's most precious wounds on this Divine Mercy Sunday - the day of Blessed John Paul's and Bl. John 23rds Canonisations: that all will find consolation and peace in them. We pray that the human person may be respected in embryonic form and the source of true Fatherhood for children be acknowledged. Lord in your mercy.

For our Queen on her 88th Birthday that God will continue to give her life and bless her. Lord in your mercy.

For all priest in their ministry of imparting the forgiveness of Christ through the sacrament of penance – that they be true and wise pastors and councillors of souls in the ways of true virtue. Lord in your mercy.

For all the victims of war in so many parts of our poor world and especially for the victims who are little children. We pray for the Ukraine and Syria that the men of violence cease their evil ways in destroying the innocent. We pray for our Armed Forces and for their safe return. Lord in your mercy.

For all our sick who have sought our prayers that they may find healing in the wounds of Jesus: Bee Anne O'Grady, Brenda Brady, Marie Hopkins, Mary Gallagher, Chris O'Malley, Franis Howath, Maura McBrine, Denis McLoughlin, Ann Brady. Lord in your mercy.

For all those who have died that they may gaze upon the Risen One who has vanquished death forever: Antonino Ray, Allan Mariot AND

For all whose anniversaries fall about now: Roseanne O'Sullivan, Mary Page, James Radcliffe (VIGIL MASS), Josephine Blake (11 am), Maureen Waring, Margaret Nuthall (6.30pm Sunday), Philip and Jane Keegan, Joseph Kearney, Kath Hilliss, Christopher Keegan, Marian Kearney, Mary Kerrigan (26th), Margarete McDonough, Mary O'Sullivan.

May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed.

Mary Most Holy, Mary Mother of the Risen Lord - pray for us your children. O Mary, conceived without sin. Pray for us who have recourse to thee. Hail Mary.

Priest: Watch over your little flock O Lord and guard us from the Ancient Enemy in this Holy Time of Easter and hear and answer our prayers. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.