PENTECOST SUNDAY + 24TH MAY 2015.
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 Kentigern's statue in our church holds a Bell which he used to call people to Mass and to listen to him preaching. It reminds us that St Patrick, the Apostle of the Irish also brought the faith to the nations. He rang that bell 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 like St Augustine with the Angles and Paulinus in York.
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 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 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.
Tonight at the Vigil Mass we will belatedly honour the Crowned statue of Our Lady – just made it for the Month dedicated to the Mother of God.
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.
FRIDAY JUNE 5TH - It is also the feast of St Boniface of Devon who was a monk and Bishop and who was sent to bring the Catholic and Apostolic Faith announced at the first Pentecost to what we now know as the Germans and the Dutch. He is their Apostle.
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 else. We usually clean on a Wednesday after the 9.30 Mass.
HALF TERM FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS FOR ST KENTIGERN AND THE DIVINE MERCY. SO NO SCHOOL MASSES – PLEASE NOTE. MAY THE STAFF AND THE PUPILS HAVE A LOVELY BREAK AND COME BACK SAFE AND SOUND.
YOUR COLLECTION: If you give to the church and pay tax all you have to do is to sign a form and pay by envelope or DD. Or S.O at your bank. Please do it or your tax on that money will not be given back to the parish by the Revenue. Forms at the Porch