Friday, January 29, 2016

GOD IS THE KEY TO ALL WONDER

Hello everyone

I hope you are well and at peace.

As the new year began I embarked upon a speaking
tour of secondary schools in England. I spoke in 15
schools across the country to around 5,000 students.

It started with two schools arranged by my old
friend Fr John Mckenna who is now based in a parish
in Barnet, North London. It was great to spend some
time with Fr John and to see him flourishing as a
Parish Priest. When I first knew him he was a lay
Man like myself and we worked together running
youth retreats all around the London area. I watched
as his calling in life became clear to him, and now I
can see how he is using all his gifts to serve God’s
people in his role as Parish priest. It reminded me
that no matter what God calls us to do, if we say
yes to that plan we can find a joy and fulfilment
that the world cannot give. Fr John said to me that
the most important part of his day was spending
time with the Lord in prayer where he would hand
over everything to God and receive all the grace
and strength he needed, he said he couldn’t survive
without that time with the Lord.

It struck me as we visited the different schools how
important the role of head teacher is when trying to
make God be the centre of a school. We all know the
pressures that teachers are under now, so that the
students get the results that are expected of them.
Because of this, faith can fall by the wayside and be
seen as unimportant. But on this tour I met some
incredible head teachers and spent a good deal of
time speaking with them. One head teacher in
Birmingham said that she would begin each day
and make each decision through prayer. She 
quoted St Francis de Sales who recommended
starting the day with half an hour of prayer. But
if you were too busy you should make it an hour.
I could see the difference this made to the students,
there was a great openness to God with dozens of
them emailing me afterwards to say how God had
touched their lives.

In another school, after my talk had finished the
head teacher took most of the morning  away from
what must be a busy schedule to bring me to visit
one of his students who had got in trouble with the
police. He was taking part in a scheme outside the
school and the headmaster thought that it would help
the young lad to speak with me. Because of this
teachers influence (he also took the lad to Our lady’s
shrine in Lourdes to look after the sick where he
had a beautiful experience of God’s love for him)
the boy’s life is literally being transformed. It
reminded me of Jesus’ parable of the good shepherd
who leaves the ninety nine sheep in the pasture to
go searching for the missing sheep. During this year
of mercy that is what we are all called to do!

After a couple of weeks had passed of the new year 
One of my friends asked me had I picked a saint to
help me throughout the year. I realised I hadn’t so
I prayed asking if there was a particular saint who
wanted to help me this year. The one that came to
me was Saint Martin de Porres, as things turned
out it didn’t take him long to get working. After
completing a morning talk in one school I managed
to get to a local lunchtime Mass. During the Mass
after receiving Holy  communion the priest came up
to me and asked me if I was John Pridmore?  So
after Mass I went to have a cup of tea and a chat
with the priest who it turns out had met me years
earlier when he was a seminarian. We had a really
blessed conversation with loads of little miracles
taking place and I knew that God had arranged all
this. The priest mentioned that he was supposed
to be doing a talk to an assembly at the local
secondary school that afternoon and he wasn’t too
sure what to speak about. So I asked would he like
me to speak, and he said that would be great. So we
went to the school  and I ended up sharing my story
with hundreds of students.  The headmaster was
another man of God who told us that every
morning he prayed that the Holy Spirit
would sweep down on his students and guide and
protect his school. What great hope there is for
our young people with men like him guiding them.
And after all that, what was the name of the school?
St Martin de Porres School!! The saints are very real
and are there to help each of us in the mission that
God has entrusted to us.

While I was in the North of England My friend Fr
Frankie Mulgrew invited me to a special ceremony
where his dad was receiving a papal knighthood for
all the amazing work he has done for the Church and
many charities through the years. Fr Frankie’s dad
is the comedian Jimmy Cricket and he is a great man
of faith and full of  love for all those he meets. The
Bishop John Arnold said the Mass and awarded him
the papal knighthood. After communion Jimmy got
up to say a few words and he said above all he wanted
to thank God because he remembers when he first
arrived in England from Northern Ireland as a young
man, he was all alone and he owned nothing. But
went into a chapel in Liverpool and he knelt down
and asked God to guide his life. Not long after he
got a very good job in entertainment, met his lovely
wife May and the Lord has blessed and
guided them and their family all through the years.
We truly serve a truly faithful God.

I just wanted to thank you for praying for me and all
those I speak to. So many young people emailed me
to say how they hadn’t believed that God existed but
during my talk they had experienced the power of
God’s presence and his love and mercy and it had
changed their lives. I know that this can only come
about when people are praying and interceding, so
please keep it up!

You will remain very much in my prayers.
God bless you in his deep love
John Pridmore

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A TIME FOR MERCY!

Hello Everyone

I hope you are having a Blessed and Holy advent!
Since my last update we have given parish
missions in Charlestown, Ballyduff and
Causeway, Crumlin, Tubberclair and Glasson,
Castleknock, Drumshanbo and Clondalkin
(All in Ireland) I also travelled to Canada and
France.

At the parish missions, one of the themes that
seems to be essential is mercy and forgiveness.
Forgiving those who have hurt us, or someone
we love. At a mission an older lady came up
and said "The one thing that is missing in the
world at the moment is mercy!" Often when
we do not forgive we allow the person or
people who have hurt us to have a hold on us
by allowing bitterness to eat us up inside and
take away our peace, and the peace of those
closest to us. When we ask Christ to help us
to forgive, the opposite is true because not only
are we set free, we allow God to work miracles
and set others free. So in this year which is
dedicated to the greatest attribute of God's
Heart (His Mercy) Let us ask God to help us
to forgive just as we have been forgiven.

When I travelled to Sault Sainte Marie in Canada,
I had the opportunity to give a number of talks
in prisons, schools and conference centres.
One of the nights was a banquet in thanksgiving
for our priests and religious and there were over
400 people there. It was a night of real grace and
blessing, with many clergy and the Bishop of
the diocese being very touched and it reminded
me how important it is to honour and thank the
people who consecrate their lives to the service
of God. As I was sharing my story it occurred
to me what an incredible grace it is to be able
to serve God. Often we can forget who it is that
we serve and get caught up with what people
think rather than what God is saying. There is
only one Person who we should live for and
only He can say the words "Come in good and
faithful servant" at the end of lives.

While I was in France I visited Paris and ate in
the pizza restaurant in which five people were
murdered by the Islamic state terrorists. This
atrocity happened just 2 hours after I had left the
restaurant. This, I must say felt quite surreal and
on reflection I was wondering if the people who
were killed could have been the waiter or waitress
serving me and how they might have changed
their last moments or indeed their lives if only
they had known what was about to take place.
Again, mercy seemed to be the key as I prayed
the Divine mercy chaplet for all those affected
by this tragedy. That weekend when I attended
the masses, the churches were full and the
people of Paris seemed to have an awakening
as to what is really important. God seemed to
be saying where sin abounds, grace abounds
infinitely more.

My next port of call was catching the train to
Lourdes with my mum, as this is her favourite
shrine to Our Lady. While I was there I went
to confession at the grotto as I was feeling a
bit wretched and broken and in need of a hug
from God. During the confession, to my
surprise, the priest said to me "You should
give thanks for the great grace of God giving
you an informed conscience and it shows that
he is very close to you" This seemed to be the
hug that I needed, and as he said the words of
absolution I did thank God for knowing my
wretchedness and need of His mercy. Saint
Francis de Sales, who had a wonderfully
loving mother, once said that he would rather
be judged by God than by his own mother.

So let us pray during this time of advent that
we might open each room of our heart to the
healing merciful love of our saviour, who not
only comes in the humility of a helpless child
but also comes in the humility of the bread
of life, and let us be transformed into his
light which this world so longs to see.

May you have a Blessed and wonderful
Christmas and a happy and Holy new year.
Thank you for all of your prayers.

John Pridmore

PS Please pray for my 5th book which will
be based on spiritual warfare that I would not
get in the way of what God wants.







Tuesday, October 20, 2015

MADE IN GOD'S IMAGE

Hello everyone

I hope you are well and at peace.

At the end of August I travelled to England to do a
talk at a youth conference for a group called Jesus
Youth. There were about 400 young people 
attending. I gave my testimony followed by a time
for questions. These were very deep and to me 
expressed what the young people were struggling
with, ranging from accepting themselves to 
sometimes feeling isolated and lonely.

In answer to self acceptance I would say that we 
have to start looking past our brokeness and
sinfulness to see the reality that God uses us in
our weaknesses for His glory. This is not to say
that we shouldn’t examine our conscience, but 
that we shouldn’t focus on where we get things 
wrong, but bring these things to God’s mercy.

As for feeling isolated, I think a lot of people old and
young, are deep down very lonely and are always
trying to be what other people want them to be in
order to win their friendship. But these relationships
have no grace as they are based on a lie. So it may
appear that we have many friends around us but the
reality is that no one truly knows us as we are never
real and never ourselves, hence this only adds to
our loneliness rather than relieving it. The opposite
is true when we are real and not wearing any masks,
that’s when we have deep friendships that are based
on truth, because our friends really know and 
understand us. The isolation is then automatically
taken away.

Next I travelled to Canvey Island to do a mission 
with a good friend of mine Fr Eamonn. He is 
someone who has great discernment and a lot
of experience when it comes to spiritual warfare.
It’s always a blessing to see the fruits of God 
working in the parish missions. Because we have
Mass, adoration, confession, the rosary and call
upon all the angels and saints of heaven, one 
priest said it is like us standing aside and 
allowing Jesus to do the mission.

My next stop was Los Angeles to give some talks.
While I was there I met my good friend Paul 
Kelmenson, the film producer who is still very
interested in making my first book into a film. Also
while I was there I had the joy to meet another 
friend of mine, James Pinedo who is a young
man who has stepped out in faith to make pro life
films. His first venture seems to be very exciting
and hopefully will be on the big screen very soon.

On returning to Ireland we ran a mission in the 
Divine mercy church in Lucan South. One of the 
things that touched my heart was seeing the primary
school kids come every night of the mission. They
seemed to be captivated by wanting to know Jesus
more. One little boy aged nine asked when we were
coming back because he didn’t want the mission to
stop. It reminded me that Jesus said  “Come to me 
as little children!”

I then caught a flight to Washington where I did a 
number of talks and a parish mission in Maryland
near Washington DC. I was in a parish where there
are amazing graces happening with the young 
people with great work going on in the local schools,
summer camps and various parish youth groups.
The have had a number of vocations to the 
priesthood and religious life and it was great to see
so many people, including the parish priest on fire
with the desire to bring the Gospel alive. In the high
school where I spoke to 700 students, 250 young 
people are receiving monthly spiritual direction,
which I thought was a brilliant idea and the fruits
of this were self evident. At the end of my time in
the parish it was wonderful to have 4 people of
different ages come up to me saying how the 
mission had changed their lives. It always amazes
me how God is so faithful and can use the most
broken of instruments, if we give Him permission!
People sometimes say to me that I am doing
so much good, but the truth is that it is God who is 
so good and it is a privilege to speak on His behalf.

May God bless you in his deep love
John Pridmore


Friday, August 28, 2015

A SUMMER OF GOD FIRST


I hope you are well and at peace,


Over the last few months I have visited
many countries including Germany,
Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Russia,
Belgium, Scotland, England and the
Czech Republic.

When we try to put God first he seems to 
be able to bless our life so much more. 
In the first years of being converted I felt 
that to show God that I loved him I 
needed to pray and go to Mass, as if I 
was doing God a favour. Now I 
understand the more time I can give God, 
the more he can bless my life. God has a 
wonderful plan for us, but can only show 
us this plan if we put him firmly first in our 
lives.

Over the Summer I had the blessing to 
speak to Priests and religious in Waterford, 
at the Little sisters of the poor. This was a 
real Grace for me because when I first 
came to Ireland, I had no house or place 
to stay and the Little sisters put me up 
many times, fed me and looked after me. 
At the talk there were about 200 people, 
it was to celebrate the gift of religious life. 
Again people who have tried to put God 
first in there lives, and have the wonderful 
Joy that goes with it.

 I also had the pleasure of spending time 
in Russia,Prague and Estonia, it is a 
wonderful gift to see the openness now
to faith, when for so many years the 
people and church was so persecuted. 
There is a real hunger in the people for 
the truth of the Catholic Church and its 
teachings. The pain in the older people is 
still there and the stories I heard of some 
of the struggles under the communists 
were quite remarkable. When a country 
turns away from God it turns away from 
love, mercy, openness and goodness.

I traveled over to Scotland and England 
visiting the Cenacolo  community and the 
Shrine to our Lady of Walsingham. The 
Cenacolo community was started for men 
struggling with addictions, I shared my 
story and one of the men asked me how I 
stopped hating myself. I said I started 
seeing myself as God sees me without 
Judgment, anger or condemnation, but 
with mercy, love and understanding.
When I wrote my first book my mum 
would not read the part of the book 
where I was so bad as a gangster in 
London, she did not mind reading the 
other parts where I tried to be good and 
had found God. Then she told me she 
had read the bad bits.  When I asked 
what she thought, she started crying and 
said, I thought my poor wounded little boy, 
she did not see me as a monster only a 
hurt little boy making so many bad choices.
And I knew this was a slight reflection of 
how God sees us, with an amazing mercy, 
love, and understanding, as his beautiful 
little boy or girl who have been hurt by 
our sins and other peoples sins and 
needing him to hold us and heal us in his 
forgiveness and love. At the Shrine to our 
Blessed Mother I was able to spend some 
time in prayer and meet good friends.

My last trip was to Munich to give some 
talks at a youth prayer festival, it was very 
blessed with hundred of people going to 
confession, many inner healings of 
forgiveness and self worth. My high point 
was a 22 year old homeless guy who had 
heard me on the radio and came as his 
story was like mine, we met and spent time 
chatting and he made his first confession 
and just cried and cried because he felt 
so loved by God, when I left he stayed on 
to help, and you could see God was going 
to look after him as he had chosen to try 
and put God first in his life.

Please pray for me as I have visits to England,
Los Angeles, Washington and Toronto in the
next few weeks.

You are very much in my heart and prayers,
God bless you in his deep love
John Pridmore


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

OUR HOPE IS IN JESUS CHRIST

Hello everyone

I hope you have had a very blessed and Holy
eastertide! I had a restful time over easter
in Ireland and it was nice to spend 10 days
in our community house. When I reflect
back to when I arrived in Ireland 14 years
ago with a few clothes, a secondhand car
which was given to me and 60 pounds in my
pocket, it has been amazing how God has
provided everything I've needed to do
his most holy will. I have never gone
without a bed or missed a meal (as my
waistline will attest to) When Jesus says
"Do not worry about what you are to eat, or
what you are to wear" it is as true today
as it was 2000 years ago.

After easter I travelled to Birmingham
to speak at a number of schools. It was a
great grace to see Christ being resurrected
in so many young people and their teachers.
One of my greatest joys is to speak in
secondary schools and to bring hope into
young peoples lives about how much God
loves them and how important they are to
him. After speaking in 4 schools to over
1000 young people the emails and feedback
were humbling and is always a reminder
of how God's light shines through our very
brokeness and in our weaknesses God's
strength is made perfect.

One of my friends once said to me, "I am praying
for you to be like St Juan Diego" who by simply
sharing his story converted 10 million
Mexicans. When we share our testimony, we
share God's miracles and he able to create
many more.

When I got back from Birmingham to Ireland
we gave a mission in Mayfield in Cork city.
One of the things that touched me from this
mission was the amount of young people who
came from the school to the amazement of the
some of the parishioners. One parishioner
commented on the radio "You must come to
this mission it was full of skinheads, punks
and young people of every background that
you wouldn't expect to see in a church".

I then travelled to Beaumont in North
Dublin. This is a city parish and the
people are amazingly friendly with a great
love and openness for God. The mission
was very blessed in so many ways and
some of the people came up and told me
how through the mission they felt Jesus
was walking with them even in the pain
of their lives.

When we are going through a tough time
or feel we are failures, it is then that God's
grace is the most powerful. In the worlds
eyes the crucifixion of Jesus was a total
failure but this victory was God conquering
death. Some people in Ireland and the
world feel the recent referendum to open
marriage to homosexual couples was a
failure, but I believe God will use this to
wake up the Irish people into seeing that
God's law cannot be changed. He will also
bring about an overwhelming grace to the
wonderful Holy Sacrament of true marriage
between a man and a woman. As my old
spiritual director Fr Andrew Apostolli from
the CFRs once said to me "If a million people
say this is right, but in God's law it is wrong,
it is still wrong" Our hope as always is in
Jesus Christ.

Having given another mission in Belturbet,
Co Cavan, and speaking at the secondary
school I flew to Newcastle where I gave a
number of talks in schools parishes and a
doctors conference. At this event it was very
inspiring to meet so many doctors and nurses
who stand up for the teachings of the Catholic
Church and will not compromise these ethics
in all that they do in their chosen professions.

In all the parish based missions, schools
and other talks I give I find that there is
an ocean of grace available if I spend
enough time in prayer. More and more I
understand that when we want God
to create miracles then we have to give him
permission and this comes through prayer
and sacrifice.

As Mother Teresa said
"The fruit of silence is prayer,
The fruit of prayer is faith,
The fruit of faith is love,
The fruit of love is service
and the fruit of service is peace"

Please keep me in your prayers over the coming
months as I will be travelling to Denmark, Russia,
Belgium, England, Germany, USA and Canada.

You are very much in my prayers

God bless you in his deep love
John Pridmore

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

PUTTING JESUS IN FIRST PLACE

Hello Everyone


Wishing you a very holy and blessed Easter.


Since the last update the good Jesus has
kept me very busy. Having given a mission
in Turf Lodge, Belfast which was like a
walk down memory lane for me. When I
first came to Ireland some 14 years ago I spent
a lot of time in West Belfast giving retreats
and talks in schools and parishes. The people
are very welcoming and open to the Spirit of
God. In this mission I met some good friends
and it was nice to see the openness again in
the people. Mother Teresa always said that
where there is great persecution there is great
faith.


I then travelled to El Paso in Texas to do a
number of talks in Churches and schools,
and also Juarez and Mexico city across the
border in Mexico. Juarez you might
remember was very much in the headlines
as being the murder capital of the world, with
an average of 10 people being murdered a day
for 4 years. In one of my talks a man came in
who whose face and head were completely
covered with tattoos (which is sign of being
a gang leader) at the end of my talk I went
over to the man and gave him a hug. He
started to weep and told me that he really
struggled in forgiving himself for what he
had done. It turned out that he was a warlord
in charge of a big gang in Juarez and had
changed his life round and was giving talks
in Churches and schools. The man had been
shot 9 times and had ordered the deaths of
many others. We spoke about the incredible
mercy of God and how he was a God who
loves to forgive! I felt in my heart that this
man was going to bring many souls to Jesus.


Juarez was a place of real poverty and yet
the people had a great joy and faith. Again
Mother Teresa's words came back to me,
"Where people are persecuted there is great
faith".


The person who arranged all these talks was
an old friend of mine called Laura who lives
in El Paso with her husband and 4 children.
It was a wonderful grace to be a part of their
family for 2 weeks. During this time I flew
to Mexico city and spoke in a school to 700
boys. It was such a blessing to be able to also
spend some time at Our Lady of Guadalupe's
shrine. Many years previously this was the
image in which I made the first consecration
of my life to Jesus through Mary, leading me
to be able to forgive myself and see myself
as God sees me without judgement or
condemnation, but mercy and understanding.


My next stop was St Patrick's church in Tampa,
Florida where I ran a mission for a week. This
was an amazing parish run by Franciscan
priests. It was such a blessing to see so many
lives touched by the grace of confession and
the Eucharistic healing service. I also had the
privilege of speaking to 500 young people in
St Petersburg, Florida. During this time of
mission there was a mother who was worried
about her 33 year old son who was not
interested in God or the Church. I told her to
go to Mass for 9 days consecutively and pray
a 9 day novena to St Teresa of Avila (Who
is a tough cookie) The mother emailed me to
say that on the 5th day her son had asked her
to take him to confession because he wanted
to change his life. Since then there have been
other miracles when people have prayed the
same novena.


I then came back to Ireland to do a mission
in Bantry, West Cork for an old friend of
mine Fr Sean Crowley. It was a joy to see
Fr Sean as a priest. When I first came to
Ireland, his family were very kind to me and
in those days both Fr Sean and his brother
were farmers.


His brother became Brother Patrick of the
CFRs. We should always be open  to what
God's will in our life is, as both these men
are a great witness in their vocations.


After this I went back across the Atlantic to
speak at the largest men's conference in
America. It is called Men of  Christ and
is held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The
person who helps run this conference, Kevin
O'Brien has become a good friend of mine.
It was very uplifting for me as a man to
see and share our faith with nearly 3000
other men. During the conference I also gave
a talk to the future men, the 14 to 18 year
olds about what it is to put Christ first in
our lives and the response was overwhelming.


Following on from this I gave missions in
Liverpool and then Tonbridge as well as
talks in a London parish and various schools
around the UK. Again the faith was a joy
to see and experience. We have a God who
is not only full of mercy but full of miracles,
when we try to put him in first place in our
lives.


It gives me immense hope at this time of
Holy week, when our humble Christ
poured out his life for us, to see the
wonderful response of so many people in
so many countries who are willing to take
up that same cross and follow our Saviour
to Calvary and to reap the reward of his
resurrection.


During this time of Easter let us try to put
him in first place.


God bless you in his deep love
John Pridmore

Thursday, February 19, 2015

THE LIGHT OF CHRIST

As we are well into 2015 wishing you a very happy 
new year and hoping you are at peace.

Since my Christmas break I started giving a 
number of talks in schools from London, Leicester, 
Stoke, Manchester and Lancashire. This was a two 
week tour with many thousands of the young 
people seeming to be very touched and brought to 
a personal experience of Jesus’ love for them.

One of the high points for me was a school in 
Manchester where after my talk they had priests 
available for confessions and I was told that the 
young people were still going to confession two 
hours after the school had finished, which
showed me the hunger of the 16 to 18 year old 
students to taste God’s mercy and forgiveness.

After this tour I went to Spain with a priest friend 
of mine and gave some talks in Gibraltar at a prison 
and parish which were kindly arranged by Fr Charlie 
who is a parish priest in Gibraltar who I got to know 
as my friend when I ran a youth retreat in the summer 
of last year.

Fr Charlie is a great witness of a priest who 
puts God in first place in his life and seems 
to work tirelessly to bring others to a deeper 
relationship with Jesus. My priest friend who 
travelled with me also gave some talks in 
Spain and Gibraltar.

It often seems strange to me that there has 
only ever been one diocesan priest canonised 
in the history of the Church (St John Vianney) 
I have the privilege of spending quite a lot of 
time staying with diocesan priests around
the world, and must say on the whole they 
are an inspiration to me of men trying to 
live radical lives for Jesus and his teachings.  

When I am travelling it gives me time to 
see the media’s influence on our world 
and I must say that sometimes it is hard 
to keep that hope in Christ’s victory. 
The darkness and evil that seems to be in 
so many countries and situations can bring 
you to a deep despair. However during 
this time of lent we are reminded of how 
much pain, hurt, rejection and fear that our 
Saviour suffered at the  hands of evil, even 
unto death. Only for the glorious light of the 
resurrection to take place and conquer death 
and evil forever.

So it is when I stay focused on the wonder 
of Christ and the hope in his victory that 
the darkness in our world seems to 
evaporate and the light comes pouring in.

Despair, fear and hopelessness knocked on 
the door, faith answered, and there was no 
one there!

We ran two parish missions when I got 
back to Ireland in Tallaght, Co Dublin and 
Allen in Co Kildare and even though it was 
freezing conditions the people came in 
great numbers, which showed me the thirst 
that people have to come closer to God.

I also travelled to Tullow to speak in a 
secondary school and while I was there I 
contacted a priest called Fr Michael kelly 
(who lives near there) He played a big 
part in my conversion over 20 years ago. 
He was the one of the first priests I spoke 
to after my initial encounter with God and 
he told me about the possibility of 
confession and guided me to a youth 
retreat which completely transformed my 
life! This was the first time I had seen him 
since then and it was a joy for me to spend 
some time and chat over a nice meal.

Next I ran a school retreat in the beautiful 
setting of the Franciscan friary at 
Rossknowlagh in Co Donegal. During
the day most of the young people took 
the opportunity to go to confession and I 
hope and pray that it lead them to a deeper 
relationship with Christ.

Please pray for me over the next few 
weeks as I will be travelling to Texas, Tampa, 
Chicago, Juarez, Mexico City, Bantry, 
Liverpool,London and Tonbridge to talk in 
Parishes, schools, youth groups and prisons.

You are very much in my heart and prayers.

God bless you in his deep love

John Pridmore