Originally posted 25/03/2008 10:40:38
I hope you and your loved ones are having a truly blessed Easter season. Over the past two weeks I have been giving Parish missions in two places in Ireland. The first one was in Killiney, Co. Dublin, in the parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel. It was my first week back after the Easter Holidays and it was a real joy and grace to be able to give my testimony there, and see so many people coming out to support the mission.
The following night, was a night dedicated to God’s Mercy and 9 priests came to hear the confessions of more than 500 people. Many of the priests were touched and told me afterwards that it was a great experience to see so many people coming back to God and experiencing His loving touch in their lives. During these missions, it is always in the sacrament of Reconciliation where lives and hearts are touched in such a deep and profound way that we can experience the freedom that God wants us to have. He created us to be happy and have the fullness of life and by opening our hearts to God and his tender mercy for us, we can come to experience Jesus in such a way that our lives are never the same.
Later in the week, I gave a talk on the Gift of Mary. And of the five nights of the mission, this one holds a special place in my heart. Mary really comes with her peace, and she brings her love for each of her children. The more I give my heart to Mary, the more I know I am growing closer to Jesus. Recently a man told me that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are quite different in the way that they are written, when compared to the Gospel of John. The Gospel of John has a unique touch, and a beautiful insight into the heart and love of Jesus. This is because after Jesus was crucified and rose again, St. John took Mary into his home and she lived the rest of her life on earth with him. She would have shared with him many things about Jesus that only she would know as his mother for carried Him in her womb, raised Him, and watched Him die and be resurrected for our sins. So when we make time to know Mary in a deeper way in our hearts, our hearts are opened to that love and insight that Mary has of Jesus.
Last week I was in Kilbeg, Co. Meath, beginning another five- night mission in the parish there. On the Monday night, I was touched to see the church so full that even the front porches and galleries were stacked full of people who came along to the mission. Many students from the Primary and Secondary schools of the parish came and brought with them other family members, making it a special week for the renewal of family prayer. On the Thursday night each person received a prayer placard with different devotional prayers, as a little reminder of the importance of taking time out of our busy schedules to make room to speak to God and one another as families. There was a famous priest who went around Ireland preaching missions, and promoted the Rosary, who said, ‘A family that prays together, stays together.’ Maybe each of us can make that extra effort during this Easter season to spend time in prayer and thanksgiving to God for all that He has done in our lives and the lives of those whom we know.
I am very much looking forward to my trip to Australia with XT3 for World Youth Day. Also there is much excitement over the new website XT3.com which is a safe place to meet new people, and find out all that will be happening over in Sydney in July. I would ask your prayers for all of the people, young and not so young, who will be travelling to Australia to celebrate with Pope Benedict XVI, World Youth Day 2008, and that this time would be one of grace, blessing, and renewal for all. You are in my prayers daily, and I thank your for your prayers.
May God Bless you in His Deep Love,