Originally posted 12/02/2008 15:25:52
I hope you and your families are well and at peace. Over the past few weeks I have just finished parish missions in Banbridge, Co. Down, Ballygawley, Co. Tyrone. Each of theses weeks came with many graces and blessings, and was a privilege to be a part of them.
During the week in Banbridge, the curate of the parish shared the following with me. He said how he did not hold out much hope that people would come to confession during the reconciliation service, and was not looking forward to that part of the mission. But as the night began people began to flock to confession and many people who had been away for many years came to him and he and the other 8 visiting priests were hearing confessions for two hours non-stop. He said how touched he was to see people coming back to Jesus with such honest and sincere hearts. As the week went on I spoke in the local secondary school to the students there and shared my story with them. On the Wednesday I went and spoke in Hyde Bank Young Offenders Prison in Belfast. It was a privilege to speak to so many of the prisoners about the love and mercy of God. I spoke to them about how only Jesus can bring fulfilment and peace into our lives, and that His great love for us has bought for us the free gift of redemption.
As the week carried on the attendance at the 7am and 10am mass increased each day, as word spread about the mission. Many of the students from the primary and secondary schools came along and took part in the evening devotions, and it was great to see so many of them there. As the week came to an end, I travelled to Ballygawley, Co. Tyrone, to begin a mission the following week. It was a great week for a mission as we made our way further into the season of Lent, and right from the start the crowds at the 7 am and 10 am masses were incredible with more than 200 people attending each of them. Each of the mission evenings, the church was filled to capacity as people came out in great numbers to support the mission.
I thank God for His faithfulness and love that creates so many miracles during these missions and changes so many lives when they encounter Him in a new way.
I have just begun a new mission in Palmerstown, Co. Dublin last night and it will be carrying on throughout the week each evening at 7:30. Tomorrow I will be speaking to more than 200 students in the local secondary school, so I ask you to please keep that in your prayers, that the young people may see God’s hand in their lives and know that His love for them is real and always there.
I have found that this time of Lent has been a real blessing for me, as I try to rely more on God and His will for my life. We can always look to the example Jesus left us of how to follow God’s will for our lives, and practice living as He did. He lived completely for God, and He served with all of His heart and being. He came to show us how to love God and love neighbour. His great love for us is without end, and is always reaching out to help us whenever we fall, or feel down. As we continue to journey with Him through Lent and towards Easter, I pray that our hearts may become more like His, and give freely of ourselves the gift of love that we have received from Him.
I remember you all in my prayers daily, and I thank you for the prayers and emails you have shared with me. Please keep me in your prayers, especially for my health, as at the moment I feel quite tired.
May God Bless you and your families in His Deep Love, and may the Love of Our Lady watch over and guide you all.