Monday, November 22, 2010
I hope you are well and at peace
After spending a few weeks doing talks in different parts
of Australia I travelled back to London and I had the
privilege to go and do a talk to some of the prisoners
in Wandsworth prison. It was a voluntary talk so only
those who wanted to come were present, it was a blessing
to see that 200 men turned up. It was very moving for me
to be able to speak to them because I know what it is like
to be in their situation. As I was speaking I could see some
of them were crying and I hope and pray that it gives them hope
for their own lives. When I was in prison one of the main
ways God spoke to me was through books and at the end of
my talk all of them came to me and got a copy of my book.
The priest Fr Sylvester told me that 5 or 6 of men requested
the chance to go to confession.
Next I travelled to Wales to lead a parish mission in Caerphilly.
As part of this I spoke in the secondary schools. A young lad
took one of my business cards home with him and showed it to his
dad and told him about my life. His dad had been brought up a
Catholic but had drifted away from his faith, but he had started
searching for God in his life. So he ordered one of my books on
the Internet and when he received it he read it in less than a day.
Then he emailed me and asked me what else could he do to come closer
to God, I told him to go to confession and not to be afraid to be
totally honest and also not to be afraid of what the priest might
think because he would just be delighted to see him returning to
God. At this he journeyed down to the next mission we were running
in Porthcawl and he attended a healing service. During this he went
to confession for the first time in 23 years. As he left confession
Breda (our musician) began to sing amazing grace and he said he
didn't just sing the words he really heard them in his heart and he
said from then on he was coming back to mass.
It is amazing to see that after the talks how many young people
contact me on facebook to share their struggles and to ask questions.
After one school in Manchester more 60 students made contact.
It shows me just how powerful a tool for good that facebook can
This week I have been running a Parish mission in Moss Side in
Manchester. The Priest here is Fr Pat Deegan, he is originally
from Dublin but has lived in England for a long time now. We
had a healing service on the Tuesday night and while I was
praying before the talk I felt God asking me to speak about
forgiveness. One of the hardest people for me to forgive in my
life was myself. I shared the story of a friend of mine called
Jimmy, and when he was a young man he was put in prison for a
violent crime and he said as the judge sentenced him he laughed
out loud in front of the whole courtroom to keep up his image of
a hardman. But that night as they locked him in his cell he cried
himself to sleep. The years passed and Jimmy was in and out of
prison and fell deeper and deeper into the world of drugs and
violence. A number of things happened to Jimmy including nearly
dying from a drugs overdose and he knew God was asking him to
change his life. One day he came to hear me speak at Our Lady's
shrine of Knock in Ireland and he ended up going to confession.
He came back to his faith and changed the way he was living
completely. The only problem was that he couldn't forgive himself
for his past, he had a son called Shane who was 8 years old and
he couldn't let the boy close to him because he felt so unworthy
to be able to love him, so he just used to give him money. But
of course the boy was in need of affection. One day Jimmy went on
pilgrimage to Medjugorje (where it is claimed that Our Lady has
been appearing since 1981). He was praying the Rosary at the grave
of a very Holy priest called Fr Slavko (who was the first priest
I ever went to confession to) and while he was praying Our Lady
appeared to him and he said she looked at him with such a tender
love that it melted his heart, then she said "Jimmy, why can you
not forgive yourself? my son died on the cross for you 2000 years
ago, Forgive yourself!" at this he began to cry and the floodgates
of God's love and healing were opened in his heart. When he came
home from there for the first time in his life he was able to hold
his son Shane and tell him that he loved him. you should see the
two of them together now, I have seldom seen a Father and so who
are so close.
After the healing service many people shared with me how much
this had helped them to let go of things from their past. I am
convinced that God doesn't want us stuck in the past, once we
have confessed our sins we should let them go forever, they no
longer exist in Gods eyes and he wants us to have the joy
of innocence once again.
I am heading back to Ireland now, I have been on the road for
nearly 3 months and it will be a great blessing to get back to
my own bed for once. Please keep me in your prayers as I have
quite a few talks and Parish missions before Christmas.
You are very much in my heart and prayers.
God bless you in his deep love
Posted by John Pridmore