I hope you are well and at peace.
After returning from my Christmas break I travelled
to Macclesfield to run a two week school mission.
It was a breath of fresh air to find a headmaster and
teachers whose greatest desire was that the students
understand the love of God for them. Each day we
began by praying together with members of staff
and this brought about a great unity among us.
The whole aim of the mission was to show the young
people their self worth and how important they are
to God. Over the course of the two weeks we spoke
to around 1000 students and about two thirds of these
went to confession. It was beautiful to see how open
they were to the grace of God and there were many
tears of healing.
To each group we showed a clip from the film Romero
where Archbishop Oscar Romero was seen risking his
life to retrieve Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament from
a Church that the soldiers had turned into a barracks.
The amazing thing was that after a couple of days we
discovered that the wing of the school where we were
running the retreats was named after Archbishop Romero.
Next we travelled back to Ireland to run a parish mission
in Straide, Co Mayo. Even though it is one of the smallest
parishes in the country it was beautiful to see the Church
packed every evening with people having to stand to
because there wasn't enough space. The parish priest Fr
Martin prayed with us during our Holy hour each day
and after the services we had a blessed time of fellowship
with him. It reminded me once again that where there is
a unity of spirit there is always an outpouring of God's
Recently my great friend and spiritual director Fr Denis
Herlihy passed away. He was a true man of God and
through him the Lord brought me immense healing
and wise guidance. He was someone that wanted
everyone to know the love of Christ and he wasn't
afraid to proclaim him from the rooftops. I have felt
his presence and his prayers with me and I believe
I have a friend in heaven. There is one thing he said to
me that I will never forget "All spiritual growth depends
on honesty with yourself and honesty with God." I
think when we are honest and real with God we give
him permission to transform our lives and to not ever
feel that we need to hide anything from him.
The next mission was at Tallaght in Dublin and before
we arrived members of the parish got together and they
went out in 36 groups of 2 people to knock on every
door in the parish (over 3,000 homes) to personally
invite the people. They told me that many of them felt
apprehensive beforehand wondering what kind of
reception they would meet. But it was an
overwhelmingly positive response, with many people
being deeply moved by the fact that someone would
go to the trouble to personally invite them.
Because of this effort a lot of people came that hadn't
been to Church in years and I heard some incredible
stories of how God had touched their lives during the
week and rekindled their faith. Once again it showed
me that where there is a unity of purpose among God's
people, miracles will happen.
One man told me that he went to confession during the
mission after being away from the Sacrament for a long
time. When he returned home that night he saw that there
5 missed calls on his phone. Amazingly the calls where
from an old friend of his with whom he had fallen out.
He called him and they arranged to meet up the next day
where they completely reconciled their differences. As
he told me this his face was full of joy and wonder at
what God had done. I think when we reconcile ourselves
with God he wants to bringing healing to every aspect
of our lives.
You are very much in my heart and prayers, please keep
me in yours.
God bless you in his deep love