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
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