I hope you are well. I am writing to thank you for your continued support and prayers for my work of evangelisation and to keep you informed of all the graces which area fruit of those prayers. Since last March I have run 25 parish missions in Scotland, England, Ireland, the United States and Australia and I have been able to travel to several other countries including Spain and Germany to speak at various conferences, retreats, schools and prisons.
After one of these missions in Peterborough the Parish priest told me that 8 new people joined the RCIA program and wanted to become Catholic. Here follows what he thought of the mission
“A month has passed since the mission here at All Souls. I would like to express my wholehearted gratitude for all the hard work during those days of grace. For five nights parishioners were pouring into the Church to listen to talks on the mystery of God’s love, God’s Mercy, God’s healing, God’s gift of Mary and the Holy Spirit. During those evenings they have found the closeness of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, listening to talks on the theme, with adoration, music and scripture readings. The students of our Catholic schools were visited and were so happy to listen to the uplifting and inspirational testimonies on God’s love and came to the church to listen to even more talks. Peterborough prison was also visited with more than 50 inmates inspired by John’s words of humility and sincerity. The people of my parish still talk about the mission and I can see some faces of those who have not been at Mass for a long time. I would recommend John Pridmore to any parish thinking of a mission”
Fr Adam Sowa, Parish Priest St Peter and All Souls Catholic Church, Peterborough
During the visit to Peterborough prison that Fr Adam mentioned, after I had finished speaking I felt inspired to give a copy of my life story to one particular prisoner (it was the only copy I had with me) A couple of days afterwards I was contacted by the Sister who works in the prison and she told me that the man who I had given the book to was in prison for life, he had already served 15 years and had no prospect of release. She visited his cell the day after my talk and she said he fell to his knees in front of her and told her he had read the book in one night and wanted to become a Catholic. This shows you the power of your prayers for our ministry that God can reach into the heart of even the most forgotten of his children and draw them back to him.
I think one of the most important aspects of our work is visiting schools and witnessing to the young people that God is very real and he loves them and can transform their lives. The following are some typical emails I have received recently from Irish schools
“Hi John, I'm 16 years old and I attend a school you recently spoke at. I really wanted to thank you for the speech you gave, it was truly amazing and inspiring! Sorry if this sounds silly but it really did bring a tear to my eye! Your story made me rethink every wrong I've ever done and think about something positive I could've done instead in each situation. Being honest I've never really thought much about my religion, I don't attend church regularly and sometimes I take most of my privileges for granted... I can relate to how you felt as a child/teenager as I had a difficult time as a young child. Not for the exact same reasons as you but something similar and listening to your story made me realize I'm not alone and I'm not the only one going through a rough time and there is in fact someone at this very second going through something much worse than me and so I should be grateful for all I have! I've never usually turned to God or prayed much and I know I was baptized and confirmed a catholic but I would really like to get in touch with my religious side from now on so I've decided I'm going to attend at least one mass every weekend! I really would like to thank you for this, you never really know how much someone's background story could change a person so quickly!”
“Hey John, I just wanted to send an email to say thank you. I'm a Catholic myself but I was never brought up to go to mass or pray to God, I was baptized and made my communion but I never had any faith or belief. For years now I've been trying to decide whether I want to continue being Catholic or become atheist and I decided I would become atheist in my own mind. I had never felt or seen any presence of God and Jesus, I never felt special or particularly wanted so I never had faith. When you arrived in our school and we were told what you were here for I instantly turned to my friend and said "Oh here we go, listen to this nonsense for a whole class now". I was soon to find out how that all changed, I realized how powerful and motivating your speech was. This made me think that maybe I didn't give God a chance to show me that he is there with me, maybe he mightn't show me but I know now that he is always there watching and loving whether he shows you or not, and just because you don't feel loved and not special, that doesn't mean you aren't loved less by God and that he will always accept you for who you are whether you made good or bad decisions in life. You've made me notice that God is always there to listen, he will never judge you, laugh at you or tell you that you're useless or too emotional, he will simply listen to you and show you the way to a better life as he did so to you. My grandfather is very religious, He attends mass every Saturday and Sunday, I have asked to join him every Sunday to attend Mass. I'm inspired by you to build a better relationship with God, let him know that I am willing to allow him into my life as I shut him out before. I want to ask him for forgiveness as I didn't give him the chance to help me in my life. I refused to say prayers and I didn't even participate in the prayer you said but the second you were finished speaking, I promised myself that I would go home and make a bigger effort, go to Mass and pray, to go and make up for my mistakes through prayer. Although God doesn't mind, I feel like I owe him an apology”
I have always believed that the more we give the more we receive. It is a complete privilege and honour that I do not deserve to speak on behalf of Jesus, but it is all Jesus, as he is the source, the beginning and end, the alpha and the omega. I meet many people who become social workers rather than ministers of God’s grace because they forget that it is Jesus who they serve and care more about what people think than what God wants. The way we never forget is through daily prayer, regular confession, receiving the Eucharist as often as possible and never letting go of Our Lady’s hand which is the rosary that keeps us connected to Christ. As St John the Baptist said “I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals” I thank God every day for bringing me to his world of light and giving me the grace to try and serve him each day.
Please pray that I do not get in the way of what Jesus wants me to do.
God bless you in his deep love
John Pridmore Parish Mission | Catholic Speaker