Thursday, December 15, 2011


Hello Everyone

I hope you are well and at peace

I have just returned to Ireland after a tour of England
and Scotland running parish missions and speaking
in schools across the country.

The last day of the tour I got up early in the morning
and drove two hours to speak in a school at Barrow
in Furness, Cumbria. After the talk was finished I
then drove four hours up to Cairnryan to catch my
ferry to Belfast and by this stage I was looking 
forward to getting home. But when the ferry got to
Belfast and I was in my car ready to drive off, for
some reason the ramp wouldn't open and I was
stuck for two hours, I felt like Jonah in the belly
of the whale. When I eventually got back to our 
house I must admit I was pretty tired and 
discouraged and moaning a bit to God. I went to 
check my emails and the first one I read was the

"Hello, I was at the school today when you did the 
talk. Before you came I was a strong athiest, I 
believed God did not choose me as one he will 
love. But today when you told us to say the prayer 
in the silence of our hearts, my heart felt warm and 
I had such a strong feeling inside me that Jesus was 
very close to me. I now believe there is someone
looking down on me and protecting me. I want a 
crucifix like the one you had today to show God 
suffered out of love for us."

I can honestly say I was blown away by God's 
goodness at that moment, the way he shows us
his grace when we least expect it and when we 
don't deserve it.

Next week I will be meeting a woman called
Betty Brennan, a few years ago I heard her testimony
and it made a deep impact on my life. The thing that
hit me was when she said before she did a talk she was
always very honest with God, and she would give him her 
desire to be loved and accepted by the people she was 
speaking to, also her pride and ego and all the secret 
emotions that we all have. In other words being open 
and vulnerable before God and not pretending that these 
things are not in us. Since then I have always tried to do 
the same. I had a spiritual director called Fr Denis Herlihy 
and he said that all spiritual growth depends on honesty with
ourselves and honesty with God.

One time I was asked to come and help run a youth
retreat and the organiser of the retreat kept telling me
that he loved what I  had done and was going to get me to
speak in many different places where he had connections.
As the week of the retreat went by I noticed that it could
have been run in a way which the kids would have a much
greater chance of a personal encounter with God. I had
a dilemma, should I say something or keep quiet? I went
into the chapel and began to speak to God about it, the
more I prayed the more I felt I should say something, then
I said to God, what if I say something and because of that
I won't be asked to do all these other talks? I felt God
responded, Who do you serve? Who do you think arranges
your schedule, him or me?

I knew what I had to do, I spoke to the man about the changes
that I felt would help and there really was great grace because
of them, but sure enough there was no contact from him from
that time onwards about the talks he had promised. But just a
few weeks later my phone rang and I was invited to come and
speak at the World Youth Day in Sydney to nearly half a million
young people in one talk. I knew that only God could have
arranged it, and he was showing me that when I serve him he
will take care of everything else.

Shortly before that talk took place, I was in a gathering of youth
leaders and we were singing praise to God, around that time I
had been doing a lot of media work with TV and radio and there
was a loads of hype connected with World Youth Day. But during
this time of prayer I felt like a little child kneeling before the throne
of God, naked with nothing between me and that gaze of the Lord,
he could see straight past all the outward things and I felt him say
"It is you that I love!" All I could do was thank him that he would
give someone like me the privilage of speaking on his behalf.

As we approach Christmas and the birth of Jesus, who humbled
himself to come to us as a helpless child and entrusted himself
into the safe arms of Our Lady, I am reminded that every time
I feel down or crushed by the difficulties and pressures of life,
I can go to Our Lady and ask her to hold me in her arms and it 
is there we can always find the peace and strength that we all need.

You and all your loved ones are in my heart and prayers this 

God bless you in his deep love
John Pridmore