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Showing posts from July, 2017

WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS: The Marriage of Brian and Jenny Kirby

Saying "I do!" The vows witnessed by Jesse and Peter Sitting on the pier in Hastings this Sunday afternoon in the face of a mighty wind, drinking coffee that is fast going cold, eating cake, I can feel the sea beneath me crashing; I can see it through the gaps of the decking. It’s lovely to mull over the good things that have happened the past few days – all associated with Brian and Jenny’s wedding. I think of the baby that I blessed in his mother Evelyn's womb; the baby born whom I have always loved and, so present was I in his first few days that some of the nurses thought I was his dad. I think of the boy, the youth who always retained a kind of innocent wonder, having a truly loving and lovable nature. And I see the man standing at the top of St. Joseph’s church – waiting for his bride to arrive. The excited nervousness of him! When Jenny finally arrives, fairly much on time, accompanied by her mother Frances and she and Brian hold hands there is alr


“God of mercy and compassion, slow to anger,  O Lord, abounding in love and truth, turn and take pity on me.” (Psalm 86) The dates are different but it happened on this Sunday in July 2008. My mother was in hospital in Merlin Park during, what turned out to be, her final illness. I had asked the nurse if it would be alright for me to celebrate Mass in Mam’s room and she said, “why don’t you say it in the day room for all the patients.” So it was! I came in the morning to help Mam get ready for Mass and she said to me, “I can’t pray”- something that is very common during sickness and old age. I told her not to worry about it because it’s written in the Bible that, when we are not able to pray, the Holy Spirit prays within us. He is in every breath we take and every breath becomes a prayer. I hadn’t done any preparation for Mass so I didn’t know what the readings were and there to my delight was the very thing I had said to Mam. Paul’s letter to the Romans 8:26-27 “T


Forty five years ago I spent the summer working in London. It was my first time hearing Alice Cooper and ‘School’s Out’ was big that year. Today in Hastings school’s out again and I was up in Sacred Heart to celebrate the Leavers Mass – the senior boys and girls who are mostly moving on to St. Richards, a Catholic School in Bexhill. I still don’t know if they call it Secondary School here. I love children. And the whole school of them was there, plus the parents of the leavers. Yet still I have to brace myself when going into a school. Brace myself, dig deep and stretch myself beyond what I think I’m capable of. It must be something unresolved from my own childhood, though I won’t be going into that too much. Asking the children what they remember from their first day at school, one lad said that he felt scared. And I said that’s what I felt on my first day. And they all laughed when I told them that I spent the whole day screaming. Which is true! I never like


Angel feathers Falling at my feet Four Brothers Standing on the shore No more will seagulls Fly with them to sea Their fishing days Are at an end Discarded fast-food papers The meager pickings Of bird and man Made homeless On the seafront In the doorways Of this teeming Tourist town Hunger brings him To my door "Thank you" he said "For not making me feel Ashamed"

THE HOPE OF BEING FREED: The Seed That Falls On Rich Soil

Listening to – or reading - the Word of God, it is good to ask the Holy Spirit to help us hear one word or phrase that strikes a chord, a word that finds resonance within. And having found that word to sit with it in silent prayer and allow it to address the reality of our lives as they are. When I sat with the readings in preparation for this Sunday the one phrase that resonated with me was from the second reading from Romans 8:18-23, “...the hope of being freed...” I will sit with this word and let it do what God has sent it to do in my life trusting what is written in Isaiah 55:10-11,   ‘As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.’ Charismatic renewal in the 1970’s was one of the greatest event

Each One There Has One Thing Shared

Tamanrasset! I’ve flown over it many times in my long distance travelling days, seeing its name on the live flight map on the screen at the back of the seat in front of me. Of all the names written on those maps, this is the one that has registered. As if something of this oasis city rose up from the Algerian desert to find a place in my heart for no particular reason. It’s in my mind this late evening as I walk the seafront in Hastings mulling over the couple of days just past. Everyone is watching the full moon, its brilliance on the green water. Everyone except the young man with green mirror shades. He’s playing a Spanish guitar, looking in my direction. Those of us mesmerized by the moon are attempting to capture it on camera but it never works. The woman with the long grey hair is right – it never comes out as good in a photo. So why don’t I just leave it alone to be what it is? Something in me wants to possess and preserve the beauty but possessiveness is always futil

CONFESSOR (Word of Mercy)

Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive Mercy (Matthew 5:7) He meets himself On the other side Of the grille Face hidden Sins revealed He listens To his own Struggles Spoken from the depths Another The hopelessness That they will endure To the end of days Without respite With Hope In the person Of Christ He speaks the Word Of Mercy Into the contrite Silence Now The only moment That matters Be at peace my soul O my soul be at peace