Great News! A New House
As you can see on the front cover of this Newsletter we have printed a picture of the new Retreat House. Yes, the House in Ballina finally belongs to Jesus!
Thank you all so much for all your support which made this possible.
Some of the servants have been going up and down to this House in recent weeks, to work on it. The following is a short report from one of them.
A lot of work
In the last two weeks I have been to the new Retreat House in Ballina and, as I come from Blacksod, near Belmullet, it was like going home!
The House needs a lot of work done, as do most of Jesus’ Houses! I think Jesus wants them like this so that He can have them fixed to accommodate His wishes. Also those of us who are doing the work will do it to His Instructions and not let our own ideas in.
The lane way to the House is about half a mile long and it is rough! So far, there has been one hundred and twenty tons of stone bought to put around the House. The lane way still has to be done and then it will be concreted. To concrete the lane it will cost about 5,000 euros.
Setting them up
Whenever we buy a new House the cost of setting them up, as in getting a kitchen in working order, bedrooms organised to sleep in, setting up a Prayer Room etc., can be quite expensive. However in this House, the previous owner left a lot of furniture and this has helped a lot. Also, a friend of the House here in Cookstown, Mark, got us a lot of office furniture which can be used in the kitchen.
The previous owner also had four horses and as he had nobody to take them, we kept them on, only to find that one of them is pregnant and due very soon! We never know what is going to happen next!
Jesus has called His House Resurrection. It is in a beautiful setting and it is so peaceful.
It is to be a private Retreat House, and at this time it is for servants only as there is so much work needing done. I thank Jesus for this House and everybody who made it happen to help make His Dream come true.
I love You, Jesus.
Once again, we sincerely thank you from our hearts for your giving to Jesus. Of course we will keep you updated as the work progresses and let you know when the new foal arrives!
The Patricks have asked for your prayers for the Villa del Sagrado Corazón also. This is a House that Jesus wants and, as yet, it is not signed for. We hope that when the holidays are over, after 7 January, we will get a date for the signing.
At the beginning of December, Patrick, along with a few others, went to Africa to visit a friend of the House, called Evans, who is training to be a priest.
However, Patrick had felt that there was more to this trip than just meeting Evans, and when Jesus gave the Message on Friday 18 December, we were to see why! He has Plans for another House there!
Inside is a report on their time there.
The concert we previously told you about was a great success, thank God. There are reports about it inside this Newsletter.
Message for Africa Friday 18 December 2009
My children, I Love you and I thank you for what you have done for Me. My Words of Love have now been firmly planted in the hearts of many here, they recognise Me in the Words you speak. You have been the instruments that I have used to strew Blessings like flowers all along the Way.
My House is here and I will ask you to return to procure it for Me. I ask of you to be patient for there is more that I must do before that I let you do it. Be patient, I ask this of you.
Through this House, I will open up the world so that I may further My Way into it. This country has many troubles and My Love is the answer to those troubles. Here I will open a Spring of Love and I will let it flow into the barren deserts. The heights will be flattened to make way for My Love. Wait for Me, children, and I will honour My Word in you.
24 December 2009
For Christmas Day
Children of Mine, I Love you. Today, I open My Most Sacred Heart and I give you My Light and My Love in this dark time in this world. It is My Blessing to you on this Christmas. My Heart is open and shines forth its Light like My Birthplace was open to all those who came to visit Me. Each presented Me a gift and each left with the Gift of My Love. My Heart is open wide to you to come and receive My Love. I Love you. Remember Me this Christmas.
Who are SonLight?
For many years the people in the House of Prayer prayed for a music ministry and since the House opened many people have been involved in forming this. In 2003, Patrick began receiving songs from Jesus. As he did not believe he had any musical talent and was embarrassed to sing in front of others, he asked Jesus to explain what was happening and He replied:
“…The expression that I have made in the music is what I want My children to hear. Some of these songs will suit some and others will suit others. I give them to make My children understand more about Me. I give happy songs and I give loving songs because all these expressions are what is within My Heart. They seem simple but they carry a depth that allows the soul to speak rather than the body. As you sang the words with the melody, did you not feel it? I have given here what I wished the soul to express…as you come close to Me, I bring out in you the Gifts that I have given to you when you were conceived. As I have told you before, you listen to Me and through that willingness, I can express Myself through Messages, songs, words…” Tuesday 4 February 2003.
Over the last year and a half Jesus has slowly brought a group together to be part of a committed music ministry for His House. They are a mixture of servants and friends of the House and between them they sing and play piano, bass, guitar and drums. Jesus said that He was the Son and He shone His Light through them so they would be called SonLight.
SonLight’s main purpose is to bring Jesus to people through music.
During the month of August the group played at Mass every Sunday because the regular church musicians were on holiday. SonLight were very surprised at the positive feedback they received and delighted that Jesus’ Words seemed to be touching hearts.
It was at this point that Jesus inspired Patrick to put on a concert to promote His songs. We were not sure how to go about this but Jesus had it all planned! Initially we put together a list of songs and decided to use the Prayer Room as the venue and invite people to attend. Everybody was favourable, as they felt comfortable in the Prayer Room and there had recently been a new sound system installed. One of the young men, Michael, who installed the system very kindly agreed to do the sound for the concert for us which was a great relief as it meant each voice would be heard properly with the music.
Everything falling into Place
Rehearsals took place three times a week and for most of the group it was the first time they had ever done anything like this so Patrick thought it would be a good idea if we had a practise concert. This took place in the dining room and anyone in the House at the time was welcome to watch. And guess what! Jesus just happened to have a choreographer, Jake, in the House at the time. Jake spent a bit of time with us teaching us simple moves which we could all do in unison that would make all the difference to our overall appearance. We couldn’t believe this! It seemed that Jesus had His own ideas of what He wanted!
As preparations continued we were still in need of a lead guitarist for a few of the songs and could not get one. We asked Michael if he knew anybody and he said he would ask a member of his band. Meanwhile a friend of Jake’s called William came to visit him at the House of Prayer and it turned out that William played guitar and banjo and was very happy to get involved. A few weeks later Michael turned up with his guitarist David so we were sorted. Jesus had answered our prayers, sending us not one but two great musicians! He was taking care of everything. He even sorted out the clothes we would wear on the night. One of the servants handmade four beautiful dresses.
As time went on it became more apparent that Jesus was taking over the whole thing! The local chapel, a beautiful building, is getting renovations done and obviously needs funds. The priests were asking for fund-raising ideas from the parishioners so we thought we could maybe use our concert to raise funds for the church. When we asked the priests about our idea they suggested that we use Saint Brigid’s Parochial Hall so that more people could come.
This was getting scary! It was now serious business for our music ministry! Now the concert was going to be far more open to the public and it was only a matter of weeks away.
However, we needn’t have worried for Jesus was in complete control. We continued with our practices and because of the support of the caretaker, Tommy, we were even able to rehearse in the hall a few times.
All went well
Although we were all nervous in the days before the concert, the evening went perfectly. Having Michael not only doing the sound but also controlling the lighting was fantastic. It added so much to the overall performance.
We just went out there, put our trust in Jesus, and He did the rest.
The most beautiful thing was that Jesus was the focal point throughout the evening. In the middle of the stage, stood a large wooden cross, brightly lit up and shining in the darkness. How apt!
Thank You, Jesus, for everything!
Comments made by servants
There was quite a few people there before the concert started and the hall filled up by the time it started. There was lots of young people and old too. There was a great buzz in the air.
The theme of the concert came over very strongly - that Jesus wants to reach out through these songs with His Message that only He can heal us and steer us through these troubled times. The performers overcame their nerves to deliver these inspirational songs very powerfully and the two standing ovations at the end seemed to signify the Holy Spirit had really broken through. The many nights of preparation by both the servants and the guest performers, had paid off.
Many in the approximately one hundred and seventy strong audience will have been hearing these original songs, inspired by Jesus for the first time.
What struck me at the concert was the atmosphere, the feeling, something was happening; this to me was the Holy Spirit working. The arrangement on the stage of the piano, banjo, guitarists, drummer and the singers was perfect, it looked awesome.
In the centre, at the back, was a large wooden cross with a blue light effect and it seemed to shine out on us. There was a beautiful arrangement of fresh flowers on two stands either side of the Cross and three more at the front of the stage.
The singers were in beautiful dresses: red, blue, purple and black and the instrumentalists in black shirts and black trousers.
All the Words of the songs really touched me, especially ‘I Will Lead You’ and ‘Tongues of Fire.’ It was a special night as Jesus’ Words through song, given through Patrick, touched, healed and moved everyone’s hearts.
Truly, Jesus did shine on us: I look forward to a copy of the DVD please!
All the hymns invoked a range of emotions ranging from joy to contemplation. All who attended thoroughly enjoyed the evening as was evident by their rapturous applause.
There was lots of clapping and singing along, really good vibes! The people of Cookstown who came to support the fund-raising made positive comments like “I want to hear them sing at Mass” and “they look fantastic.” They loved the tea-break also and said it was a surprise. They loved the variety of songs.
The concert was brilliant. Those involved put everything they had into it. And through their giving the Word was placed into the hearts of those present. There were two standing ovations at the end which proved how good it was.
You wouldn’t have believed that some of those performing had never been on a stage in their lives! The sound was amazing, the people loved it. The atmosphere in the hall was electric. The singers were on top form. Jesus got the concert He wanted because it was all taken out of our hands and it took on a life of its own!
The concert was fantastic! Each one seemed to be giving their all to Jesus and it got through to the audience who responded in the same way. I was deeply touched by the whole performance.
I had been to a few of the practises in the dining room which were very good but on the night, I was really surprised at how professional it was all done - the singing, the lighting and the stage setting.
One thing that I loved so much was there was a large cross on the stage and the lighting effects kept lighting up the cross in a beautiful colour. To me it was like Jesus was the centre of the whole night, and He certainly excelled Himself by the way the songs were sung because we know the girls were very nervous and had never done anything like this before. But nothing is impossible to God!
Tuesday 24 November was a night when Saint Brigid’s Parochial Centre, Cookstown, the venue for Sonlight’s first concert, came to life. It was their first public concert ever and all the proceeds were to go forward to the local Church Renovations in the Parish. It was hard work, nerve wrecking for all, but very, very exciting. The Music Ministry would have previously played at the local 12.00pm Mass but, with this, Jesus was pushing them further into “new grounds.”
The weeks and months leading up to the concert required long hours of rehearsals and demanded one hundred percent dedication. But even in those many hours of giving you could feel that something beautiful was beginning to grow and was about to burst forth for the Glory of God.
After many practises, venue organising and decorating, compilation, arranging and packaging of CDs, printing of posters and tickets, ticket selling, sound checks…..the big night had finally arrived and we all just hoped that all would go well. The Music Ministry were stepping out with Jesus and His Words. Stepping out in faith and into the great unknown to Minister to His people.
The hall was three quarters full which, on estimation, is between one hundred and fifty to one hundred and seventy people. This was a great turn out as first performances go. The stage was beautiful. The gently illuminated Cross of Jesus was there behind the Music Ministry throughout the performance as though He was directing and guiding – overseeing everything.
It was time for the girls and the musicians to come onto the stage. The girls looked lovely in their colourful, satin dresses and the band in the background wore black. I felt for them at this moment as I knew that for most of them it was their first time doing something as big as this. As well as sing they also had to compère and introduce the songs they were about to sing. But of course with the Presence of the Holy Spirit it all flowed quite naturally, thank God.
The songs poured forth into the audience with their beauty and their blessings finding homes in hearts. They illuminated, they filled with joy, they gave expression to our inner love of God that is often so difficult to express. They showed us how to follow Jesus and what true joy it is to follow Him and to know Him. They taught us that He needs us and though we don’t know what to do or say that He will lead us. He taught us how Jesus wishes to live in us so that He can minister His Love through us if we only give Him our hands and feet and lips. They taught us of the sure refuge that is always there for us in His Sacred Heart. They invited us and challenged us to go out to minister to His children armed with His Holy Spirit.
The audience loved it! They clapped, they swayed to the rhythm. They cried, they cheered, they sang along. They had received the Word of God and they embraced it!
All of the songs, with the exception of one, had been inspired by Jesus through Patrick Rushe and arranged by Aine Flynn and Patrick. Because each were inspired by Jesus, each of them had a Message - the Music Ministry just had to deliver it. I just hope and pray that all present at the concert go forth in Love and make His Words live in us.
Sonlight recorded the songs played at the concert and they’re now on CD. This is available to buy for just £10.
There is now a DVD of the concert available. It is priced £12
46 James St.,Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, BT80 8LT, Northern Ireland.
Phone (+44) 02886766377
Halloween Night Vigil Saturday
31 October 2009
“My children, I ask you to come away from the darkness of this world, it is time to see the Truth. Too long I have waited for your response to Me. I tell you, My children, My Love for you is great but you do not take on this Love of Mine. No longer do you care for Me. Can you not see, children, the darkness that you now live in? Look at this night, a night of terror, when lucifer and his dominions are celebrated openly in this world. It is a night of spirits, a night of worship when the people, who worship lucifer, come out of their nests and create many acts of darkness. Many sacrifices are given to him on this night but do you care, children? You go out into your streets and celebrate this night, as if it were any other night. You are blind, you can no longer see the Ways of My Spirit. My Love is dead within your lives. Alas, My children, My Pain is great when I look at you. So much has been given and so little received in return. I Love you, children, and I call you back from the pool of darkness that you now stand at, that, that is about to engulf the entire earth and you do nothing. I Love you.” Thursday 31 October 2002
Do we care?
It is in response to this Message that we have a vigil on Halloween night. This year we began the night with lots of songs of praise and throughout we prayed Rosaries and Chaplets, had time for sharing and quiet time. It was very moving and a privilege to be part of it, to make reparation to Jesus and let Him know that we do care. Maybe you could help keep this date free and join us next year.
Christ the King
Sunday 22 November 2009
“...I am your God; I am Love. See Me as King of your heart. Allow Me to rest there; cling to Me...” Sunday 19 January 1992
With this Message firmly in our hearts we celebrated the Feast of Christ the King. Our prayer during the Day was centred on Jesus and how He should always be first in our lives, King of our hearts.
Sunday 29 November 2009
The Feast of Saint Cecilia was the Sunday after our concert and we were still on a high after that and had a lot to thank her and Jesus for as the concert was so successful. It was a beautiful and spiritual day and the first time the music ministry sang together on the new altar. Saint Cecilia is the Patron Saint of music and one of the servants spoke about her life and how she died a martyr in Roman times for her faith. We also thanked Jesus for giving us His Words in songs through the Messages of Love and for the privilege of playing and singing them.
Walk Against Abortion Saturday
5 December 2009
During the Hour of Mercy 3pm to 4pm, the Walk Against Abortion took place on the usual route around Cookstown. The Walk is held in silence to represent the silent holocaust that abortion is.
Many friends of the House came in solidarity to accompany the servants to pray for mercy for the perpetrators of abortion, those in pain because of their experience of abortion and particularly for the unborn who are murdered.
Many banners and images were displayed showing the evilness of abortion. Small images were handed out to the Saturday afternoon shoppers. ‘Never felt the Wind,’ the Song given by Jesus for His aborted children, was sung, traffic grounded to a halt as drivers and passengers listened to the Words. All who participated had a cup of tea on return, followed with the Baptism of the Unborn in the Prayer Room.
Feast of the
Tuesday 8 December 2009
After Mass at 10am, we began the Day with the 12 o’clock prayers. Then prayers at 3pm, 6pm and 8.30pm. Mary asked that all the prayers offered up this Day should be for those who are aborted. So we did this and added to each prayer time the baptism of the unborn to remind us of all the babies that were murdered during the prayer day and every day.
Saint John of the Cross Monday
14 December 2009
As normal on a Feast Day falling during the week within the House of Prayer, the first prayers of the Day were at 12 o’clock. Following the prayers, a servant read a short few paragraphs about Saint John of the Cross and his earlier years. It was interesting to find out that he was very fond of his brother who had some health problems and was very kind to him.
When he was imprisoned, John developed a very intimate relationship with Jesus and learned of the deep inner life of the soul, he learned a lot about dying to self and offering all to Jesus.
Events to Come
The Day of Love
Weekend : Saturday 16 January and Sunday 17 January 2010
The Day of Love is always the most important Day of Prayer in our Calendar here in the House of Prayer. Jesus called for this Day to celebrate His Love and to invite people to come and join us. Music will be provided by SonLight Music and we hope to have the two Patricks speaking and sharing the Words and Teachings of Jesus with us. Both Days begin at 1pm and the Weekend concludes on Sunday evening with prayers and a Blessing using the Holy Oil, Jesus’ Gift to the world from His Houses of Prayer. Limited accommodation is available, so please book early if you want to stay.
Our Lady of Lourdes,
11 February 2010
The first group of people who Committed themselves to live the Way of the Sacred Heart did so on this Feast Day and each year we use Foundation Day as a chance for us, the servants, to re-evaluate our own personal Commitment and to remember what it is we have said our “yes” to Jesus to do. We invite you to join us on this Day as we celebrate this Gift that Jesus gave, the Way of the Sacred Heart. Prayers begin at 12 noon.
Feast of Saint Claude de la Colombiere
15 February 2010
Saint Claude was the spiritual director of Saint Margaret Mary and played a major role in the establishment and spread of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart. Jesus has said in the Messages of Love that these Messages are a continuation of what Margaret Mary was given and has called on us for a renewal of the spread of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart in the world. We can look to the life of Claude to see how we can play our part in this request of Jesus. Prayers begin at 12 noon.
Sunday 7 March 2010
The House of Prayer will be closed on this day for a private retreat.
First Friday Vigils: Friday 5 February 2010 and Friday 5 March 2010.
Date for your Diary:
Feast of the Annunciation Thursday 25 March 2010
(with Walk Against Abortion on Saturday 27 March 2010)
The Master Plan: to Destroy the Church
(Excerpt originating from The Marian Work of Atonement)
This treatise is interesting at this time. The first edition was brought to light in July 1973. Because of its seriousness and transcendency, it deserves everyone’s attention and especially that of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. More than ever it is necessary to put ourselves under the protection of Saint Michael to thwart this diabolical plan.
The Master plan
The master plan to destroy the church is an exact plan to destroy the Church of Christ. It is said that more than one thousand three hundred men have become Catholic priests to destroy the Church from within, to bore through its innards.
The master plan is a masterpiece of incredible daring that, should it work as planned, can split the Catholic Church from its foundations.
According to the master plan it should be ‘ruined’ by the year 1980. It is convenient to publish this as it will certainly open the eyes of many priests and good Christians before it is too late. ‘Look out, friend, somebody is working very hard against the Church. Open your eyes! Do not sleep while the devil is still awake.’ The master plan looks like something perfect. In the second place how is it going to be carried out, step by step, and thirdly, who is going to bring it about?
The Universal Church
The master plan points out that in principle of all the churches that call themselves Christians, the firmest, the one that holds them all together is the Catholic Church and once it totters, the whole of Christianity will fall under its own weight.
The word ‘holy’ must be eliminated because by constantly calling attention to God, it is something sacred and that is more than enough and it is easy to get rid of it.
It is sufficient to insist that we must draw nearer to our brothers, the protestants. If Catholics say that the church is holy, it offends them and therefore Catholics should not insist on it. And it is as easy as that. From now on, nobody will say ‘One Holy, etc.’ Another word that is unnecessary is ‘catholic’ because it has taken deep roots in adoration of God, Christ and the Blessed Virgin and that has to be overthrown. It is easy to do. Substitute ‘universal’ for ‘catholic,’ after all it is the same thing. It seems to say the same but it ignores the sacred taste of adoration of God and of Christ that the name ‘catholic’ bears. So that in the whole world there would remain the ‘universal church’ with all churches united.
The God of all goodness
The first commandment of this ‘universal church’ and the holy one will be ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ because the God of all goodness will continue existing in this but a God who is so good, He does not punish and as He cannot punish everybody will forget Him very soon, because a God who does not inspire respect, whom no one fears, will soon be forgotten but all this is the final objective of the plan.
Instead of despair
When I first read the above (which is a short extract), I thought, did I believe in fairytales? Not! Reading it again recently and reflecting on where the Church is at this moment in time and with all the changes that has been made, could it really be happening? But instead of despair I am reminded of the time when lucifer was out of order and full of himself and tried to tempt Jesus (but he was sent away - ‘get thee behind Me, satan!’) We who are true Christians must keep praying and showing the love of Jesus to those we meet because without the love of Christ in our hearts we will not be able to penetrate the darkness and the evil that abounds and let the Light of Jesus’ Love shine in all the places where evil lurks. Don’t let our complacency give more ammunition to the evil one, don’t get him (lucifer) in a good mood! I do believe he’s at his worst when he thinks he’s winning.
Share the love of Christ and through this with Jesus’ help, the master plan can and will be kicked into the eternal abyss where it belongs!
Find God again before it is too late
I only hope we find God again before it is too late
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.
“I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are: Christmas trees.
It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu.
If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.
I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him?
I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too.
But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke, it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.
We demand He leave us
Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her “How could God let something like this Happen?” (regarding Katrina)
Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.
And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His Blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?
She didn’t want prayer
In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools and we said OK.
Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.
Their little personalities
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about.
And we said OK.
Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with “WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.”
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say but question what the Bible says.
Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.
Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing?”
Fight with Him
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit.
If not, then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what shape the world is in.
Let us give Jesus a Birthday gift this year, our promise to join His Army and to fight with Him to regain His Kingdom on earth. Wishing all a happy and holy Christmas.
"Soledad" Casa de Orion, LA nozalera, 159 Cosio 39555, Rionans, Cantabria, Espana
Tel: 00349 4272 7087 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
A Little Bit of Heaven
When I emerged from ‘Baggage Reclaim’ at Santander Airport, Olive was waiting for me, with Isidore, the friendly taxi driver from Garabandal. The drive to Cosío was clearly an ascent.
After about an hour and a half of driving, we pulled up at a pretty chalet-type House set into the mountain. The walls of the House are of thick stone, and the tiles of that distinctive red that characterises all the local dwellings.
The hostas, busy lizzies, geraniums and the climbing roses clustered around the entrance give the House a warm, welcoming look. A notice above the door proclaims: “SOLEDAD: La Casa de Oracion,” beside a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
We have a light meal of soup and bread, which we had bought at a supermarket just outside Santander on the way here. Then follows the first prayer meeting in the House and we are ready for bed a little after midnight.
The next day, we hitch a lift from the parish priest of Cosío, Fr. (‘Don’) Rolando, who runs seven parishes in the area! Mass is at Garabandal today, five kilometres away. He and Olive converse in Spanish and I listen, picking up some of the conversation. Garabandal looks the same as it did when I was here about seven years ago: unspoilt, quiet, some of the locals still wearing the wooden overshoes or clogs on three short stilts, the ‘chanclos.’ However, many of the congregation at Mass (and there are very many for such a small place on a week day) are very smartly dressed. The singing is especially passionate, and a joy to hear.
Reverence for Jesus
There is wonderful reverence for Jesus in the Eucharist here – no wonder Our Lady chose this place! If people have to leave the church when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed on the altar, they walk backwards away from it; and in crossing in front of the Tabernacle, everyone always genuflects, every time! What a joy to see, after the brief nod the Tabernacle gets in so many of our churches today!
People in this church also cross themselves in a distinctive manner. No cursory ‘chasing flies’ gesture of a Sign of the Cross for them! Oh no! Thank God for strong faith!
Back to Cosío and the prayer routines of the House. We walk down to the local ‘Alimentario’ in the afternoon and make a note of the opening times. On the way back, we made a short detour to the local basketball pitch to have a look at the bust of a man on display. He looks important and his name is – you’ve guessed it – Cosío! It was set up in 1985. Later we found out he was a benefactor of the area but the village is not named after him. There are many people of that name here. Tonight, being the First Friday, we have a prayer vigil, from 10pm to 2am. We tune the guitar in readiness, and replace two broken strings. We have music: praise the Lord! And the prayer vigil was very, very special. The Lord’s Presence was evident.
Saturday 8 August dawns clear. In the morning we walk to the next village of Puentenansa, which takes about an hour, to buy groceries. We get a lift back from Roberto, who works at the shop. We follow the normal time-table, and during midday prayer, we hear the front door open and someone come in. As the Prayer Room is upstairs, we go down to investigate. It was a visitor who dropped in when she saw the notice over the door. She introduced herself as Christiana and said she’d come from far away. She was happy with the offer of our prayers.
In the evening we visited Luisa, our neighbour, who made us welcome. She told us the time of Mass tomorrow at the church of Our Lady of Carmen (Mount Carmel) in Cosío: 12.30. Luisa is eighty years old, is very sprightly and lives alone. She looks after Soledad and even waters the plants. (I had wondered how they were all thriving so merrily!) Later in our time in Cosío, Luisa kindly brings us over a dish of potato croquettes and Spanish sweetmeats, and on our last night bids us farewell with a cup of hot chocolate and cake at her home.
Today, on emerging from Luisa’s house, we bump into our neighbour from across the little street: one-armed Godofredo, whose beaming face shines like the sun. He lives with his widowed sister, Helena, in a large, rambling old house with lofty ceilings and cool, spacious rooms. During our time in Cosío we meet also Helena’s daughter, Eva, who knows English and pops over to chat to us at Soledad. Later we also get to see Eva’s pretty daughter, also called Helena, who has just returned from a few weeks in Ireland, where she was improving her English. (Helena gave us later a Spanish omelette, made of potato and eggs, and baked in a round terracotta dish. A delicious taste of authentic España!)
Everyone here is very friendly, and no-one passes you without calling out “Hola! Buenos dias!” in greeting. Godofredo greets us warmly with a kiss on both cheeks and invites us to go to his house and see his sister. We do, and, after showing her delight at seeing us, she gives us milky coffee and the traditional thin biscuits and shows us around their dining room. They promise to show us their chapel another day, as it is late and we have to get back for our prayer time.
Horror of horrors!
This chapel we see on our last day, when we go over to say goodbye. It was damaged in the Civil War, in the 1930’s, when the village was overrun by the invader, and – horror of horrors! - there was an incident of desecration, when the monstrance was taken from the church and was kicked around in the House that is now Soledad. The Lord has His reasons for choosing His Houses. Maybe here one of the effects of the choice is reparation….
Sunday 9 August: After Mass we socialised a little with the locals over tapas (small dishes of various savoury foods, like kalamari or squid) at the café, which we share with builder Andrew, from Manchester, who sells flats in Garabandal. He helps to arrange private Adoration in the Cosío church for us, a great blessing. Our daily lifts into Garabandal for Mass are often also followed by Adoration at the church there. On Tuesday, the 18th, Andrew and Father Rolando come to dinner at the House of Prayer and we get to know our extremely hard-working pastor a little better. He tells us that the Apparitions at Garabandal took place when he was sixteen years old and, of course, he firmly believes in them.
Little bit of Heaven
And so, too soon, it came to the time to say goodbye to Soledad, truly the beating Heart of Jesus; also to our kind neighbours; to our dear friend, Andrew, who had helped us in so many ways, and to the majestic mountains of Cosío. We hear the church bells strike the quarter of each hour for the last time, and feel again, with the psalmist,
My soul shall be filled, as with a banquet,
My mouth shall praise You with joy.....
For Your love is better than life.
Yes, this place is surely a ‘Little bit of Heaven’.
Betty and Bill Gallivan, 1519 Callender, Peoria,
11 61606 U.S.A
Tel: 309 676 5185 Fax: 309 676 5191
The Son of Man did not come to be served
“The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His Life as a ransom for many.” That one sentence sums up the message from Matthew’s Gospel read on 25 October and presents us with a challenge.
Following are the words of a homily given by the Deacon in our parish relating to that Gospel. Throughout his talk I was constantly reminded of Jesus’ many Messages on humility and dying to self, self, self.
A little more tactful
Let’s pause for just a moment and call to mind what happens at the foot of these stairs in our church on Holy Thursday. I can still picture our pastor, Fr. Klamut, washing the feet of twelve men from our parish, one-by-one. Think about the significance of that gesture and hold that thought in your mind.
Today’s Gospel starts out with a simple but demanding statement from James and John. They said to Jesus, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” In my mind, I can’t picture saying that to anyone. Shouldn’t they be asking Jesus what He wants them to do? It seems like they could have at least been a little more tactful. Maybe something was lost in the translation of this Gospel. I have heard that Saint Mark was brutally honest in his writing and always called a spade a spade, unlike Saint Matthew. In Matthew’s Gospel he tells the same story and attributes the same question to Salome, the mother of James and John. Seems like Mom always get the blame!
They just didn’t get it
What they asked Jesus was, “Grant that in Your Glory, we may sit one at Your right and the other at Your left.” It’s bad enough that they asked Jesus the question, and even worse when you consider the timing! Jesus was in the process of preparing the Disciples for His impending Death and they just didn’t get it. Jesus had just told them for the third time that the priests and Scribes were going to hand Him over to the Gentiles who would mock Him, scourge Him, spit upon Him and put Him to death. Hello, Disciples! Why would you turn around and ask Jesus to give you a special place in His Kingdom?
What’s in it for me?
Jesus was thinking about a Heavenly kingdom, and the Disciples were preparing for an earthly kingdom with positions of leadership, authority and honour for themselves. It sounds like things haven’t changed that much in two thousand years! The attitude of “What’s in it for me?” runs deep in almost all of our hearts. Cardinal George just recently stated that Christianity is not about individualism but it is about relationships. It’s all about community.
It was individualism that created turmoil within the ranks of those first Disciples. James and John along with Peter were among those first Disciples who were privileged to be with Jesus on the mountain as He was transfigured before them. Now they wanted to be given yet another position of prominence when Jesus established His Kingdom, supposedly here on earth. The Gospel says that when the other ten heard this they became indignant at James and John. Sounds like jealousy was rearing its ugly head. Moments like this within any group would probably lend to thoughts of asking the question, “Does anyone have a Plan B?”
Bitter pill to swallow
Jesus however completely turns the table on those He had chosen when He says, “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.” What a humbling and bitter pill to swallow for those seeking prestige and power.
Jesus washed their feet
The turning point for the Disciples may have come in that Upper Room, just before Jesus’ Passion and Death where the Gospel of John tells the story of Jesus washing the feet of His Disciples and asks them to do the same. Can you imagine how those men felt when Jesus washed their feet?
The message of this Gospel
Many years ago I experienced to some extent how humbled they must have felt. I was serving on a TEC team (Teens Encounter Christ) and one of our teammates was Bishop O’Rourke. In preparation for the weekend the entire team met in the chapel for a prayer service, and unbeknownst to me, we were being prepared for a foot washing ceremony with Bishop O’Rourke as the leader. I had just come from work and after hours of climbing telephone poles, trudging through back yards and climbing into crawl spaces, my feet were what you might call ‘ripe.’ I felt so sorry for our Bishop and I wondered what those Disciples must have felt those many years ago. I will never, ever forget that experience and I can’t imagine how the message of this Gospel could be more effectively imprinted on our hearts than with the image of having our feet washed by another.
Visit to the House of Prayer
I was determined to go
Jesus was asking for volunteers for the Houses of Prayer, I noticed, and I thought to myself, “Well, that’s something I could do.” I had set aside August early on this year as I knew that a minimum of a month was required. Nothing would deter me! Since it was so apparent that Jesus had asked for volunteers, there was no hesitation. I was determined to go! There was nothing going to stop me; I had made it clear to friends that this year, anyway, not to include me in any of their holiday plans. I was working for Jesus!
Very long and arduous
The journey to the House of Prayer, in Poland, on 7 August, was very long and arduous, setting out from my home very early in the morning, before catching three flights and then three local buses. At Wroclaw airport I met Bridie, the servant from Cookstown, who was going to be my companion for the next three weeks and my spiritual director, of a kind.
A volunteer for the Lord
I had a vague notion of what was expected of me before I left for Poland: helping with general chores and I knew a little of the expectations of the prayer routine from previous Newsletters and my time spent at the House of Prayer in Cookstown. It wouldn’t have mattered how rigorous it was all going to be, anyway, because I was so focused on being a volunteer for the Lord!
In need of a lot of repairs
Saint Stanislaus House of Prayer is situated in a lovely, quiet spot, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The House itself, a former school, is a big rambling building in need of a lot of repairs but has potential. My first impression was that the place was similar to a basic Youth Hostel. How was I going to tolerate this for three weeks? I had left a beautiful home! I reminded myself that I had wanted to work for the Lord!
A beautiful synthesis
Bridie and I were to prepare the House, as best we could, for the impending pilgrimage. Each day had the same format: prayers, at specified times, 8am, 12 noon, 3pm, 6pm, 10pm and there was also your own personal hour of prayer to consider. There were Rules such as meals taken at specific times and in silence; and not talking on the stairs. The rest of the time was largely devoted to cleaning the House and attending to the chores outside in the garden. Thus, there was a beautiful synthesis of the physical and mental, all in the Name of the Lord.
It wasn’t easy
I found the experience at the House of Prayer, nevertheless, challenging; it wasn’t easy. The actual physical work, although tiring at times, was fine. I am very fit with all the golf and tennis I play! The meals we cooked were wholesome and nutritious but I couldn’t even have a glass of wine at night. That was hard! The discipline of keeping strictly to a routine I found a little laborious, for example, on occasions, I would have welcomed a longer lie on in bed and not having to keep to prescribed meal times. (Living on my own, as you can imagine, I can please myself what I do!) In my daily work, I am used to making decisions and doing things “my way” and so, not having the autonomy to approach tasks in the way that I thought most efficient and effective, I found a little frustrating. At times, I longed for familiar surroundings especially the comforts of my own home. However, it was none of these things that I really found difficult. What I missed most of all was the intimacy and companionship of my closest friends, the banter, the ease that exists between people who know one another one well. God was leaving no excuse! He had stripped me of all my attachments and so I was learning to be dependent on Him and Him alone. The times in the Prayer Room and the hour’s personal prayer became easier as time went on. I grew to welcome the time spent in meditation and contemplation; it was a luxury to be free of all distractions and have time for silence and solitude.
I feel strengthened
Just as a father encourages his small child to take the next faltering steps whilst he is learning to walk so I feel that Jesus is inviting and encouraging me to deepen my friendship with Him further. I am privileged in being able to work for Jesus in such a direct and meaningful way during my summer holidays; I feel strengthened. Will I come back next year? Yes, I would love to but the knowledge of my brother’s illness has reminded me that we must trust Our Lord completely; Gods Plan is sometimes very different from ours!
What will the path ahead look like, I wonder.
Sonlight Music Ministry
Did not go as planned
Day one of our trip to Solvenia and Poland did not go as planned, we were to meet in the House of Prayer at 12.30am on Friday morning, but when I woke up I was very sick and did not feel well at all. I did all I could to get better for travelling and asked my Guardian Angel to help me.
Miss this trip
Midnight came very quickly. As I waited on my lift I felt as weak as water and would have loved to go to bed but I asked Jesus to give me the strength and He did. After a couple of hours passed, I started to feel much better. It was the quickest I ever had to get over a sickness, it had to be Jesus, and I was not going to miss this trip for the world!
A few scary moments
Myself, Anne Marie, Aine and Patrick Rushe arrived in Italy about 10am on Friday morning and then drove to Slovenia which was about three hours drive. We were all filled with total excitement as I had never been to the House of Prayer in Solvenia before. As we started getting closer to Slovenia, we started climbing up the mountains in the car, there were a few scary moments. There were bends I had never seen before and drops of I don’t know how many feet but the views were mind blowing. It was the most beautiful country I had ever seen.
Who said Jesus was boring?
When we arrived at the Virgin Most Pure House of Prayer, it was all that I expected and more. It just felt like home. I had never seen a day going so quickly and, with not having slept in forty eight hours, I was surprised that I wasn’t even tired. 9 o’clock come and went very quickly. Myself, Anne Marie, Aine had a gig in the Firehouse which is the local fire station. It has a small bar and we were going up to sing for the locals. We all were nervous but again Jesus helped us and everything went great. I have never met nicer, friendlier people in my life. We sang and they joined in as some of them were fantastic singers and also accordion players. I know in my heart that Jesus sent us up for a reason. Who said Jesus was boring?
Great fun and lots of laughs
As the days went on I found it hard sometimes when I thought about my husband and two children back home as I had never left them before but I just put my trust totally in Jesus that He was taking care of them. We had lots of spiritual moments with Jesus and great teachings but we also had great fun and lots of laughs. Another mind blowing experience was the “Passion play” we went to see. It was an outdoor play and about ninety actors took part in it.
Sadly our trip to Slovenia had come to an end but I was excited as we were going to Saint Stanislaus House of Prayer in Poland. The day had arrived and we were leaving for Poland, but it did not get off to a very good start as we got lost and missed our flight but, with the help of Jesus, we got everything sorted and we got a flight the next morning.
Arriving in Poland we made our way to Saint Stanislaus House of Prayer. We were going to stay in Saint Stanislaus for a few days because we had been invited to a Gospel Class in Wroclaw in Poland. The House of Prayer is over an hours drive from Wroclaw. Poland does not look at all like Slovenia. There are not many hills or mountains or breaks in the roads but lovely in its own way. When we arrived at Saint Stanislaus I could not believe how beautiful it was. It was lovely to see two new faces as Colm and Matthew were manning the House and were there to greet us, again it felt like home as all the Houses do.
I will never forget
The next day was an early start, we were up about 7am as we had to drive an hour and half to Wroclaw to the Gospel singing. Everything went according to plan. Jesus was in control and we arrived on time. When we went in, the gospel singing had just begun and the atmosphere was amazing. There was a variety of age groups and they were all singing, clapping, joyful in the Holy Spirit. We were given booklets which had ten songs that we would be learning over the next two days that we would be there. All the songs were different from slow to fast and had all different harmonies which was a great experience for us all. It was two brilliant days and an experience that I will never forget. To fit everything that we had done in ten days was definitely Jesus.
It is all clear to me now
At the time I did not know why we were going on the this trip but it is all clear to me now that Jesus was preparing us for events to come.
Since then we have sang at Slane Chapel, in Holy Trinity Chapel in Cookstown, we were also asked to sing at a wedding, and we are now preparing to do a concert at the end of November, all in a couple of months. It is crazy! Who knows what Jesus has up His sleeve next! Jesus certainly is not boring and He has proved me wrong.
Thank You, Jesus!
The charity blames excessive partying and drinking for the rise
Heavy Christmas drinking and partying, leading to unprotected sex, could be to blame for a record number of abortions last month, says a UK charity.
A total of 5,992 abortions were carried out at Marie Stopes International’s nine UK clinics in January - a rise of thirteen percent on the 5,304 in January 2005.
This is more in a month than at any time in the charity’s thirty two year history.
But pregnancy advice groups said the figures probably reflected poor access to contraceptive services.
“Partying excess and alcohol consumption combine to increase libido and lower inhibition” Liz Davies of Marie Stopes International.
The biggest rise ever
Marie Stopes said there was a “clear case” for the government to launch a campaign on the run up to the festive season to alert women and men to the importance of preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually-transmitted infections.
Last Christmas the charity offered festive “party purses” stocked with condoms and the morning after pill.
Liz Davies, MSI director of UK operations, said: “Despite our efforts we have still seen the biggest rise ever in abortion figures in the month after Christmas.
“We may be seeing the consequences of the festive season, when partying excess and alcohol consumption combine to increase libido and lower inhibition, with the inevitable consequences of unprotected sex resulting in unplanned pregnancies.”
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), also saw a higher than usual number of women for abortion treatment this January.
But it blames poor service provision for the increase.
Chief executive Ann Furedi said: “Closure of family planning facilities, GPs and pharmacists during the holiday period means contraceptive access is reduced.
“Women who needed an abortion referral in December may also have had to wait until the holidays are over in January to get treatment.
“This year, to make things much worse, drastic NHS spending cutbacks are resulting in well-documented delays to abortion in some areas.
“It may be due to that treatment bottleneck that the treatments have been clustered together in January.”
A spokesman for the Department of Health said that improving access to emergency contraception was “only one part of a complex picture” to reducing abortion rates.
He said: “Our policy has always been that safe sex, using reliable contraception on a regular basis, is the best way for women to protect against unintended pregnancy.
“We are working hard to reduce the demand for abortions and have undertaken an audit to identify gaps in service provision.”
Not the solution
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said easier access to birth control drugs and devices was not the solution, and said such measures had failed to contain the rising number of abortions.
According to Department of Health statistics, a total of 186,400 abortions were carried out in England and Wales in 2005.
A total of eighty four percent of these were funded by the NHS and over half of these were performed under contract in the independent sector by clinics such as those run by Marie Stopes and BPAS.
We say: Avoid sin, avoid getting drunk, uphold chastity, then there will be no chance that a baby will be murdered through the ‘morning after’ pill or butchered by abortion.
Not so long ago, Holy Water, a sacramental in the Catholic Church, was used to bless us and cleanse us, to prepare us to receive our Sacraments and receive the Sanctifying Grace they contain, as well as heal us and protect us from spiritual and temporal dangers - that is why we traditionally bless ourselves, our houses and cars. However this doesn’t seem to be the case any more. Italian Catholic’s faith seems to have run out, as they now install hands free holy water dispensers to avoid catching the swine flu! I ask the question, why do they go to Church if they have no faith in their Creator?
Swine flu has become like a modern leprosy turning us into hygiene freaks, full of fear of catching it and dying. God help anyone with swine flu as the Christian of today is not so Christian. Who will help and care for anyone with swine flu? As Christians, should we not be following Jesus’ example of laying down our lives for our brothers and sisters, who are greater than I ever will be? Should we, as believers, not be preparing every day for our death, preparing our souls to meet our Maker, the Utter Truth? Where is our love? Why have we become so tainted by the world as to be afraid of touching someone in case we catch something from them? If we keep going on this path, we will become even more selfish individuals just out for ourselves. I just can’t help but recall Melanie of La Salette’s Message:
“...Italy will be punished for her ambitions in wanting to shake off the yoke of the Lord of lords. ...Churches will be locked up or desecrated. ...Several will abandon the Faith and a great number of priests and members of religious orders will break away from the true religion. Among these people there will even be bishops....For a time God will cease to remember France and Italy because the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been forgotten...”
Reduce the risk
Catholic churches in Italy are installing automatic holy water dispensers to help reduce the risk of spreading swine flu.
The outbreak of the H1N1 virus has led many churches to suspend the tradition of having holy water in open fonts into which people dip their hands.
The new machine works like an automatic soap dispenser, squirting water when a hand is passed under the tap.
Inundated with enquiries
Inventor Luciano Marabese says he is being inundated with enquiries.
About thirty people have died in Italy after catching swine flu.
Squirtable holy water
Father Pierre Angelo Mota, from Capriano Briosco, north of Milan, said squirtable holy water had surprised some of his parishoners at first.
“It has been a bit of a novelty,” he said.
“People initially were a bit shocked by this technological innovation but then they welcomed it with great enthusiasm and joy. The members of this parish have got used to it,” he added.
Churchgoer Marta Caimmi agreed.
“It’s great,” she said. “Thanks to this we are not worried about catching swine flu. It is the right thing for the times.”
The design of the dispenser is similar to a traditional water font but with an infra-red light that reads the presence of a hand and squirts holy water onto the person’s fingers.
Mr Marabese says he is receiving hundreds of emails from all over the world requesting information about the product.
Afraid of infections
“Some people had stopped dipping their hand into the holy water font as they were afraid of infections,” he told Reuters.
“Some people even pretended to touch the water but they just touched the marble edge of the font. I think that it is a pity to lose our traditions.”
Milan’s cathedral was among the places of worship to officially suspend the use of communal water fonts.
“After the news that some churches - like Milan’s cathedral - are suspending the use of holy water fonts... demands for my invention rose to the stars,” added Mr Marabese.
Among all the many sacramentals of the Church there is one so ordinary, so commonplace and so readily accessible to everyone that people are inclined to forget it and neglect using it. There is an untold wealth of spiritual riches concentrated in every tiny drop of Holy Water.
The use of holy water is no recent innovation but a time honoured tradition in Holy Mother Church. It has been used in all Catholic churches throughout the world and among all the faithful since the very beginnings of Christianity. Many and great are the spiritual and temporal benefits derived from the use of holy water.
Why this tremendous power? Holy Water has its great efficacy from the prayer of Holy Mother Church. The two tiny elements of salt and water used in the blessing signify the glorious mission of holy water for the purpose of purification and preservation of body and soul.
“Oh God, grant that this creature of Thine (water) may be endowed with Divine Grace to drive away devils and to cast out diseases, that whatever in the houses or possessions of the faithful may be sprinkled with this water, may be freed from everything unclean and delivered from everything hurtful... Let everything that threatens the peace or safety of the dwellers herein be banished by the sprinkling of this water, so that the health which they seek by calling on Thy Holy Name may be guarded from all assault.”
Some of the marvellous effects of the devout use of Holy Water are:
• Remission of venial sins
• Remission of temporal punishment due to sin.
• Expulsion of demons.
• Healing of the sick in body and soul.
• Averting dangers both spiritual and temporal. When dangers threaten, such as fire, storms, or other calamities, prayers joined with the devout use of holy water are highly efficacious.
Bless your Children
Those who are concerned about the absent members of their family can do no better in helping them than to pray fervently while making for them the Sign of the Cross with holy water and begging Gods Blessing upon them for both body and soul. No matter how distant be the person who is prayed for, the effects of the prayer of the Church, in that tiny drop of holy water, reaches them instantly! Our soul is exposed to danger daily. As often as we use holy water, we are given strength to do good and avoid evil. Saint Teresa used to say that she was ready to give her life for every drop of holy water, because the Blood of Christ was attached to it. Our Saviour had to Die upon the Cross to impart to holy water its power, therefore it should be highly esteemed by us.
“By this Holy Water
and by Thy Precious Blood,
Wash away my sins,
A Wonderful Time
Thank God I was able to go on pilgrimage once again to Paray Le Monial, La Salette, Lourdes and Garabandal with the House of Prayer pilgrimage. Each time I go I say it was more special than before but the truth is, it is always a wonderful time spent with Jesus and Mary in their company and in their Hands and it is only when you get back home you realise the Blessings and the benefits of it.
Walk with Jesus
Our little group was so prayerful, helpful and full of joy and that made our pilgrimage so blessed and memorable. At Paray Le Monial we were there for the Feast of Corpus Christi and the beautiful procession through the town. It was so good to walk with Jesus on His special Day and a great honour for us. The Apparition Chapel is very quiet and peaceful and it was great to spend time in the company of Saint Margaret Mary and Saint Claude De La Colombiere. It would have been nice to spend a few more days there.
Our Lady of La Salette
We went from Paray Le Monial to La Salette which is high in the Alps. It was good to have two days to spend with Our Lady of La Salette to pray and beg Her to help us all. The peace, the beauty of La Salette is wonderful. Fr. Jerome was there for us with Masses, Confessions and helped us in every way, he was so welcoming and pleasant. The evening candlelight procession was beautiful to.
I poured my heart out
Our next stop was Lourdes with just an overnight stay. We visited the Grotto when we arrived and the following morning we attended Mass in Saint Damian’s Chapel and afterwards visited the Grotto. The Grotto is where I poured my heart out to Mary and She made everything alright and I felt so good leaving Lourdes for Garbandal.
It was lovely to have three nights in Garabandal. The first stop on our way was Soledad House of Prayer, Cosío, and we received a wonderful warm welcome from Agatha and Liz.
It was good
Three of us stayed in Garabandal, that heavenly place where the Pines are in view from the Church and we could make our way up easily. It was good to be with Mary to pray especially for an end to abortion, for the two Patricks and the success of all the Houses of Prayer and our petitions.
Feast of the Sacred Heart
The Feast of the Sacred Heart was on Friday and it was a very special day with Mass and a visit to the Pines and a vigil in Soledad House of Prayer from 10pm until 2am. I know that none of us will forget this pilgrimage and the Blessings it will bring to us and our families.
A huge thank you to the two servants who led the pilgrimage and were so patient and kind and helpful always.
Thank You, Jesus and Mary.
The Plight of the Disabled Child
A staggering statistic
A recent news report, some weeks ago, told how cases of Down’s syndrome were increasing. The main reason thought for this was that today’s women are postponing having children for the sake of their career, financial reasons etc. etc. It was reported that whilst many more cases were being detected, the actual amount of babies being born with Down’s syndrome was not rising to any significant degree. However, an astonishing ninety two per cent out of all the women being screened and found to be carrying a baby with Down’s syndrome, aborted their babies. I found this to be a staggering statistic and whilst I should not have been surprised given today’s attitude to abortion, I still found it rather shocking.
Purely selfish reasons
The experts will go to great lengths to explain to us the very difficult decision these women are making when they decide to abort their baby. I disagree totally because it is not difficult to put self first! A child born with a disability is quite clearly going to have a lot more problems and its care will, of course, be more demanding. The decision surely boils down to whether the woman is willing to accept Gods Will in her life or whether she is going to continue living to please self only. Obviously a lot of women today opt for the latter! It would be generally accepted that these women who decide to abort their babies after screening are not young, naive or under informed. They make this decision under the pretence of what is best ‘for the baby’ but if truth be told, they make this decision for purely selfish reasons.
A lot of love and joy
As I am sure we are all aware, a great deal of Down’s children today live very happy and fulfilling lives. They often bring a lot of love and joy to their parents and those they meet. Yet they are being killed off in the womb simply because they do not measure up to society’s view of so called ‘perfection.’ I do not deny that caring for a child with disabilities is much more difficult and challenging than caring for a child without disabilities but, ultimately, who are we to deny any child, created by God, its right to life?
Not a very good picture
Another documentary recently on television involved a lady with a Down’s child herself going round to talk with parents of disabled children. She was assessing their difficulties and what help or support they were getting. The programme highlighted the huge strains and stresses these parents, or sometimes lone parents, were facing. Again, whilst I can totally sympathise and imagine the strain they were under, I could not help but feel that it was not a very good picture being painted and anyone considering having a disabled child aborted would certainly have done so after watching. Very little of the positive sides of caring for a disabled child was put across and it basically was saying that each day was an ordeal with very little help from any government bodies to ease their situation.
Die to the self within
We are all guilty of selfishness to some degree in our day to day lives and it is one of the toughest battles to fight on a continual basis. To put others before oneself and seek to die to the self within us is certainly a major trial but one that is well worth fighting. We live in this world with all its trappings as if it were the be all and end all. Inside we all know there is a very important purpose to life here on earth and that is for us to make a choice: Do I want to live eternity in Heaven with God or not? Simple as that! It may not be easy to follow Jesus and totally accept His Will in our lives but then nothing worthwhile ever is.
The number of Down’s syndrome pregnancies in the UK has nearly doubled over the past twenty years, whereas the number of Down’s syndrome births has slightly declined, with the vast majority of such pregnancies ending in abortion, according to a study published 26 October in the British Medical Journal.
University of London researchers found the number of confirmed prenatal or postnatal diagnoses of Down’s syndrome increased by seventy one percent between 1989 and 2008, from 1075 to 1843.
However, live births of babies with Down’s syndrome fell about one percent, from 752 to 743 over the time period. Though the proportion of mothers diagnosed with a Down’s syndrome baby who decided to abort their child remained constant at ninety two percent, the increased numbers of babies being diagnosed with the syndrome means the actual number of abortions rose sharply.
Ninety three percent
Dr. Joan Morris and Dr. Eva Alberman analyzed data from the U.K.’s National Down’s Syndrome Cytogenetic Register, which includes approximately ninety three percent of all diagnoses of Down’s syndrome in England and Wales.
The research pointed to maternal age playing a large part in the increased number of Down’s syndrome pregnancies. The trend towards later motherhood has resulted in a higher risk of having a child with Down’s syndrome, with the research estimating that the risk for a forty year old mother is sixteen times that for a twenty five year old mother.
With many women delaying motherhood until their thirties and forties, most are encouraged by the medical profession to undergo screening for Down’s syndrome, usually with the intention of abortion if the test reveals the condition.
By no means accurate
The initial screening test consists of an ultrasound scan and blood tests but these tests are by no means accurate or conclusive. If Down’s syndrome is suspected, an amniocentesis, which uses a needle to extract fluid from the womb for analysis, is carried out. This test carries a roughly one in a hundred chance of injuring the child in the womb with a consequent miscarriage.
Nearly half of all births
Official figures for 2008 from the UK’s Office of National Statistics show that nearly half of all births in England and Wales were to women aged over thirty, compared to just twenty eight per cent in 1986.
A steep rise
Professor Morris said, “What we’re seeing here is a steep rise in pregnancies with Down’s syndrome but that is being offset by improvements in screening. It was thought that these improvements would lead to a decrease in the number of births with Down’s syndrome. However due to increases in maternal age this has not occurred.”
“In the absence of such screening, numbers of live births with Down’s syndrome would have increased by forty eight percent, since couples are starting families at an older age,” she said.
The researchers noted a sharp increase in the proportion of Down’s syndrome pregnancies in women under the age of thirty seven being detected by screening, rising from three percent to forty three percent within the time frame of the study, while the figure for women over thirty seven remained constant at around seventy percent.
“The proportion of antenatal diagnoses has increased most strikingly in younger women, whereas that in older women has stayed relatively constant. This trend suggests that, even with future improvements in screening, a large number of births with Down’s syndrome are still likely, and that monitoring of the numbers of babies born with Down’s syndrome is essential to ensure adequate provision for their needs,” the study reported.
A young Kenyan
In early 2009, we befriended a young Kenyan national called Evans who is studying to be a priest in Jinja, Uganda. We often spoke to him on Skype and he repeatedly invited us to Kenya to visit him. Eventually we agreed to go and in early December, Patrick, Christopher, Matej (from Slovenia) and myself set out to go to Nairobi, Kenya.
Going to Africa
The flight took about eight hours and at one stage, when we looked out the window and saw we were flying over the Sahara desert, I was in awe. I couldn’t believe I was going to Africa. Evans was waiting for us in Nairobi airport and was as excited as we were, phoning us the second we stepped off the plane to see where we were.
His home town
We set off for his home town, Busia, at 6am the following morning. It was quite far away, about a twelve hour drive. The first thing that struck me as we drove along was the amount of people. Absolutely everywhere along the road there were people walking or selling things or standing. There was not a single stretch of road where there were no people. As we drove we asked Evans questions about the countryside, the people, the history of Kenya. He explained to us that the national language is English but that is for people who go to school. Everybody in Kenya speaks Swahili and there are about forty local languages as well. He taught us Swahili words for ‘welcome,’ ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ and we used them when we greeted his family and friends. Along the way we stopped at Impala park in Kisumu and saw some wild animals including a lion, cheetah, tiger and baboons. There were also monkeys there that joined us for lunch! You can see this experience on the internet on ‘youtube’ if you search for ‘feeding the monkeys two patricks’!
Gods Hand at work
On this journey we drove along the Rift Valley. It is a natural work of art where you can see Gods Hand at work. Nairobi is approximately one thousand seven hundred and fifty metres above sea level so we were looking down on the valley when we came onto it. It looks big enough to fit the whole of Ireland into. It is so vast and incredibly beautiful. It took my breath away. They say that this is where the garden of Eden was!
We reached Busia late that night and met some of Evan’s family, his assistant parish priest Fr. Melchizadek and some local nuns. Everybody was so welcoming and friendly.
On Sunday morning we attended Fr. Melchizadek’s two Masses at the end of each of these we were invited to introduce ourselves. The congregation were delighted to welcome us and hear us. Evans explained to them about the Messages of Love and the House of Prayer in Cookstown.
Will of Jesus
After Mass anyone who wanted more information was invited to meet us under a tree outside the church. About ten or twelve people came and Patrick spoke about the House of Prayer and the work we did there and the people shared about their fears for the future of the faith in Kenya with family planning legislation currently under discussion in their government. They asked questions about the Messages and wanted to know how they could get involved. Around 3pm we had an hour’s Adoration for the intention of a House of Prayer in Kenya. Evans had said at Mass that he wished Jesus would call for a House there but he was aware that it may not be His Will so he asked anyone who wanted to come and pray for this intention and the Will of Jesus to happen.
Choose to serve him fully
After Adoration we had another gathering under the tree with some of the same people and some new ones. Again, Patrick shared and really issued them a challenge as to how better they could serve Jesus in their lives. I was surprised at him speaking this way to these people because I felt they were so holy already with very little material possessions and a strong faith but, as I prayed for understanding, I realised that Jesus calls each one of us, no matter where we are or how we are. He calls us rich and poor, sick and healthy, big and small alike. There is no difference with Him. Each heart can choose to serve him fully or not. The people we met accepted our rosaries and Newsletters with such joy and when we didn’t have enough they were so disappointed. Many people added their names to our mail list that day and about four days later, Evans’s prayers were answered when Jesus gave a Message to say He wanted a House of Prayer in Kenya!
Evans was so happy. It was great to see someone so overjoyed at one of the Messages! It made me realise how complacent I am with Jesus’ Words. Following the second prayer meeting under the tree we were invited to the nuns for tea and doughnuts and shared some more about the Messages and the work of the Sacred Heart House of Prayer.
A bit of a scare
Patrick fell sick the following day, so Evans took him to the hospital where one of the nuns was working and she treated him for malaria as a precaution. Later she told us it didn’t show up in his blood test but it could still be present in his system so he had to continue to take the medication. It was a bit of a scare for us but it also made me realise what the people there have to live with constantly. They have some immunity to malaria but, as sister explained to us, if they get it and cannot get the medication it can kill them in a month. Whereas if we got it and didn’t get the medication we would be dead in less than a week.
We had so many wonderful experiences in Kenya it is difficult to capture them all here but I wanted to share something of what Evans’s family and friends were like. His family is very large and includes all of the extended family, aunties, uncles, cousins, in-laws, nieces, nephews and grandparents. Everyone we met welcomed us with smiles and joy and I felt so honoured and humbled at their hospitality. They were a real family, sharing everything with each other and we could see how their community worked together so that everyone could be looked after properly. On one journey to Bulanda with a fellow seminarian of Evans we stopped and bought a few bits and pieces in the shop. Evans’s friend bought a small carton of strawberry milk, about a half pint and as we drove in the car he said ‘this is great. I will take this home and share it with my sister.’ His home was a two hour drive away! We were touched by his thoughtfulness and giving.
Generosity and hospitality
Evans had arranged for dancers and musicians to perform for us on our first day with his family and they were amazing to watch. Their energy and enthusiasm in the hot sun was unbelievable. Eventually all the ladies in the family were dancing too and later all the children came and danced together. They were so natural and had great rhythm. Evans’s family gave us gifts to take home to the House in Cookstown and they are now on display there. This again was another demonstration of their generosity and hospitality. We think the gifts might have cost them almost one month’s wages. They wanted to say thank you to the people in the House of Prayer also because the servants donated some money which was spent on clothes and toys which we brought with us.
Forgotten Poor of the World
Every month in Cookstown we have a collection for the Forgotten Poor of the World. The day we left the House of Prayer, Pauline, one of the servants, handed me Fr. Vincent Shamala’s name and address in a place called Kakamega as he lived in Kenya and said if we just happened to be near him we could get in touch. The order of nuns in Busia were called the Sisters of Mary of Kakamega so we asked them had they heard of Fr. Vincent and, unbelievably, one of them knew him and called him and he came to meet us and invited us to visit his parish. When we were there we met two men who had been helped by the money from the forgotten poor. Neither of them could walk so they transported themselves with a type of wheelchair which they can pedal with their hands. It was a privilege to meet them and see where some of the money collected on the street goes.
Grateful to Jesus
I am truly grateful to Jesus for this opportunity to visit Kenya and meet Evans and his family and friends. It was always a dream of mine to go to Africa and Jesus has made it come true and shown me the true spirit of giving. Giving from our heart is what it is all about. Let us give ourselves to Jesus entirely this new year so He can use us. Thank You so much, Jesus.
DILECTI AMICI OF POPE JOHN PAUL II
TO THE YOUTH OF THE WORLD ON THE OCCASION OF INTERNATIONAL YOUTH YEAR
Youth as “growth”
14. Allow me to conclude this part of my reflections by recalling the words with which the Gospel speaks about the youthful years of Jesus of Nazareth. These words are brief, even though they cover the period of thirty years which he spent in the family home, with Mary and with Joseph the carpenter. The Evangelist Luke writes: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man”.
Youth, then, is “growth”. In the light of all that has been said so far on this theme, this Gospel passage strikes one as particularly synthetical and evocative. Growth “in stature” refers to an individual’s natural relationship with time: this growth is as it were an “upward” stage in the course of a person’s life. It is the time of psychophysical development: the growth of all the energies through which normal human individuality is built up. But this process has to be accompanied by “growth” in wisdom and grace.
For all of you, dear young friends, I wish just such “growth”. One can say that youth is youth precisely through that growth. In this way youth acquires its own unrepeatable character. In this way it is given to each one of you in your personal and at the same time community experience as a special value. In a similar way, it also becomes consolidated in the experience of adults whose youth is already behind them and who are moving from the “upward” stage towards the “downward” stage, making up the overall pattern of life.
Youth should be a process of “growth” bringing with it the gradual accumulation of all that is true, good and beautiful, even when this growth is linked “from outside” to suffering, the loss of loved ones, and the whole experience of evil that constantly makes itself felt in the world in which we live.
Youth should be “growth”. For this purpose, contact with the visible world, with nature, is of immense importance. In one’s youth this relationship to the visible world is enriching in a way that differs from knowledge of the world “obtained from books”. It enriches us in a direct way. One could say that by being in contact with nature we absorb into our own human existence the very mystery of creation which reveals itself to us through the untold wealth and variety of visible beings, and which at the same time is always beckoning us towards what is hidden and invisible. Wisdom—both from the inspired books as also from the testimony of many brilliant minds—seems in different ways to reveal “the transparency of the world”. It is good for people to read this wonderful book—the “book of nature”, which lies open for each one of us. What the youthful mind and heart read in this book seems to be in perfect harmony with the exhortation to wisdom: “Acquire wisdom, acquire insight... Do not forsake her and she will keep you; love her and she will guard you”.
Man today, especially in the context of highly developed technical and industrial civilization, has become the explorer of nature on a grand scale, often treating it in a utilitarian way, thus destroying many of its treasures and attractions and polluting the natural environment of earthly existence. But nature is also given to us to be admired and contemplated, like a great mirror of the world. It reflects the Creator’s covenant with his creature, the centre of which has been, from the beginning, in man, directly created “in the image” of the Creator.
And so my hope for you young people is that your “growth in stature and in wisdom” will come about through contact with nature. Make time for this! Do not miss it! Accept too the fatigue and effort that this contact sometimes involves, especially when we wish to attain particularly challenging goals. Such fatigue is creative, and also constitutes the element of healthy relaxation which is as necessary as study and work.
This fatigue and effort have their own place in the Bible, especially in Saint Paul, who compares the whole Christian life to a race in the sports stadium.
Each one of you needs this fatigue and effort, which not only tempers the body but also enables the whole person to experience the joy of self-mastery and victory over obstacles and barriers. This is certainly one of the elements of “growth” that characterize youth.
I likewise hope that this “growth” will come about through contact with the achievements of humanity, and still more through contact with living people. How great is their richness and variety! Youth seems particularly sensitive to the truth, goodness and beauty contained in the works of humanity. Through contact with people on the level of so many different cultures, of so many arts and sciences, we learn the truth about man (so evocatively expressed also in Psalm 8), the truth which can build up and enrich the humanity of each one of us.
In a special way, however, we study the human person through contact with others. Being young should enable you to “increase in wisdom” through this contact. For youth is the time for new contacts, new companionships and friendships, in a circle wider than the family alone. There unfolds before us the vast field of experience, which is important not only in regard to knowledge but also in relation to education and ethics. This whole youthful experience will be useful to the extent that it gives you the ability to make critical judgments and above all the capacity of discernment in all things human. Your youthful experience will be blessed, you will gradually learn from it that essential truth concerning man—concerning every human being and concerning oneself—the truth that is summed up thus in the famous passage of the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes: “Man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself”.
In this way therefore we learn to know other human beings, in order to become more fully human through our capacity for “self-giving”: for becoming men and women “for others” . This truth about man—this anthropology—has its incomparable culmination in Jesus of Nazareth. Hence the great importance of his young years, when she increased in wisdom... and in favour before God and man”.
My wish for you too is a similar “growth” through contact with God. For this purpose, contact with nature and with other people can help indirectly, but the special and direct means is prayer. Pray and learn to pray! Open your hearts and your consciences to the one who knows you better than you know yourselves. Talk to him! Deepen your knowledge of the word of the Living God by reading and meditating on the Scriptures.
These are the methods and means for coming close to God and making contact with him. Remember that it is a question of a two-way relationship. God responds also with the most “free gift of self”, a gift which in biblical language is called “grace”. Strive to live in the grace of God!
So much for the theme of “growth”, which I write about in order to indicate only its main aspects, each of which could be discussed at much greater length. I hope that this is happening in youth circles and groups, in movements and organizations, which are becoming so numerous in the various countries and continents, each one being guided by its own method of spiritual work and apostolate. The intention of these bodies, with the assistance of the Pastors of the Church, is to show young people the path of that “growth” which in a certain sense constitutes the evangelical definition of youth.
Continued next month
45 Who, thinkest thou, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath appointed over his family, to give them meat in season?
Jesus has given all the mission of passing on the Good News. He has told us to feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked and most importantly to love one another as He Loves us. There are a lot of opportunities each day to fulfil at least one or all of these Commands. Are we faithful to our faith and doing what is required of us?
46 Blessed is that servant, whom when his Lord shall come He shall find so doing.
Jesus has given us the promise of Eternal Life with Him in Heaven if we follow Him and His Teachings.
47 Amen I say to you, He shall place him over all His goods.
Jesus will reward us greatly when we do His Work. We cannot imagine the great Gifts in store for those who do His Will.
48 But if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My Lord is long a coming:
We should not let complacency or lack of respect enter our thoughts as they will take us away from Jesus. We cannot lose respect for our Master and allow self to take a hold.
49 And shall begin to strike his fellow servants and shall eat and drink with drunkards:
Jesus Warns us that losing respect for Him and belief in Him leads us on the wrong track and we distance ourselves from Him. If we don’t follow Jesus and His Will then we get lost in the things of this world that are not of Him.
50 The Lord of that servant shall come in a day that he hopeth not and at an hour that he knoweth not:
None of us know when Jesus will call us home. It can be without warning and will we be the faithful or the unfaithful servant?
51 And shall separate him, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
At the time of Jesus’ Coming to us if we are found to have been an unfaithful servant we will stand before Jesus and be punished for our ways. If, throughout our life, we have refused to know Jesus and only cared for this world and its ways, we will go to the only place that is fit for us – HELL.
Day of Love Weekend
Dear servants of the House of Prayer,
Thank you for allowing me to work in one of the Houses of Prayer during my summer holidays. I feel greatly enriched in so many ways...
I know it’s early at this stage but, God willing, I would like to offer my services again next year. Do you think you will need me?
The Day of Love Weekend - I hope it is the 16 and 17 January as I have been told; I have now booked my flight over to Ireland! Is it O.K. to stop in the House of Prayer on the Saturday night?
When you have time can you send me some leaflets about the Hour of Redemption and the Chaplet of Love? Thanks.
The Lovely Books
Thank you for sending me the lovely books, I look forward to getting them every month. Please send me Holy Oil. I gave what I had to a lady that burned her hand. She was very bad and had to have a skin graft... Thank God it has healed up after she blessed it with the Holy Oil.
Please pray for...
I am enclosing a donation for the House of Prayer and the tickets. Many thanks and prayers.
Yours sincerely, Eileen.
Dear friends in Jesus, please find enclosed raffle tickets and cheque ... with many thanks! You are all doing Gods Work, I look forward to receiving your Newsletter and I pray for you all, offer up a little one for me and my family. God is Blessing you all in your Trojan work - keep going!
God Bless and much love, Louisa.
Dear friends of the Sacred Heart,
Once again you have excelled yourself explaining in detail information regarding swine flu vaccine. I have passed this on to others.
I first was fortunate to discover the Patricks and their Messages years ago through a very holy priest who held a Healing Mass at Our Lady of La Salette Church near London Bridge. I used to come home full of joy and peace. I do so enjoy reading the Messages of Love and other useful information, many thanks.
...Thank you so much. Irene.
Thanks to Jesus
My heartfelt thanks to Jesus, praise be to His Holy Name, and to all of you for your prayers in the healing of a stomach wound I had, after a serious lot of bowel operations. If only people would trust more in God and pray as He is the answer to all our problems.
A little gift enclosed to help financially with Jesus’ Work. May God Bless you all.
Yours in the Love of Jesus and Mary,
PS: May I also have at your convenience the book “A Walk With the Truth”...
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