Tuesday December 12th 2017

A WORD FROM YOUR PARISH PRIEST May 21st, 2017

It is good to be back with my Redemptorist community and with all the parishioners here at Holy Redeemer. So I would like to begin by taking this opportunity to greet each and every one of you. As you know, I was away for two weeks, attending an International Alpha Conference, and also took the opportunity to visit my family in Scotland, it was a great gift to see my sister, whom you know has been in poor health for the last couple of years. Despite her illness, she was in great spirits, and she asked me to thank all of you for your continual prayers for her. She feels a strong spiritual bond with all our parishioners at Holy Redeemer, and feels a great spiritual comfort in the knowledge that so many people are praying for her. Thank you all for taking her to your heart. I have always found parting with my family a painful experience, but this time was so much easier than usual, because, God willing, I will be going back to Scotland in 3 weeks’ time, for a month.

It was also a great personal joy for me to meet the new arrivals in the family since I was last at home 3 years ago. They are a bundle of joy; but I also realise how much work is involved in raising a young family. It makes me more than ever thankful that so many parents make the effort to bring their precious young children to Church, despite the fact that it is not always easy.

Regarding the International Alpha Conference, I have to say that it was a wonderful experience for me. It was humbling to gather with 8,000 fellow Christians from all over the world, and to know that we are all called to share in our mutual love for Christ, and to do all that we can to make Our Most Holy Redeemer more loved and treasured throughout the world. Over the next few weeks I would like to share some of the highlights of the Conference with you, and to ponder how best, as a parish, we can become a community that manifests the love and mercy of God to one another, and to all those who most need to hear the Good News of the Gospel.

One of the things that brought great joy to me was in coming to a deeper understanding that, in terms of Christian discipleship, there is so much more that unites us than that which divides us. Indeed, if we were all to take our Christian faith seriously, then our faith itself will lead us to a deeper unity and love for all our fellow disciples.

I would like to briefly touch on two of the experiences of the Conference that touched me most. The first was a keynote address given by Cardinal Tagle from the Philippines. His modesty and humour, and his deep love for the poor and the suffering, was truly inspirational. It made me realise that here in our own parish of Holy Redeemer we are called to bear witness to our Love of God by real and humble service to those in our community who feel abandoned or are suffering from material or spiritual poverty. This is something that I believe we need to become much more aware of, so that our parish reflects more truly the redeeming love of God for all those who suffer in our midst.

A second highlight for me was a talk given by a Canadian priest, Fr James Mallon, who has written an important book, entitled Divine Renovation. In his book, he challenges all our Catholic parishes to move from simply maintaining what we already do, to an outlook where we all recognise that we are called to share in the Mission of Jesus, to bring others into the home of the Church. In the weeks and months ahead, I would like to take these ideas further, and to discern together what God may be calling us to, so that our parish becomes more and more a place where all can feel at home, and aware that we are always surrounded by the love and grace of God.

Fr Gerard, CSsR

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