St John Paul 11 – 23 October

October 19, 2018

We can tend to think of saints as coming from long ago, from centuries long past. Nothing could be further from the truth. In each and every age the church has produced men and women outstanding in holiness. Our own time is not an exception. The Pope recently canonised Archbishop Oscar Romero who was gunned down while saying Mass in El Salvador in1980, and on the same day Pope Paul VI who died in 1978

On Tuesday we celebrate one of Pope Paul’s successors, John Paul II. Those who can remember his election in 1978 will recall the stunned shock of not only seeing the first non-Italian Pope for centuries appear on the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square, but also that the Cardinals had had the courage to elect someone from the Communist block. #

From the start John Paul II was convinced that God this unlikely choice was the will of God, and he set about a series of visits to the Catholics of the world to confirm them in their faith. A warm hearted, charismatic and energetic man, John Paul II connected with people of all ages, colours and creeds.

We have similarly been chosen by God for the tasks he entrusts to us. We may not stride across the world stage but we have a task to do that only we can. May St. John Paul II pray for us and for his successor that the love of Jesus Christ may become ever better known in the our doubting, disturbed and needy 21stcentury.

Sts Michael, Gabriel & Raphael – 29th September

October 1, 2018

Tomorrow we celebrate the great feast day of St Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael – the holy Archangels. It is wonderful to think that these, and all the other angels, are there to help and protect us throughout our lives. The Bible tells us about them. Raphael we find in the Book of Tobit, and is associated with healing. Gabriel, of course, is the angel of the Annunciation. Michael we find depicted in both Old and New Testaments as the great defender of God’s people and the leader of the heavenly army. Michael casts out Satan from Heaven.

Veneration for the holy angels is found in the Old Testament. And down through the ages many churches and chapels have been dedicated to them. We should seek their protection and ask for their prayers. At the end of the old Mass the prayer to St. Michael was often recited. It would be good for us to use it in our devotions once more:

Holy Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls.