Posted by: catholicrelics | September 30, 2009

Bishop invites faithful to continue journeying with Jesus

Bishop invites faithful to continue journeying with Jesus, originally uploaded by Catholic Church (England and Wales).

Bishop Seamus Cunningham (Hexham and Newcastle) encouraged the five hundred people gathered for Mass at 7.30pm this evening to not let this special experience be a one off.

In his homily he said: ‘Therese had hoped to be a missionary like St Paul but poor health and an early death got in the way. Before she died she said: “I will spend my time in heaven doing good on earth.” Therese may not have been a missionary when she walked this earth but surely she is one today in Newcastle as she draws hundreds of thousands to Christ as her relics move from country to country journeying around the world. All the time she is pointing away from herself and pointing to Christ saying: “Walk in His way and continue to do so. Let this experience have a lasting effect on your lives and as my relics move on may you persevere in drawing closer to Christ and continue to walk in His way. Rest assured that He’ll transform you.’”

Bishop Cunningham also said: ‘St Therese didn’t just know about Christ; she knew Him. She had entered into a deep and personal relationship with Christ; she did this through the “Little Way” doing ordinary things extraordinarily well, doing ordinary things with extraordinary love. She was conscious of His presence and His power at work in her life.’

‘We can learn from Therese how to deal with suffering, she tells us to do much more than to accept it passively – the inevitable pain of the human condition. She invites us to turn it into a way of love. We can transform it… She desires what Jesus desires – the unfolding of God’s own plan of love for His people through His suffering and her place with Him through her suffering in the redemption of the world’

Around 30 priests concelebrated the Mass and a full choir led the singing with hymns from around the world. The response to the psalm, ‘Keep my soul in peace before you O Lord,’ had a particularly deep prayerful effect on those gathered, whilst in the Gospel we heard Jesus inviting His followers to be servant of all and to witness through service.

Such was the size of the crowd gathered outside during Mass – approximately another 500 people – that priests went out to them for the distribution of Holy Communion. As they did so several coaches arrived dropping off more pilgrims. An enduring image from this part of the Mass was a very elderly lady, who was barely able to walk, supported by men at both her elbows, approaching the altar to receive the Body of Christ.

At the end of Mass, Parish Priest, Fr Michael Corbett, thanked all those involved in the organisation of the event and shared that: ‘When the hurst drew up today, all of a sudden tears came to my eyes, so St Therese got me as well!’ Father also shared how he had welcomed a man in the church today who had been distant from his Catholic faith for a long time; this man received the Sacrament of Reconciliation before he left, strengthened by the experience.

Leaving the church people were visibly moved.

Denise, 46, from St Jean Vianney’s Parish in Newcastle, said: ‘I think the main thing is the coming together of different parishes. It’s been an amazing experience.’

Jimmy, 32, from Sunderland, shared: ‘It’s been a great blessing. I think it’s a blessing to the whole of England and what a wonderful experience. I’ll be taking home new blessings.’

Charlotte, 22, from St Aloysius’ Parish in Hebburn said: ‘It’s been absolutely brilliant. It’s inspired me and the whole diocese. I came straight from work and I feel renewed in my faith and it’s good to see that I’m not the only one who has faith going by the numbers here tonight.’

Martin, 66, from St Andrew’s shared: ‘It’s been beautiful. I’ll be taking home peace.’

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