Sunday, 22 June 2014


Today we celebrate the transferred Solemnity of Corpus Christi.  At St Marie's at the end of the usual sung Mass to mark this Solemnity we had a procession of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction was given in the small garden adjacent to the church.
We were blest with a good turn out of the faithful and with nice weather.



On Friday I had privilege of offering the Holy Mass for the happy repose of the soul of a brother priest, Fr  Kenneth Walker of the Fraternity of St Peter who so tragically lost his life in America recently.
May Father's gentle soul through the mercy of God rest in peace.  Please continue to pray for Father and his family.  Pray also for Fr. Joseph Terra who was injured in the attack and is recovering in hospital.


During the week I received a nice card of thanks from the family of the late Rita Roberts whose Requiem Mass I offered recently at St Joseph's Church. The inside of the card reads as follows:
Dear Father Francis.
On behalf of Rita we should like to thank you for the Requiem Mass as the Service at the cemetery.  Your homily was particularly uplifting and comforting and we know that Rita would have appreciated it. 
Kind regards
Jean and David Pilling
It's nice to get letters and cards of appreciation from time to time.  It makes up for the brick bats that are sent.


On the Thursday of Corpus Christi I had the honour and privilege of Offering the Holy Mass with my confreres at the Institute of Christ the King in New Brighton.
The evening o devotions began with sung vespers followed by silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  A Missa Cantata (sing Mass) in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed then followed.  The devotions concluded with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Sunday, 15 June 2014


Today at St Marie's we celebrated First Holy Communion.  Our love and best wishes go to the children who received Our Lord for the first time today in Holy Communion.
The celebration of First Holy Communion is always a special time in the life of priest and especially this year on 'Father's Day' as I pray for my spiritual children in the parish and beyond.  My pray prayer for you all today, my dear sons and daughters is that you will grow to love Jesus more and more in the Blessed Sacrament.  He is close to you always.  may you always remain close to Him.

Friday, 13 June 2014


On this day 16 years ago the titular Bishop of Strathearn, the Rt Rev John Jukes OFM Conv
 laid hands on me and ordained me to the Sacred Priesthood.
Spare a prayer for me today
and for the eternal repose of my ordaining Bishop

Thursday, 12 June 2014


Congratulations and best wishes to Bishop Michael Gokum who was consecrated the first Bishop of the newly erected diocese of Pankshin, Nigeria
I first met the then Father Michael when he was studying for a Doctorate in Ecumenism in Rome.  He visited the parish of St Kentigern, Fallowfield where I served as curate.
Father Michael has supplied for me in my last parish and I look forward to welcoming him to Bury at some future date.


by Francis Thompson
Thou find'st men say, the thing that is lost,
Behold this England, Anthony
which knows thee not.
For she hath lost an antique pearl of great price.
Her loss is old: wherefore she hath forgot all but the lack
that teaches her its cost and quests with many a void device
Indeed unwitting what.
And with religion vain,
all things she searcheth that are for her pain
With veriest prayer importunes
Leading on all paths that err.
Yield, Anthony, her blind petition
After God's own mind and those calm ways
The unhasty Heavens allot
The things she seeketh, give her not to find. 
Give her the thing, she seeketh not.



Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of St Anthony of Padua.  He is perhaps the most well known, if not best love Saint in the Church.  He is the one we pray to when we have lost something - the Finder of Lost things.
The lily flower has always been associated with Saint Anthony as a symbol of his purity.  There is a lovely tradition of blessing lilies in his honour on his feast day.
At the end of the 12:15 Mass tomorrow we will bless lilies in his honour.  If you see this post in time and want to come along then you will be most welcome.
The Prayer of Blessing is as follows:

O God, Who art the Creator and Preserver of all mankind, the Lover of spotless purity, the Giver of all grace and everlasting life, sanctify by Thy holy benediction these lilies, which in thanksgiving, and in honour of St. Anthony, Thy Confessor, we present for Thy blessing. Pour down upon them, by the sacred sign of the holy Cross, Thy heavenly dew, Thou Who didst so kindly create them to gladden man by their beauty and fragrance; enrich them with such power, that to whatsoever disease they may be applied, or in whatsoever home they may be kept, or on whatsoever person they may be borne with devotion, through the intercession of Thy servant, Anthony, they may cure every sickness, repel the attacks of Satan, preserve holy chastity, and bring peace and grace to all who serve Thee. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

[Spare a little prayer for me too as I celebrate the anniversary of my ordination to the Priesthood]

The MC gives the command
Hold up your lilies!!!


Please remember in your prayers Father Kenneth Walker who has recently died. 
Father Walker was shot dead in a burglary at his church in Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday night.  His Parish Priest, Father Joseph Terra also suffered injuries and has been taken to hospital.
Please pray for them both and for their religious family - the Fraternity of St Peter and their parish community.


Pray for the Souls of those who have recently died
Harold Dawber
Frank Nolan
Dilys Potts
Rita Roberts
Joe Cassidy
Pray also for their families who grieve the loss of their love ones


On Sunday last we celebrated the Feast of Pentecost.  The Lord, after His resurrection promised to send us a Helper, an Advocate who would help us to bear witness to the Truth.  The promised gift of the Spirit was pour out on the Church at Pentecost.
'Receive the Holy Spirit' the Lord tells the Apostles who were gathered in the Upper Room together with Our Lady.  The Spirit that he breathed on them was to strengthen them to go out and bear witness to Him in the world.
As followers of Christ, some two thousand years later we are called to do the same.  The same Spirit has been poured out on us.  Each and everyone of us to go forth from this celebration of Mass and bear witness to the Risen Lord.
We are called to set the world on fire, yet some of us probably don't have the inclination to even strike a match or search for a lighter. 
To go out and set the world on fire is a daunting task. We may be thinking that we are not qualified for such a task.  Let's leave that to Father.  He's spent years in training to do that sort of thing.  Let's leave it to the Legion of Mary - they do that sort of thing. Let's leave it to the Catenians they are good at that.  Let's leave it to the young people - the ones who go to Lourdes each year.  They have the energy for that sort of thing.
That is the danger.  We can leave it to someone else.  Anyone else but me!!!  But I am not qualified for such a task you may be thinking.  I wouldn't know what to do or say.  I haven't had any special training.
We don't need any qualifications or training.  The tools that we need to go out and set the world on fire have been given to us.  They come in the form of two sacraments: Baptism and Confirmation. These two Sacraments enable us to go out and bear witness to our Faith in Jesus Christ. 
The same Spirit that was pour out on the Church at the first Pentecost is the same Spirit that has been given to us.  We need not be afraid of what we are to do or say - the Spirit will be our strength and our guide.
Go make disciples of all the nations the Lord asks us.  That task is given to each and every one of us regardless of our age or circumstances.  We have the necessary gifts and talents to go and set the world on fire.  Let's do it!!!

Monday, 2 June 2014


I came across this interesting article at the Women of Grace Blog (
It is written by Connie J. Fait, a former Tibetan nun, yogi, and head of a Tibetan Buddhist Temple who spent 40 years steeped in the practice and study of the yogic traditions before returning to her native Catholicism. In this article, she carefully explains why the effects of yoga can occur whether or not we will it or think we’re “just doing the exercises.”

yoga worship
I had forty years of knowledge and experience in the Yogic Traditions before returning to the Catholic Church.  It is in true charity that I offer this.
Over the past 30-40 years we in the west have been introduced to a lot of eastern traditions, in healing arts like acupuncture, martial arts, meditation traditions and yoga asanas (postures). We have grown accustomed to their presence and many of us have participated in them without knowing much about their spiritual origins.  The following has been gathered from traditional teachers of Yogic Tradition, and is only referring to the practice of yoga asanas being done alone without any additional spiritual practices or meditation.
Yoga asanas are not exercise as westerners would like to believe. I will use common language to explain yogic teachings concerning the practice of Yoga asanas and provide a few foot notes for those who want to read more from reference materials.
The knowledge of the Yogic Tradition is deeply hidden in mystery, and only understood by accomplished yogis who have passed on those secrets orally to one another for 5000 years.  Yoga asanas are recognized as the main tool to realizing these secrets and is accomplished only through a process of experience. Anyone who is doing yoga asanas is in that same process – whether or not they are aware of it or intend it.
Let me explain.
The Yoga asanas are the basis for the theology of Hinduism. In the beginning, the first recluse yogis sat yearning for union with their believed creator Brahman.  While sitting in mystical altered states, they began experiencing the spontaneous movements called kriyas, which later became the asanas we know today. While perfecting these asanas, yogis would experience high meditative states during which they experienced gods and deities who appeared to them, moving their bodies into postures/kriyas, and so created the names of some yoga poses as gods or deities.
Iyengar Yogacharia, believes that only two forms of the 8 limbs of yoga are necessary for accomplishing the goal of all yoga: the asanas, the stretches and poses; and pranayama the controlled breathing.
The well known Yogacharia who has taught people of the west, has made clear that if performed well, asanas will bring about a spontaneous pranayama response in the body. In other words, the breathing aspect of yoga need not be taught in a class because it occurs naturally with perfection of the asanas.(1) Essentially the point made is the asanas are the main limb according to Iyengar, with pranayama as second and will occur on its own with perfection of the asanas.
Meditation is never taught as it is also a result of the perfection of the asanas and alleged prana moving in the body, which leads to experiencing the meditative states and eventually ultimate Union with Brahman, gods and deities, or demons.
It is important for those who love to do yoga asanas because they believe it’s only exercise to understand what they are involved with.  In their zealous quest for perfection of these poses, it will be just a  matter of time before the pranayama aspect will spontaneously occur without ever actually being taught it.
Pranayama is the spiritual aspect of yoga. It is hidden, unseen by normal vision and occurs as a result of doing the asanas. Everyone experiences pranayama during the asanas poses to some greater or lesser degree. This is why the spiritual aspect of yoga, which is experienced through the prana, can never be separated from the asanas, no matter who you pray to.
When the pranayama aspect starts to occur it is the beginning of the spiritual yogic induction for people practicing asanas.  Some of the most frequent troubling signs that can occur when experiencing pranayama are: physical blockages resulting in undiagnosable pain, sometime debilitating; intense body heat; loss of normal life activities; mental/emotional disturbances; and psychotic breaks. These are just some of the signs of kundalini activation.
What is so frightening about this is that no one, especially not the one who is doing the asanas, has any idea of what’s causing their symptoms when in crisis. A very common form of yoga asanas known as Hatha Yoga is in the top six yoga forms known to facilitate kundalini.  All people will experience some of these – it’s just a matter of when.
The yoga instructors in the west are not traditionally yogically trained because that requires complete renunciation to the yogic tradition – meaning they would be expected to detach from all worldly possessions. Most instructors in the West receive a 200 hour yoga instructor certification, and are not qualified or knowledgeable to teach the mystical esoteric teachings or theology of yoga. This does not mean a class is safe from these harmful effects however; it just means that the instructors will not able to recognize the signs of kundalini activation or to be able to support someone in crisis.
In the mystical occult teachings of yoga it is the stretching poses which open the subtle body to activate the kundalini. Other poses will induce levels of meditation states which open one up to unite with Hindu deities. Iyengar Yogacharia said, the ‘mere’ practice of asana has the potential to induce a meditative state.(2)  This spontaneously occurs based on each unique individual and can happen at any unpredictable time from early in practice for a novice to one who is very advanced.
In conclusion, since all effects of yoga asanas are not a personally willed experience, they only occur spontaneously. Clearly, the willful act to practice any of the asanas is predictably dangerous for ones body, mind and soul.
For most people this information is not completely unknown except in innocent children being taught poses.  As Jesus commanded, we are not to have anything to do with any part of these traditions for fear of not entering the kingdom of God. It is difficult for Christians to turn completely away from Yoga asanas for many complex reasons. It will take informed knowledge, self conviction, humility, and the power of Gods grace.
Connie recommends these excellent safe alternative to yoga asanas:

Stretching Exercises:


As part of the Fun Day the children took some of the prayer cards that they had made and tied them to the school fence making a 'Prayer Fence.'

The staff and children also made this entertaining video.  If you look closely you might see a certain Parish Priest!!!



One of the primary schools in our parish is dedicated to St Joseph and St Bede.  Traditionally the children have celebrate Mass in church to honour St Joseph, but we did very little to honour our other patron St Bede.
So a couple of years ago be started a tradition of having a 'fun day' around the feast of St Bede.  It is a day when the traditional forms of learning in school are laid aside so that the children can have different learning experiences.
The children spent the day engaged in many activities including flower arranging, baking, orienteering and first aid.  Governors, parishioners, teachers and pupils came together to make it a very enjoyable day.
As part of the day I was able to focus on the life of St Bede and the lead groups of children in the art of Christian Meditation.   
A great day was enjoyed by all. I am only sorry that we didn't do the Mr Lloyd Memorial Walk around the woods this year!!!
The children enjoyed a range of activities

A selection of bookmarks

For the First Aid activity the children had to first make their 'wounds'

The children also made crosses and decorated them with beads

An selection of the children's work



Here are a few thoughts that I offered at Masses over this Ascension Tide Weekend.  The idea is not original to me.  I am grateful to Father Montgomery of the Shrewsbury Diocese for the original inspiration.
We gather this weekend to celebrate liturgically the Solemnity of Our Lord's Ascension.  The feast of the Ascension occurred last Thursday, marking the 40th Day since the Resurrection.  The liturgical observance has been transferred to this weekend by the Bishops Conference a few years ago.
However I want you to cast your minds back to Christmas.  No, Father hasn't completely flipped.  The events of the Incarnation (Christmas) and the Ascension (Our Lord's return in glory to His Father) are closely linked. 
At Christmas we gathered amidst turkey and tinsel and the odd glass of oh be joyful and sang:
He came down to earth from heaven
who is God and Lord of all
And His shelter was a stable
and His cradle was a stall
with the poor and mean and lowly
lived on earth our Saviour holy.
We will sing those words again at Mass to-day.  It might seem a little strange to us to be singing carols at the beginning of June but it helps us to highlight and reflect upon the Christ Child who came to earth.  The Child who was born in the dirty stable at Bethlehem is the same Child who has risen and ascended to the heights of heaven.  Where he has gone we hope to follow.
The hope of heaven is given to us at Christmas.  We sang then and we will sing again today
And our eyes at last shall see Him
through His own redeeming love
for that Child so dear and gentle
is our Lord in heaven about
and He leads his children on
to the place where He is gone.
The trouble is most people live their lives as if this world were all that there is.  Once we die that's it.  We are put in a box and buried or carted off to the crem for a quick service and then sent to the flames.  If this life is all there is then we may as well go home now. 
More and more common at funerals we have a 'Celebration of the life of.........'  And we recall the many things good that the deceased have done in their lives but often with the thought that now the person has died, that's it.  There is very little mention of eternal life in heaven.  And when there is mention of heaven it is nearly always portrayed in terms of the deceased being already there.  Then miserable priests like me come along and start talking about purgatory and being cleansed of the last traces of sin on our souls before we can get into heaven.
 Our eyes have to be firmly fixed on heaven as our final goal, our final end.  The Child born of Mary has now ascended into the glory of heaven - wearing not the fig leaves that Adam and Eve had to quickly make to hide their nakedness, but 'veiled in flesh, our Great High Priest' as we sang in our opening hymn.
Where Christ has gone we hope to follow.  Let us have our eyes firmly fixed on heaven as our final goal.  Having that thought should influence the way that we live our lives here on earth....
Credo in Unum Deum....


Our prayers and best wishes go to Andrea Rothwell and Steven Fawcett who were married at St Marie's on 31st May.  We wish them every happiness in their married life.


We also recently celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation in St Marie's Church.  Please keep all our newly confirmed in your prayers at this time as they continue in their Sacramental Programme and make preparations for First Holy Communion.
Here are a few pictures taken after the celebration.