Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Solemn High Mass

This Sunday at 6pm in St Therese' church, Somerton Road there will be a Solemn High Mass. The celebrant is Canon Lebocq, the Deacon Fr Michael Rowe and the Subdeacon Abbé Gonzales. Please come along and encourage your friends and family to participate at this beautiful form of the Mass.



Thursday, 11 December 2014

Homily 7th December - Second Sunday of Advent


                                               Epistle                            Gospel
                                          Rom. 15:4-13                   Mt. 11:2-10

                                                       By Fr Martin Graham

Saint John the Baptist was the last of all the prophets; 2000 years after Abraham lived the coming of the Messiah was imminent. For the Jewish people the Messiah was to come in majesty and splendour and of course that didn’t happen, He was to come as a baby, He was to wear a crown of thorns, He was to reign from a Cross. To the Hebrews this was far from what they had imagined, this could not possibly be the way God had intended.

When the Year 2000 was approaching the whole notion of the Second Coming was to be found in Hollywood films, books, and a variety of other places. The subject has, for a long time, captivated the human imagination and almost all the poems and prophecies, songs and stories foretell the Second Coming as a wretched day, a day filled with death, a day of disaster and destruction. Shortly after the bloodbath of the First World War and the turmoil that followed it W.B. Yeats wrote a poem called ‘The Second Coming’ and in it he wrote, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold, Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere, The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; surely the Second Coming is at hand.”

Like the poem there have been many preachers who, when speaking of the Second Coming, present Our Lord almost as the enemy of humanity, as though we should resist His coming. True, we do not know when the Lord will come again – Saint Paul says that it will be when we least expect it, like a thief in the night. True, there will be no way for anyone to avoid it. True, the Lord will come to judge us in justice. True, unlike His First Coming all humanity will know for certain that He has returned. True, when faced with all these facts then it is only natural that we could look upon that day with fear and dread.

But, and it’s a big but, for all those who look towards God in faith, this should be a day of great hope, not dread. The Liturgy constantly encourages us to look with joy and hope for the coming of our Saviour.  Saint Augustine once wrote, “What sort of love of Christ is it to be afraid of His coming?” Surely it is a contradiction to profess our love for God and our faith in Him, yet, fear His coming. Saint Augustine quotes the First Book of Chronicles, “...all the trees of the wood sing for joy before the Lord for He comes to judge the Earth.” The Second Coming is the day that we, the Children of the Light, will receive the salvation promised us, so with the trees and with all creation we should welcome Him with shouts of joy.

As Children of the Light, the day of judgement should not cause us to fear. Let us remember that, He who comes to judge us has lived among us; He has loved us and walked with us, He is one of us. Let us not give in to panic and chaos, but let us listen out and hear the words of Christ, “It is I, do not be afraid” and rejoice that our salvation is near.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Mass and first Blessing of a newly ordained Priest

This Sunday at 7pm Holy Mass will be offered in St Therese church by Canon Benjamin Coggeshall, a newly ordained priest for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Following Mass Canon will give his first blessing and provide a prayer card for everyone who attends. Please share this information and encourage as many friends and family as possible to attend.

Christmas cards featuring beautiful images of the Nativity and published by the Institute will be available for sale, proceeds going to assist in the Institute's work of enhancing the beauty of the Sacred Liturgy. A pack of six cards costs £4 (€5).



Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Schola

A new schola is being formed in Belfast. The ambition is that every Mass will be sung if possible. The choir master of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, Canon Lebocq, will offer lessons each second Sunday one hour before the 6pm Mass in St Therese. The next practice will be on Gaudete Sunday (14th December) at 5pm. If interested please contact Cathal Steele for further information (07815302563).

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Homily 2nd November - The Commemoration of the Faithful Departed


                                           Epistle                             Gospel
                                        Eph. 6:10-17                   Mt. 18:23-35

                                                  By Fr Martin Graham

Last month, as many of you know, my mum died. She had been ill for 18 years and this last year was especially rough. Although she would have been only 65 this Tuesday she was just worn out and she wanted God to take her. Over and over at the Wake people said to us that she has it all over her and she is certainly in Heaven, instant canonisation, instantly a Saint. I hope so...but I cannot presume so.

I cannot presume so because mum had her faults, like we all have our faults. Heaven is a place of absolute joy, absolute peace but also a place of absolute perfection; no trace of infirmity exists there but at the same time there can be no trace of sin. And so the Catholic faith has always taught that we must be purified before can enter Heaven, we must be rid of all imperfections on our souls and the place where that all happens is Purgatory.

Contrary to what most people believe Purgatory is not a sort of mini-Hell; the whole essence of Purgatory is that it is not a place of punishment but a place of healing. If you think of a sin like a nail; when we commit a sin we put a nail into the wall, when we go to Confession Our Lord’s forgiveness is like Him taking the nail out of the wall but...there’s still a hole left, a mark. Purgatory fills in all these holes and restores the wall, restores our souls, to a pristine condition.

The Catholic Faith takes praying for the dead so so seriously. In every Mass the dead are prayed for and on All Soul’s Day these Masses are specifically said for them but also to remind us of the need for us to pray for them. They are known as the ‘Poor Souls’ because they rely on us to help them with our prayers, as we would pray for someone here on Earth. We must not instantly canonise someone, if we do that we are in grave danger of not praying for them.

But what happens if we pray for someone we know who has died, but they have gone through Purgatory and are now in Heaven? What happens to those prayers? Catholicism teaches that they are certainly not wasted. Saint Matthew’s Gospel tells us “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven”. Every time we do something good for God, we “store up treasure in Heaven.” And so there is truly a treasury of good deeds in Heaven, “The Treasury of Merit” – in other words like a bank storing people’s money, this treasury stores the prayers and good deeds of Our Lady and all the Saints, stores our prayers, our good and godly deeds, and when we pray for the Holy Souls those prayers are added to this Treasury and God applies them to people who are not prayed for, the souls in Purgatory that are in most need of them, perhaps some of our own relatives.

There are many prayers we can offer for the dead but at this time the best way this is done is by gaining the Plenary Indulgence; when we say the prayers to gain a Plenary Indulgence not just is the time a soul in Purgatory lessened but by being flooded by God’s grace that soul is restored to perfection and admitted into Paradise. The Plenary Indulgence can be gained every day between the 1st and 8th November but this whole month is the Month of the Holy Souls; it is so important for us to pray for the dead and if our loved ones have already arrived in Heaven then it is worthwhile remembering that the prayer is not wasted; God will redirect it to some other soul who has no one to pray for them, some other soul whose relatives do not see the need to pray for them. Now they have passed beyond our care it is the only thing, but also the best thing, we can possibly do for them.

Blessed are they who have died in the Lord, may their good deeds, and our prayers, go with them. May they rest in peace. Amen.