Charity registration No. SC002876  
Sunday July 14th. 2013
In this month’s Flourish, its editor, Vincent Toal, highlighted the address given by Pope Francis to 10,000 people from the diocese of Rome during the Mass for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. He first spoke to the Archbishops, among them Archbishop Tartalia of Glasgow, who were receiving the pallium, a sign of their unity with the Holy Father. He said: It is your task to hold nothing back, to go outside of yourselves in the service of the faithful and holy people of God. And in his first encyclical letter, Lumen Fidei (the Light of Faith) which has only recently been published, he addressed the faithful to take seriously their own responsibility to bring God’s love and the promise for salvation to the poor, the sad and the suffering. God gives people a heart that loves, a heart that suffers, a heart that rejoices with others, a heart full of tenderness for those who bear the wounds of life and feel they are on the periphery of society. Turning Jesus parable of the lost sheep on its head, he suggested the task today was to go after the 99 who are missing from Mass and the sacraments, rather than pamper the few who remain.    He asked: “Do we feel the fervour, the apostolic zeal to help others with their faith?  A parish should not be closed in on itself but have concern for everyone. There are souls who live without hope and perhaps are immersed in sadness, that try to escape by thinking they can find happiness in alcohol, drugs, gambling, the power of money and promiscuity.” “Those who have the joy of knowing God as a loving Father, cannot be indifferent to those yearning for love and hope. With your witness, your smile your tender concern, your prayers, we can let others know that the same Father loves them too. These are important words of our Holy Father, and his own simple life- style and his love for the poor, the suffering and those who have lost a
sense of God as a loving Father, is endorsed by his obvious concern for all these people as is evident how he mixes freely with them. Have we ever had a shepherd who has influenced us so quickly by his holiness and simplicity of life? Our present situation The number of Catholics who no longer come to Mass and the Sacraments has increased  in every section of society as materialism and secular values take over from Christian ideals and faith. This is also true for all religious denominations for they are all affected! At one time, Catholics rarely missed Mass, unless there was a special reason to prevent them. In years past  when there were few cars, some people were prepared to walk a great distances to be present at Sunday Mass. Sadly, our parish, like all other parishes, is not exempt, for there are some who no longer find Mass an essential part of their lives. Yet, Pope Francis wants them to know that they are very precious to God our Father and loved individually by him.  He reminds us that Christ died for everyone, atheists. humanists, pagans.  No one is beyond God's mercy no matter what situation they are in or how far away they have wandered from him. We are all precious to God! Perhaps this is as good a time as any when Pope Francis makes his appeal to all of us, to mention gently and kindly to any members of our family, or close relatives,  who have been lax in attending Mass or going the sacraments, to mention the great desire of the Holy Father that we all make use of God’s abundant grace, and we will receive a warm welcome. We all know of people who have stopped coming to Mass; why not pray for them privately that God may give them the grace to alter their lives.  I pray regularly at Mass, at the rosary and saying my  breviary for the lapsed in our parish that by the grace of God they will return to the Mass and the sacraments.  Let’s make it a silent volume of prayer, and leave the outcome to God’s goodness and mercy!
Pope Francis: our need to bring back “the 99 who are missing”
Pope Francis washing and kissing the feet of prisoners
Seeking the lost sheep
Francis’ love for disabled children