Charity registration No. SC002876  
Sunday May 5th. 2013
avid Parkes is a Dublinman who played professional football for clubs and for Ireland and sang professionally in his own band.  In 1976, at the age of twenty-six, he was diagnosed with a serious case of Crohn's Disease, a serious bowel disease, and over the next thirteen years had about a dozen operations.     Eventually he had to give up his job as band leader and singer, and that meant there was no income coming into the home.  'I was totally confused in myself.  I'm not sure was it fear or worry or what.  Five times I walked away from my home and my wife Anne and my son David who was born with cystic fibrosis.  Each time I came back, as Anne was a rock of strength.  I don't know how she coped with me.  She was a very devout Catholic, but I hadn't been to Mass for years.  The only time I prayed was before operations! I was desperate, but turning to God was not an option for me.'    On Monday 27th February 1989, the Who's Who of Dublin's entertainment industry organised a benefit concert for David and his family.  David had the feeling that it was also a kind of 'au revoir' from them to him, but he sang as he never had sung before for them, despite his weakness and pain.  At the end of the night a man came to him and asked him would he like to go to Medjugorje with his wife.  'I had vaguely heard of the place, but knew nothing about it, and certainly had no religious interest in it.  But the man told me we would also be having a few days rest at a place called Cavtat, where Anne and I had spent our honeymoon.  I told him we could not afford it, but he said two tickets would be ready for us from the group.'    They went, and the rest is history.  David was a total doubter.  They arrived in Medjugorje on 23rd April 1989, after a long bus journey, which irritated David immensely.  As they neared their destination, the group decided to say the Rosary, and he refused point blank to join in.  'Nobody is going to stuff religion down my throat!'    Two mornings later there was a healing service after the 10.00am English Mass and, 'I thought I might as well attend it, as there was very little to do in that tiny isolated village.'    David's wife Anne persuaded him to go up for a blessing   - 'Are you joking, these people are a bit crazy! Ok so, maybe I better get it over with!'  Fr John O'Malley, an Irish missionary priest, and Fr Peter Rookie, an American,
prayed with him.  To cut the story short - over the next few days David felt his strength coming back, he began to eat anything he liked, and was sleeping like a log.  Two days after the healing prayer, David woke up in Medjugorje, and realised that all his constant pain, nausea and vomiting seemed to have disappeared.  'I remember sitting on a rock on the side of the hill with Anne, and I began to feel this peace that you could touch.  I never thought of praying, I don't know why, it was just such a beautiful feeling sitting there.  It must be what paradise is like.  And if that is so, I want a part of it.'    David is in perfect health to this day.  In fact he now spends most of his time in Medjugorje working as a guide for pilgrims.  'The thing that impressed me so much was there was no hype, nobody trying to sell a line.  But there is an atmosphere there, a presence that you can almost physically feel.  I have so many memories, impressions of people at prayer, people full of joy and happiness.  It is a very special place.  For me it was like experiencing a piece of heaven.  Of course my whole life has utterly changed.'
Mejugorje  - fact or fiction. (contd from last week’s Bulletin) Fr Brian Treacy tells the story of David Parkes
Anniversary—Hugh Carmichael When I went first to Oban in 1957,  I spent a lot of time in St. Columba’s primary school, and the pupils became very close friends. Primary 7 was a particularly wonderful class, and we did lots of things together, especially music. One of the pupils of primary 7, Jean Carmichael, now Jean Sheppard, living in North Wales, had a glimpse of me on television in one of the episodes of the  Island Priests when a scene was televised at a ceremony in Oban, and traced me here to Roy Bridge after a gap of over forty years! She has been in regular touch since then, and she and her husband, Bill, called to see me two years ago, and I hope for another visit this summer.  It was so nice to recall many of things we all shared together in these halcyon days.
The farm that Jean and are husband live on produces some of the finest Welsh pork, and I have received several parcels with  beautifully  cooked slices of pork, complete with apple sauce, and I can certainly vouche that Welsh pork is  superb! I knew the family so well in Oban and was a regular visitor to their home. Sadly, her father, Hugh, died last year,  and Jean, who  was a sister with the  National Heath Service for over 20 years, nursed her father at home during his prolonged illness. Mass was said for him on his anniversary. Her mother, Nancy, died several years ago. May God grant them eternal rest. Another Mass will be said for both this week. Jean reads the Bulletin every week on the internet, so we send her and Bill our good wishes from Roy Bridge.