Sunday December 7th. 2014                                                                                                                           Charity registration No. SC 002876

St. Margaret's,                        St. Joseph's,                        St. Finnan's
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Parish priest: Fr. Tom Wynne.  Tel: 01397-712-238    Mobile: 07879297420      St. Margaret’s, Roy Bridge PH31 4AE

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We remember in our prayers at Mass this weekend, Fr. Tom’s sister-in-law, Marion Wynne, whose second anniversary is on Monday, December 8th, feast of the Immaculate Conception. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and may Our Lady gather her into her presence as she had great devotion to the rosary.

Our parishioners in Care Homes

At this time of the year, we remember those who are now in Care Homes who now need attention which their loved ones at home, who served them so lovingly, could no longer provide for them.

Angus Campbell who is in Invernevis House, and Etta Campbell, who is in  the Abbeyfield Home, Ballachulish.

Both these homes have been beautifully modernised and have every facility and are completely up to date.

The staff are truly wonderful, loving and attentive to all the needs of the patients, which gives great consolation to the respective families. Visitors are always made so welcome, and very often there is a cup of tea provided when they know you have come from a  distance. We remember Angus and Etta in our prayers at Mass each Sunday.

Mission appeal makes £760

The generosity of our parishioners was quite wonderful in their response to Fr. John’s lovely homily last Sunday.

It is a record for this parish—£760!

People took Fr John to their heart, for his homily was not about an appeal for financial help, but about encouraging us to prepare wisely during these Advent days to welcome Christ, our Saviour at Christmas. He thanked the parishioners for their support in the past to all the missionaries who made  appeals in this parish, and simply asked for their prayers and support for the mission in his homeland of Sierra Leone. He is a very devout and humble priest.

He told me that God works in his own mysterious ways.
He was born into a Muslim family and he was only two years old when his father died suddenly, and left his mother a widow. Some time later,  she married again to another Moslem, and she asked John’s uncle and aunt, who were Christians, to take care of John. She had five more children, a boy and  four girls.

Fr John saying Mass in Kingstown, his own home town.

John was baptised and brought up by his devout Catholic uncle and aunt, and when he reached his teens he expressed a desire to study for the priesthood, and entered the local seminary to study as missionary for the Xavarian Fathers.  He was ordained a priest in Kingstown, capital of Sierra Leone, in 1999. His tutors recognised him as being very a clever young man, and he was sent to Rome to study scripture at the famous Gregorian University. He was to spend eight years there, and achieved the highest possible honour when, as a post graduate student, he was awarded a doctorate in Sacred Scripture, one of the most difficult doctorates to obtain. It meant being fluent in ancient scriptural languages: Latin, classical Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, the language spoken by Our Lord, and now almost extinct. These languages allowed him to study scripture in depth by going back to its essential roots and reading the scrolls in the original language in which they were written, No mean achievement!

Sadly his stepfather died, leaving his mother a widow again, and this time with five children. It was during Fr. John's period of study in Rome that she decided to become a Catholic, entirely on her own initiative. He was so pleased and delighted at his mother’s decision, and she has become a very devout Catholic. He tries to help his mother as much as he can by sending her gifts of money, as she has no income, and he pays for the rent of the house. It has four small bedrooms, and some of his half-sisters stay there, for sadly, like so many young women during the civil war, they were terribly abused by terrorists, and made pregnant.  He also tries to support them.

He returns to Sierra Leone on Saturday as he has been appointed to teach in the seminary where he himself studied as a student. It was in Sierra Leone that the dreaded disease, Ebola, started, and every area is cordoned off and  a special passport is required to leave and to enter any area. All public meetings are banned, but Mass is still permitted on condition that people walk through baths of specially treated water to disinfect their feet, and also wash their hands in a basin provided. They are not allowed to touch each other during Mass, and the sign of peace is forbidden.

Fr John has asked me to thank everyone most sincerely for their kindness and generosity. He said it was  a great privilege for him to come to our parish and meet so many friendly and kind people.  We will keep him in our prayers that God may protect him and keep him safe.  I have his address so that help can be sent to him safely through the Western  Union Bank.