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Sunday 2nd December Sermon


At the end of the year or rather the start of the new year people make resolutions – New year resolutions – to give up smoking, eat less, take more exercise – whatever.

Well this is the start of a new year in the church’s calendar. Today is the first Sunday in advent. So maybe it’s time we made some new year resolutions!

The first Sunday of Advent! Advent – a time of preparation for Christmas. A time of waiting. It is like when we join the kids in eagerly anticipating Christmas. But we are not waiting for Santa Claus. We are waiting for Christ! Waiting, waiting we don’t like waiting God doesn’t have to wait for anything.

He is not bound by time! God is, as we say, eternal. With God there is no past, present or future. It’s all one continuous now! We can’t understand it. We live in a world of time. Time is something God made for us. What’s the saying? “When God made time, he made plenty of it!” He made time for us, and God gives us plenty of time to grow, to develop, to become the sort of people he made us to be.

This Advent let our New Year resolution be to try to grow in the image of Jesus to use our time well. That is why God gave it to us!

Padre Pio – Home for the Relief of Suffering


Padre Pio suffered greatly – both emotionally and physically throughout his entire life.   But as he welcomed those sufferings, he offered them with Christ for saving souls.   However while he was happy to accept suffering himself he had an intense desire to alleviate the suffering of others.   He had a dream, an idea, a goal to help them: To build a hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo.

Early in 1940 Padre Pio was in his cell with three good friends, three spiritual ones. Dr Sanguinetti municipal doctor of San Lorenzo in Florence, Dr. Kiswarday a pharmacist from Yugoslavia and Dr. Sanvico a vet from Perugia in Italy.

Padre Pio spoke  “In every sick person there is Christ who is suffering.   In every poor person there is Christ who is languishing.   In every sick person who is poor Christ is doubly present”.

This is how the idea of the hospital was born.   He pulled from his pocket a small gold coin which had been given to him by an anonymous old lady for his works of charity.   He held it up and said  “I want to make the first donation for the home for the Relief of Suffering” – his hospital – that was what he called it!   Not a hospital but a home  for the relief of suffering.   That same contribution was the first of a great stream of contributions that came flooding in to help.   Some people gave ten or twenty lire – a very small amount  only the equivalent of one or two old pence. Others gave millions of lire – but for those in charge  the twenty lire were worth as much as the millions.

One day a highly intelligent young English woman named Miss Barbara Ward who was editor of The Economist was in London with the Marquis Parizi when she expressed a wish to meet Padre Pio of whom she had heard so much.    “I will accompany you” he said.

They took the plane to Rome and continued on to San Giovanni Rotondo.   As they approached the monastery, Barbara was surprised to see a priest in charge of twenty men working on the road.   She asked him what they were doing and the priest replied “We are building a very large hospital”.    “How much will it cost?” she asked and he nearly exploded like a bomb.    “Four hundred million lire” he answered.   “Who pays for it?” she asked him.   “Whoever passes by pays” he said.    Miss Ward passed by and went to see Padre Pio.

“Everyone in London speaks so highly of you that I have come to ask you a favour.”    “Yes the Lord does grant favours” he replied.    “Father I am a Catholic but my fiancé is Protestant. I would like him to convert to Catholicism”.    Padre Pio answered “if God desires it he will be converted”.    “But Padre Pio, when? she asked.   “If God desires it will happen right now”.   Miss Ward returned to London not quite satisfied with Padre Pio’s answer.

To her amazement she found that her fiancé had been baptised a Catholic on the very day, at the very hour that she had asked Padre Pio.   She made the miracle known and begged her fiancé to go to Padre Pio to thank him, and “Remember they are building a hospital and need four hundred million lire”.

Her fiancé was managing director of UNRRA – the United Nations Relief & Rehabilitation Administration – he not only kissed Padre Pio’s hands but also made him this proposition.   “Father” he said “I know you need money, well if you consent to name the hospital in honour of Fiorello la Guardia, I can help”.   Fiorello la Guardia, a native of Foggia was former mayor of New York and president of UNRRA.   Padre Pio just shrugged and agreed.

A few days later the fiancé went to America to tell Fiorello la Guardia’s widow that a big hospital was being built in Italy in honour of her late husband and then he told her that he had obtained a sum of four hundred million lire from the UNRRA for the project.

So work proceeded on the building.    Padre Pio’s frequent visits to the site brought great joy and encouragement to all.   On the 5th May 1956, the feast of St.Pius, the home was formally inaugurated.

At first the hospital was equipped with 300 beds – now there are well over 1000.   In 1957 Pope Pius XII appointed Padre Pio administrator of the hospital – a signal honour never before granted by Holy See.

On the 10th anniversary of the Home Padre Pio spoke to his children.   He looked at all the good that had been achieved in the ‘Home For The Relief Of Suffering’ and he spoke.    “My dear children to all of you may the peace and blessings of Our Lord be with you.   My blessed children I thank you for your generosity, for your sacrifices and for your interest and thoughtfulness.    You have been instruments in God’s hands.    As a token of my gratitude and appreciation I offer my prayers and my suffering for all of you”.


By Father Canice Murphy O.P.

Sunday Reading – 2nd December, 2012


The First Sunday of Advent

FIRST READING          Jeremiah 33:14-16

‘See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when I am going to fulfil the promise I made to the House of Israel and the House of Judah:

‘In those days and at that time,
I will make a virtuous Branch grow for David,
who shall practise honesty and integrity in the land.
In those days Judah shall be saved
and Israel shall dwell in confidence.
And this is the name the city will be called:
the Lord-our-integrity.

Responsorial Psalm:      Ps 24
Response :                      To you, 0 Lord, I lift up my soul.

1. Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
for you are God my saviour.          Response

2. The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray,
he guides the humble in the right path;
he teaches his way to the poor.      Response

3. His ways are faithfulness and love
for those who keep his covenant and will.
The Lord’s friendship is for those who revere him;
to them he reveals his covenant.     Response

SECOND READING   1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2

May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.

Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus

Gospel  Acclamation       Ps 84:8

Alleluia, alleluia!
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy
and give us your saving help.

GOSPEL:                        Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamor of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.’

‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’