The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

Faith, Can Indeed Move Mountains.

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In the United States a small congregation in the foothills of some high mountains in the state of Kansas had been fundraising for over five years in order to replace their wooden church with a solid brick built one. A member of the congregation had donated a plot of land and finally their new church was built. Ten days before the Bishop was due to perform the opening ceremony; the local building inspector visited the site and after a brief inspection he told the priest that the parking facilities were inadequate for the size of the building so he couldn't allow the building to be used. He said they would have to double the size of the car park or he wouldn't be able to pass the building as complying with building regulations. Unfortunately, the church had used every inch of land except for the mountain against which it had been built. The inspector suggested extending the car park at the rear by removing some of the mountain, but they would need heavy earth moving equipment to dig out the mountain, something they couldn't possibly afford. Undaunted by this setback the priest sent word out to the congregation that he was going to hold a prayer service on Sunday evening and ask the Lord for help in moving the mountain. At the appointed time only 24 out of the 350 parishioners turned up, but they prayed together for three hours asking for God’s help.

The following morning, there was a knock at the priest’s door and a man wearing a bright yellow “hard hat” introduced himself as the manager of the Kansas Construction Company. He said to the priest, “I'm sorry to disturb you this early Father, but we are building a huge shopping mall a few miles away and we desperately need some fill in top soil. Would you be willing to sell us a chunk of that mountain behind your church? We’ll pay you for all the earth we remove and if you wish we will even pave over any exposed area when we have finished, free of charge. But the problem we have is that we need to start right away as we can’t do anything on site until we get this soil in position, so our earth movers would need to start sometime today, with your permission. The priest readily agreed, closed the door and looking up to heaven he said, “I knew you wouldn't let us down Lord.”

Needless to say, there was indeed “mountains of faith” in the church that day as the parishioners gathered for the service of dedication performed by their bishop.

“Hope is the mechanism that keeps the human race tenaciously alive, deaming, planning and building.

Hope is not the opposite of realism, it is the opposite of cynicism and despair.”

Published Fri 9th May 2014 11:24:06

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