In the parish of Blessed John Henry Newman, we have been seeing quite a few changes just lately. We have seen Monsignor Paul Fisher leave us to become Vicar General to Bishop Marcus Stock of Leeds; we have seen Father Emmanuel going off to continue his missionary calling in Huddersfield and the arrival of Father Pat Wall to St. Theresa’s and Father Matthew Habron to St. Gregory’s presbyterys. We have also seen Sister Elizabeth, of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, being reassigned to her convent in New York. No doubt another sister will be assigned to replace her.
However, the Parish of Blessed John Henry Newman continues to be blessed from God. We have been chosen to be the hosts for his placing five of the brides of Jesus Christ amongst us. These wonderful young women carry the Holy Spirit in their souls and it is easy to recognise this when you meet any one of them, as they all convey the message of Jesus Christ to us all as true witnesses of his continued work here on earth. They are here to give of themselves to the rich, poor, healthy, sick, ignorant, married or single, in other words, all of us.
Each one has taken sincere vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, and this is the way they live. Their vow of chastity means that they have no distractions in their devotion and adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ; you can see this aliveness and a spirit of joy whenever you meet any one of them. The vow of poverty leaves the sisters free of all possessions and helps the sisters to grow a deep spirit of self-giving. The vow of obedience allows the sisters to be servants of the will of God and to always do the best for their fellow sisters, the community they live in and of course the parish members where they reside.
They love our Lord Jesus Christ completely and wholly and they live by faith alone. They work hard to take on the attitude of Jesus Christ; we know that this is not an easy thing to do. Just how many of us can honestly say we have done that just for one week? And they convey Love and mercy as infinitely as did Jesus Christ. They know that the Lord will provide for them and will not let them want for anything they need whilst they live in their convent, which was the old presbytery of Corpus Christi.
Although they are based here with us, they go out amongst others throughout the Northern Region. They bring the message of mercy and of love to all people who the Lord may guide them to.
On the first Friday of every month they hold a wonderful evening called Handmaids Women’s Prayer Meeting from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at Corpus Christi Church. This consists of prayer, confession, meditation, music and the rosary for the ladies of our parish.
I know from my wife; that this the most uplifting and renewing of faith experience that anyone can have, and here it is right in our midst; free, just waiting for you. So if you are a lady of our parish and whether times may be joyous and you wish to share it amongst others or whether times may be difficult and your faith needs a big boost or maybe you just want to be amongst other Catholic ladies, then you can do yourself a favour and spend time with these wonderful sisters.
You may ask, “What do these sisters do for us?” and “How do we benefit from their presence amongst us?” Well, they pray for us all every single day. In fact, they spend around five hours each day in meaningful prayer. They will take on your special needs in their prayers and you will feel the benefits of their efforts. Remember it is easy to ‘talk the talk’, but these Sisters ‘walk the walk’ and they do it for you.
We may all be going about our lives and attending mass, regularly saying our prayers, attending confession and other church events throughout our liturgical year, basically living our lives as good Christian people, but the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal are professionals in this regard and we can rely on them for their spiritual guidance and example.
They live lives of poverty and rely on generous donations for their continued work, food and wellbeing. Whenever they have more than they need they give it to the poor and needy. So please spare a thought for them in your prayers, and give thanks to God for his gift of them to our parish; they are not amongst us by any accident. If you would like to support them in any way, then contact them at the convent of Corpus Christi. They will direct you in ways in which you can help them and God will surely Bless you for doing so. As St. Matthew says in his gospel V 25:40 And the king will answer them, “truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are my family, you did it for me.”