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Fr Tim on Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor

Fr Tim on Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor

Fr Tim would like to put on record his appreciation of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor:

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I had the pleasure of meeting him on a number of occasions, but one stands out in particular. At Redemptorist Publications Jane Williams, the wife of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, had just taken on the role of editor of our Anglican publications. I was duly invited to Lambeth Palace for a Christmas reception and when introducing me to her ten-year-old son, Pip, she was trying to explain the difference between Catholics and Anglicans. She decided to give him a clue by introducing Cormac's name into the conversation. The bemused child only made the connection when Jane continued to try and describe Cormac to him, whereupon he cried out: "Oh, you mean the one whose laugh can be heard all over the house." As luck would have it I bumped into Cormac at couple of days later and asked him if his ears had been burning. He was clearly delighted with the description.

He was a good man, who radiated the joy of the Gospel. He was entrusted with much responsibility throughout his long life and served the Lord and the Church with great dedication, coping with some of the serious challenges with genuine grace and humility. We owe him a great debt of gratitude for the influence he brought to bear among the College of Cardinals prior to the election of Pope Francis.

May he rest in peace.

Tim Buckley, CSsR

stgerard

Our Shrine to St Gerard Majella is in an alcove at the back of the Church. 

In late 2014 it was refurbished and a hanging textile depicting St Gerard's home town of Caposele was added.

The wall hanging was designed and painted by Gill Roberts and was embroidered by David Peglar and Gill Roberts of the Metropolitan Cathedral Art School.

Although St Gerard's  life was short, he managed to achieve great holiness. So numerous were the miracles God worked through him, that even during his lifetime he was called the“ wonder-worker “.

Since his death in 1775, countless favours and miracles have been granted and worked through his intercession.

As well as the patron of a good confession, he has become well known as the patron of mothers and has been invoked as a constant source of help and inspiration to parents.

For prayers to St. Gerard click here.

You will find the Special Intention Prayer and Thanksgiving prayer in the shrine.

Votive candles should not be placed within the shrine, however, if you wish to do so one can be lit at the shrine to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (or Help) which can be found at the front of the Church.  

League of St Gerard

The League of St. Gerard is an association of Christians united in prayer for family life and its Christian values.

 Membership is open to all.

 The enrolment fee of £2.00 covers prayer leaflets and a medal and a remembrance at a weekly Mass offered for all members and their intentions. If you would like to join  then  Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or write to: The Director, League of St. Gerard, Hawkstone Hall, Shrewsbury SY4 5LG

One of the Confreres wrote a homily for the feast of St Gerard which has been published on the Province Website - but which is reproduced below.

A homily for the feast of St. Gerard Majella C.Ss.R., ...

Writing or reading the lives of the saints is a challenging occupation.st gerard majella

Accounts of their lives can be so remote from our ordinary human experience that we find them so unattractive and de-humanised that there is no incentive to follow them. 

Gerard Majella's experience and living of the Christian and religious life was so out of the ordinary; yet he is an outstanding example of the Alphonsian tradition that has animated generations of Redemptorists:

the imitation of Christ the Redeemer;

in recalling his' infancy, his passion death and resurrection;

his abiding presence in the Eucharist;

a devotion to his Blessed Mother and the compelling desire to share these with ordinary people as we journey together.

In some ways Gerard is the most medieval of our saints, full of crazy gestures, even as a child yet moulded in the traditional devotions of  his contemporaries, the ordinary people of Muro.

The popular piety of Southern Italy at that time and even to this day is characterised by a profound sense of the supernatural, boundless confidence in the goodness of God and his providence; the mystery of the cross and a childlike attachment to our Blessed Lady and the intercession of the saints. It has been described as the poor peoples alternative to the liturgy. Some would describe this popular piety as an inferior state of faith, tinged with slight superstition, when in fact it is relating to the divine or supernatural in a different way.

Of all our saints and we have a few, Gerard is the most mystical, the most free spirit and the most popular.

Muro, was the Neapolitan town where he was born in April 1726.

The son of a tailor he was apprenticed as tailor himself but felt a strong desire to enter religious life. Refused at first on the grounds of ill health, he was accepted eventually on a trial basis by the Redemptorists. The manner of his entry into the Congregation was a bit unusual.

 Now 23 years old he attended a mission in his parish given by the Redemptorists and was instantly attracted to their way of life.

His mother feared that she might lose him, so on the last day of the mission locked him his room until the missioners would leave. To her horror he had tied the bed sheets together and climbed out of the window and joined the missioners on their journey home. He left a note; "I am off to become a saint."

After his profession he accompanied the missioners on their journeys to 'country places to preach and catechise. He proved to be a great asset; a spiritual guide; a discerner of souls and their spiritual state; a gift of speaking of the most profound truths in the simplest of ways.

What a contrast to the judgement made on him when he first entered the Congregation. His first Superior commenting on Gerard's transfer to another community "I am sending you a useless lay-brother" No psychological assessment or counselling in those days.

His confreres called him: " Let me do it " for if there was ever a difficult assignment or uncomfortable situation to deal with, he would volunteer to do it. On the door of his room he placed a sign: " Here the will of God is done" and he meant it.

He wrote many letters to troubled souls, directed scrupulous consciences, settled family disputes.

He prayed with mothers in difficult childbirth and now is well known as the "patron of mothers and young children.

Falsely accused of improper behaviour with a young woman, he remained silent until his innocence was proved.

After only six years in religious life he was diagnosed with TB and endured the painful and ineffective treatments of his day.

He bore his sufferings cheerfully. He died in the early hours of 16th October 1755.

Gerard Majella is a grassroots saint. He was not a saint who would fit into the questionnaires or scrutinies of Canon Law. His contemporaries spoke of him as one of their own , who accepted them and their circumstances as they were. Gerard was there, where ecclesiastical documents and Canon Law had not yet reached. Perhaps this is the reason for his popularity in our day. He is there when he is needed as many anxious mothers continue to testify.

Materdomini, in the hills outside Naples is his shrine. Today it will have been the scene of great celebrations, firework displays, processions and countless pilgrims praying at his tomb. 

I commend our Congregation to his prayerful intercession! 

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