Newry Parish Bulletin Sunday 5th December 2021 | St Joseph's Convent Primary School Newry

Newry Parish Bulletin Sunday 5th December 2021

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Newry Parish Bulletin Sunday 5th December 2021

Dear Parishioner,

This weekend we meet the figure of John the Baptist, the messenger sent before the Saviour to prepare the way and to make his paths straight, prompting us to live lives without spot or stain.  The Gospel account of the emergence of John the Baptist and of his preaching points us to think about the example and sense of hope given by heroic figures who stood up for a principle.

These need not all be religious figures or representing a religious cause.  People who have stood out from the crowd in the search for justice or in peace campaigns who contribute mightily to preparing a way for the Lord.  Figures such as Dorothy Day founder of the Catholic Worker soup kitchens in the USA, or Anton Wallich-Clifford, founder of the Simon Community, come to mind.  So does Rosa Parks; her decision, on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1995, not to cede her seat to a white man, as required by law, proved to be a catalyst for the civil rights movement.

Franz Jaegerstatter, beatified in 2007, is a figure well worth mentioning in this regard.  His life is the subject of the 2019 film by Terence Mallick, A Hidden Life.    A small farmer in Austria, he refused to fight in Hitler’s army, because he believed the war being waged by the Nazis was unjust.  Despite the interventions of some relatives, of the Parish Priest and the Bishop, to get him to change his mind, he remained resolute and was executed in 1943.  He explained his own thinking:

“Again and again, they try to trouble my conscience over my wife and children.  Is an action any better because one is married and has children?  Is it better or worse because thousands of other Catholics are doing the same? … Everyone tells me, of course, that I should not do what I am doing because of the danger of death.  I believe it is better to sacrifice one’s life right away than to place oneself in the grave, than run the danger of committing sin and then dying”.

God Bless

Canon Francis Brown

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