Good morning!

Yesterday we were at the Franciscan friars of the renewal! One Saturday per month they host a prayer day and at this stage we are regulars!

Even for the not so prayer, the delicious lunch and fellowship would be enough to entice someone to return!

Sorry to reuse this picture!!

After lunch one of the priests shared his testimony. I don’t know why but I always get very touched when priests share their stories! Maybe it’s because it’s reassuring to see and hear that they are human too and it breaks down barriers of the ‘them and us mentality’!

This testimony was wonderful and hit on so many topics as the priest in question came from a non-Christian home!

He had a super interesting journey and first became an Anglican and some time afterwards a catholic!

What was remarkable was his honesty, his vulnerability and his humour! It’s not often I hear a talk for an hour and don’t get bored half way through but this one grabbed me!

Even more meaningful was that this priest is a friend of mine now for a few years as I’d known him in Ireland but I’d never heard his story until now!

At times we struggle to love priests and at times priests struggle to love us! But when the pressures of life and ministry are put aside we can meet on the common ground of just being human!

Without question, the power of testimony is staggering and especially when the testimony is honest, real, relatable, vulnerable and humourous!!

Testimony pulls God out of the heavens and puts Him in front of us! It breaks the fears and anxieties and insecurities and invites God into the deepest and most human parts of our lives!

Testimony fosters hope, love, reconciliation, credibility, prayer, faith and love!

Yes, testimony can bring ordinary people to Jesus like nothing else!

I say this as my own testimony will be all over northern Ireland this week as it appears on a well known gay magazine which probably doesn’t have that many people like me talking about Jesus!

So I ask you to keep it in your prayers! It is not easy having one’s life story sprawled across the media with the potential to be ridiculed but what is harder is when one is ridiculed from one’s fellow Christians!

My prayer is that those who read my life story may be touched by the love of Jesus and by the power of prayer to restore broken lives.

My prayer is also that my fellow Catholics will open wide their hearts to loving and helping these people without judgement or condemnation!

And finally my prayer is that those who have time and time again accused me of being evil and of following evil spirits may come to see that I am a catholic just like them charged by Jesus to bring His love and truth to the darkest corners of this world and to people who may never otherwise hear of Him!

So my friends! Please don’t judge me but pray for me and may your life testimonies too be stories of inspiration and hope, especially to those on the margins of society!

Our Lady of Medjugorje, Queen of peace, mother of ‘apostles of love’, pray for us that we may bring more and more souls to know the forgiveness and the love of Jesus!

Let us also pray for more vocations to the priesthood, that God may call more and more ‘unlikely candidates’ for His glory and for future of the world!

Bless you all and thanks to the friars for another great day!

Michael