This Lent I invite you to celebrate God’s mercy – the richness and vastness of His love for each and every one of us. And to give you the opportunity of coming to know that love and mercy in an even deeper way we have invited the ex-gangster and internationally acclaimed speaker John Pridmore to share his amazing story Masses on 22nd & 23rd March.
John grew up in the east end of London and following his parents’ divorce he left home at 15. After a period of crime he ended up in a young offender’s prison. By his 20’s he was a violent East End gangster. Drug dealing and protection rackets brought him a classic gangster lifestyle of flash money, women, sports cars, designer clothes and a penthouse flat.
Then one night outside a nightclub, he nearly killed a man and something extraordinary happened. He underwent a profound conversion experience and left his life of crime behind to work with people like Mother Teresa of Calcutta. He now lives in Ireland and over the past 14 years has spoken to over two million young people worldwide in prisons, universities and schools. At the World Youth Day in Sydney 400,000 young people listened to his story of conversion. His autobiography From Gangland to Promised Land is an international best-seller and recently he met producers in Los Angeles who are interested in turning it into a film. His third and latest book Journey to Freedom was published at the beginning of this year.
John’s life witnesses to the love and mercy of God. If you haven’t experienced this love and mercy for yourself or need reminding of it, then this Lent please listen to Pope Francis’ invitation: “Ask yourself: ‘When was the last time I went to confession?’ And if it has been a long time, don’t lose another day! Go, the priest will be good. And Jesus will be there, and Jesus is better than the priest – Jesus receives you. He will receive you with so much love! Be courageous, and go to confession. Don’t be afraid of confession. When someone is in line for confession they feel uneasy or worry – all these things, even shame – but then, when they have finished confessing, they leave feeling free, great, beautiful, forgiven, clean, happy. The sacrament of reconciliation is a sacrament of healing. When I go to confession, it’s for healing: healing the soul, healing the heart because of something that I did to make it unwell.”
To invite as many Catholics as possible (practising or not) to hear and meet John we need your help to post leaflets advertising the weekend through the letterboxes of addresses on the parish database – as you do with cards at Christmas. Will you help?