Men of humour – lighthearted or dry. Men of prayer, men of joy!
As a teenager, Owen Grant shared how he cycled from New Castle to Freshfield (200km) with his friend to a Zealoters Day or “come and see” weekend in their passion to become to missionaries, falling off the bicycles a few times in the fatigue and returning via the same highway.
Fr Owen Grant told the anecdote he used for Mission Appeals of two spiders in Church complaining and competing which each other, one hovering over the stations of the cross and the other, the Redbox – one gets disturbed only once a year during lent, the other was not sure when he last got disturbed by a coin into the red box.
Fr Owen Grant, in an attempt to convert an atheist who insisted there is no God and no life after death, told him, “you are in for a pleasant surprise”.
An Irish priest and monk working in an Island recently testified on EWTN his vocation and mission that the person who inspired him was his parish priest who was at once holy and at once dirty; that dandruff used to fall on his shoulders from his hair. Fr Owen Grant was in between these extremes, bless him!
Fr John Sweeney often remembered an engraved message of his strict mother from childhood who used to point a finger at him when he was very young and wayward saying: “Johnny don’t”, it nearly became his surname. But what an example of “a jolly good fellow”, always smiling even if wayward. What a truly humble priest shaped by years of working with condescending and always right colleagues in mission. What a non-threatening fragile person and priest, always altruistic, affectionate, and affirming. What a questioner and a listener, with such childlike curiosity and wonder!
And of anything said of Fr John Sweeney, none equals the man of prayer I know. Fervent with the community rosary every day, fervent with meditations before Mass, in offering and exonerating Masses and, boy, in saying this groundbreaking prayer everyday which he asked me once to type up on a bigger font as his sight was waning. What a prayer! What a man of Prayer! Praying for the dead and the living, for the world and the Church, for sinners and for conversion.
The Coronavirus hastened their death, one at 80 and one at 89 and hopefully their entry into eternity. Fr Owen Grant, buried today 16th April, rest in peace, be in for a pleasant surprise from our merciful Lord yourself!
Fr John Sweeney, honoured recently and cherished profoundly by the Namilyango Ex Studies of Uganda and UK, a man of prayer, rest in peace and pray for us as we say “your” prayer one more time:
“O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother and Queen of the Divine Will, I entreat you, by the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and by the graces God has granted to you since your Immaculate Conception, the grace of never going astray.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I am a poor and unworthy sinner, and I beg of you the grace to allow our Mother and Luisa to form in me the divine acts you purchased for me and for everyone. These acts are the most precious of all, for they carry the Eternal Power of your Fiat and they await my “Yes, your Will be done” (Fiat Voluntas Tua).
So I implore you, Jesus, Mary and Luisa to accompany me as I now pray:
I am nothing and God is all, come Divine Will. Come heavenly Father to beat in my heart and move in my Will; come beloved Son to flow in my blood and think in my intellect; come Holy Spirit to breath my lungs and recall in my memory. I fuse myself in the Divine Will and place my I love You, I adore You and I bless You God in the Fiats of Creation. With my I love You my soul bilocates in the creations of the heavens and the earth: I love You in the stars, in the sun, in the moon and in the skies; I love You in the earth, in the waters and in every living creature my Father created out of love for me, so that I may return love for love.
I now enter into Jesus’ Most Holy Humanity that embraces all acts. I place my I adore You Jesus in your every breath, heartbeat, thought, word and step. I adore You in the sermons of your public life, in the miracles you performed, in the Sacraments you instituted and in the most intimate fibers of your Heart.
I bless You Jesus in your every tear, blow, wound, thorn and in each drop of Blood that unleashed light for the life of every human. I bless You in all your prayers, reparations, offerings, and in each of the interior acts and pains you suffered up to your last breath on the Cross. I enclose your Life and all your acts, Jesus, with my I love You, I adore You and I bless You.
I now enter into the acts of my Mother Mary and of Luisa. I place my I thank you in Mary and Luisa’s every thought, word and action. I thank you in the embraced joys and sorrows of Jesus’ Redemption and of the Holy Spirit’s Sanctification. Fused in your acts I make my I thank You and I bless You flow in the relations of every creature to fill their acts with light and life: to fill the acts of Adam and Eve; of the patriarchs and prophets; of the souls of the past, present and future; of the holy souls in purgatory; of the holy angels and saints.
I now make these acts my own, and I offer them to You, my tender and loving Father. May they increase the glory of your children, and may they glorify, satisfy and honor You on their behalf. Let us now begin our day with our Divine Acts fused together. Thank you Most Holy Trinity for enabling me to enter into union with You by means of prayer. May Your Kingdom come, and Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Fiat!
Emmanuel Mbeh mhm