(As published in 'Kiely's Comments' newspaper column in the Dungarvan Observer newspaper 12.4.06)
"Go and Free My People!" by Pat Kiely.
As this is Holy Week, it may be appropriate to relate the following story about Fr.Clement Machado,Solt., a Canadian born priest, and EWTN broadcaster,who recently held a two day Lenten Retreat in Melleray Parish Church,Nr.Cappoquin,in Co Waterford in Ireland.
So what possessed over 400 people, ranging in age from around 20 to over 80 years old,six young seminarians down from Maynooth and two assistant priests,to choose to spend two freezingly cold St.Patrick's weekend days,sitting on hard church benches, in what felt like sub zero temperatures, even with the heat turned full on, listening to this Canadian ordained priest, author and Rome qualified exorcist,preach about faith,the saints,the bible, the devil, purgatory and hell?
Those who attended the retreat, which judging by the number of pink labels, signifying two day attendance,appeared to be around 95%, found it well worth while and were rewarded with many interesting insights into the life and times of our patron saint ,Patrick,the catechism, the 10 commandments and the Bible.
Fr.Machado preaches in Melleray!
(photo (c) patkiely2006)
The youthful looking Fr.Machado,who has preached in at least six different countries, claims that St. Patrick appeared to him during his ordination 13 years ago,as he lay prostrate before the altar of the giant Montreal cathedral which seats 2000 worshipers.
" I felt I was been taken out of all reality, as St.Patrick told me, "Go and free my people," claimed the 39 year old priest.
"At the time, I never thought for one moment I would visit Ireland,but God has his own plans,and here I am now on my second visit over the past two years, to your lovely and once very devout country."
During the weekend,Fr.Machado spoke with the natural authority and presence, one would expect from a Rome trained exorcist,and frequently used his excellent oratory skills to project his voice as loud as thunder, when wishing to emphasise a particular point or piece of scripture.
The retreat, lasted from 10 am. till 8pm. on the Saturday,and included a healing service on the shorter second day,with the energetic Fr.Machado almost continuously on his feet, even though he was suffering from a bad cold.
"What would St. Patrick, who gave so much of his life to converting the Irish to Christianity have thought of the Ireland of today and the so called 'celebrations,' which now take place annualy in his name,"continued Fr. Machado"
"How would this man who fasted and prayed and fought off demons on a daily basis,have viewed the ever increasing return of this country to paganism, where in some schools, RE lesson time is given over to students to be used as free periods,where some 9 year olds can't even recite the Lords Prayer,where fornication of all sorts and explicit TV programmes are all acceptable?"
"Where many parents now condone the immorality of their offspring..?" "God /Jesus never said there would be no punishment for unrepentant sin,"Fr. continued, with the power of an old fashioned bible thumping missionary. -
"God will not come looking for us,he just gently waits like the prodigal father,for us to return to him."
Fr. Machado's who several times spoke about the spiritual benefits of fasting and confession,concentrated for almost all of the first day explaining the first commandment alone,ie false gods,magic,horoscopes, clairvoyance and many so called new age therapies,with frequent reference to scripture, the bible the saints and the catechism.
"Did you know that the more holy a person is, the more they need confession,that even the late Pope John Paul 2nd., frequently availed of the sacrament, and that many of the saints confessed daily,"Fr. claimed.
After evening mass on the first day, there followed the blessing of religious items,books,rosaries,and St. Benedict medals etc. followed in dramatic fashion, by the blessing of two large tubs of water, which had been carried into the church earlier in the day.
All present were asked to kneel,or stand, but not sit,and repeat prayers and the' Lords Prayer' several times during the ceremony. The atmosphere was electrifying,as Father's voice took on an unworldly tone and authority in the casting out of the fallen angels and demons, as he blessed the water in exorcism style.
"Begone satan!" Fr. Machado roared several times,in such a loud voice, that quite a few people literally jumped in their seats.
So what was gained by the whole experience?
One visitor who had travelled from Cork said,"It was amazing to hear Fr.Machado's talks,and to see his extreme reverence and belief in the Eucharist,and watching him hold the raised host for almost five minutes at the consecration was very special, and created for me a real sense of awe and wonder during the mass.
Another visitor, a younger man from Lismore, was also most impressed after attending only on the second day and wished he had also been there the day before.
"Don't criticise the state of the church in Ireland at present and leave things to others...Think about St. Patrick, and remember just one man or woman can change a country, or even the world.- So don't wait for others. - Do something yourself," Father appealed to those present, at the conclusion of his two day retreat.
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