I was in show business. My dad’s an entertainer, a comedian back in England. I was doing things like that, pantomime and comedy clubs and events. I felt like I could serve God in that capacity and He really did use me thankfully.
Roundabout 14 years ago, I felt God was calling me to the priesthood. It was just there. The thought wouldn’t go away.
My parish is in Salford, Manchester in a shopping center.
I’m in between Aldi and Lidl. I get to find out the best deals in the shopping center. When it’s 2 for 1 I’m the first to know about it. People come to our weekday midday Mass and then go shopping afterwards.
When I was 18, I hit a wall. I suffered with depression. My depression was so bad that I couldn’t be in a room by myself because I disliked myself that much.
I started to pray for a resolution that if God was there, He would get into the situation. This young priest walked into my life. I shared with him about my depression.
Then the priest said to me, “You should really come to confession. I think you would experience a lot of God’s grace, a lot of God’s healing.”
I thought, “I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.” It ended up being the best decision I’ve made in my life.
In confession, you meet Christ. A priest is “in persona Christi,” in the place of Christ whenever he carries out ministry.
The beauty and the wonder of confession. It’s one of the greatest gifts. When we go to confession, we’re totally honest. When the priest puts his hand over our head, in that moment our soul becomes as pure, as white, as beautiful, and as ready for heaven as it was the day of our baptism.
So I go to confession, get rid of everything that’s on my heart, and at the end of this confession, the priest placed his hand over my head, and I felt this incredible peace. I felt this power overshadow me. I didn’t know it then, but I know it now, it was the Holy Spirit.
I had to make a decision whether I was going to take my faith seriously or not. I was thinking at that point in my life, “Do I believe? Yes, I believe, but how is my life any different from the people that don’t believe? What evident sign is in my life to let people know that it’s different?”
There was a lady in my parish that was telling me about these messages and that Mary was appearing in Medjugorje.
She lent me a book on Medjugorje, and I started reading the messages. I thought, “I don’t know if it’s happening or not, but what I do know is that She doesn’t seem to be saying anything that’s outside the gospel. I should be living this more. I’m going to start praying more. I’m going to start going to more daily Mass. I’m going to say the Rosary more. I’ve got to go to confession more.” It started to inspire and set a fire in me.
Along the way, Medjugorje has been a massive influence. I came when I first had the inspiration back in 2001. She was there every step of the way.
I’ve never come to this place and Our Lady hasn’t given me something.
Medjugorje is Marytown.
Wherever Mary is, miracles happen. Wherever Mary is, there are life-changing events and life-changing encounters.
Come out and see Mary. The first thing you should do is say, “Oh it’s so lovely to see you,” then go to confession.
Like any good mother, if you’ve fallen over in dirt and you’ve gotten yourself dirty, the mum’s like, “Okay, we’ve got to clean you up because you’re going to go see Jesus.”
Medjugorje is a place of conversion. As a priest, you see people transform in front of you. It’s phenomenal what happens in this place.
It’s a place of encounter. It’s a volcano of God’s red hot mercy. If you come closed, you won’t get anything. If you come open, even slightly open, God will do amazing things.
Medjugorje is a place where lives can be changed.
At every Mass or every time we stand in front of a statue of Our Lady or every time we pick up our rosary beads, Our Lady is as present as She is to the visionaries here. We may not be able to see Her like the visionaries, but it’s a question of faith. She is as present as She was to the children in Fatima and as She was to St. Bernadette in Lourdes. She comes because She’s a faithful Mother.
That’s what Medjugorje is for me, Our Lady is present. She’s always present, but sometimes people don’t realize how present She is. Come to Medjugorje and realize how present She is. When you go home, you’ll realize how present She is to you at Mass, in confession, in every Hail Mary you say and every time you call Her name.