Post your stories of conversion here. The seer Ivan says that conversion is a lifelong process.

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By glengormley
#43683
I'm writing this tonight to give praise to Jesus and his wonderful Mother Mary and to honour Father Paddy Kenny who first told me about Medjugorje in the H Blocks of Long Kesh Jail where I was serving a 12 year prison sentence for trying to kill British soldiers on the Falls Road in Belfast in 1982.Father Paddy died last week.
Now I'm a Catholic School teacher married with three lovely children.
At the very start of the troubles in Northern Ireland,my family were not in anyway involved or concerned with politics but as the war started many families like mine were dragged in as the burnings and killings swept across Nortern Ireland.Our home was attacked by a gang with a bomb on one occasion and we had to escape later on without possessions when we were chased from our home completely because of further intimidation and threats.As a young boy I grew up with a seething resentment against all those,especially the British who had,as I believed ,been partly responsible for the mayhem in Ireland.Well, I grew up against the backdrop of an armed insurrection by the IRA against the British Army.I studied Irish History and the more I did ,I believed that the British presence in Ireland was the source of all our ills.I decided as a young man to join the The IRA and fight them out of Ireland.However,I never realised how much I would be consumed with hatred and loathing.I became a man possessed with the deire to kill at any price.I was also a student at university at the time studying Russian Studies.I began to see the Catholic Church as part of the greater enemy ,the repressive system than collaborated with the the'Brits'.My training in the IRA was mostly with rifles,I was trained as a sniper in IRA training camps.Trained to kill.
One day,we ambushed an army patrol and I shot a man who was beside the army vehicle.As we escaped,on a motor bike, we encountered an unexpected army patrol from our rear.A soldier later claimed in court that he was about to shoot me when the bike crashed and went out of control.Thank God that it did!
I was arrested and for seven days refused to co operate with my police.I was charged with 5 attempted murders and sent to a remand prison in Belfast.God has a great sense of humour because the cell that I was a prisoner in overlooks the Classroom where I teach young boys about the love of Jesus!! My school is next door to the Crumlin Road jail.
I was eventually sentenced to 12 years in jail.Relatively light because my Mum,totally against my wishes, spoke to the judge about how we had suffered earlier in the troubles.This Mum was to be a major influence in my conversion through her constant prayers.
However,I still was a dedicated IRA man in jail and continued to plan and scheme against the authorities.
One day in Easter of 1984, a Mill Hill Priest called Paddy Kenny came to jail to say Mass. Mass for us in the jail was just an opportunity to meet each other ,swop things and pass on messages but this guy was different to any Priest who had come in to us.He spoke with authority.He challenged us.He told us about the massive love that Jesus had for sinners like us.He told us the story of Our Lady appearing in Medjugorje,an age of wonderful Grace in which terrible sinners could be washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb.He quoted from Isaiah ch.1 'Though your sins be scarlet I will make them white as snow..'
I spoke to him after the Mass and ,initially tried to convert him to my thinking but God had a plan.Slowly,painfully and slowly I found myself wondering and thinking about these words.There was truth in this man,integrity, honesty.He spoke passionately and I think that very day he sowed a seed.Over the next weeks and months,as I contemplated this, encountered other priests,corresponded to people who had been to Medjugorje, I began to pray from the heart.An anguished sort of prayer and one day I went to Confession.Here, I believe that I experienced real love,real peace for the first time and a hunger and desire to know God better.
I was released from jail in 1988,in March, and had the wonderful experience of going to Medjugorje for the first time in August with some wonderful friends that I had met after jail.God is so good.He has taught me that I am a great sinner but his love is vast enough to consume my great sin.I met my wife through my Medjugorje encounter and had a moment of reconciliation in Medjugorje when I was introduced to an ex British soldier who had served in Belfast at the time that I had been in the IRA.We swopped stories of pain and searching outside Saint James Church in Medjugorje and then embraced as brothers.Now only the Holy Spirit could cause that.
Many years on,still a stumbling disciple,I am still blessed by the encouner with the Risen Lord.I share this story with you that you might have strength in your faith and stay true to wonderful revelations of the Holy Spirit in Medjugoje today.
Give glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth.
Mark Lenaghan
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By starbright
#43687
God can indeed work miracles. Thank and praise God always!
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By aoise
#43714
As someone living in England, whose mother was Irish (from Clare) I was particuarly moved by your conversion story. I can remember the times when the IRA was at its height, so to speak, bombing and maiming on the British mainland. It was a frightening time. Thanks be to God and His Blessed Mother (and your prison Chaplain) for this wonderful grace. I am so pleased that you are reconciled with God and have true peace in your heart. Thankyou for sharing this. You are a brave and honourable man.

Laudate Jesu Christi
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By Spera
#43721
Mark, thanks for sharing such a powerful and personal story about your conversion. It's wonderful to hear how your life has changed. I wonder if God will be using you in the future to help others with your testimony? You could really make a difference. It was neat to hear that the priest's name was Kenny since that was my mom's last name.:D

Spera :D
By Steven
#43724
Thanks Mark. A powerful testimony to the life changing events resulting from Our Lady's presence in Medjugorje.

Steven
By stunnedbyit
#43735
Mark, that is fantastic testimony - thank you for sharing
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By Pippy
#43736
Mark, firstly, welcome to the forum...this Medjugojre away from Medjugorje. :D

And thank you for sharing your story, your history, and then your love for God and others. It must have brought up so much for you while writing it down. Thank you.

Now you are a Soldier of Love :D

Bless you and your's,

Pippy :D
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By starbright
#43755
I forgot to say, thank you and welcome, Glen! 8)
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By andieone
#43887
Mark,

Greetings from Donegal!!!!
First of all.....welcome and thanks for your testimony.
Having grown up in Belfast throughout the "The Troubles" I can empathise with you and must admit that I very nearly followed your path, but something or should I say someone pulled me the other way to eventually try to work for reconciliation between our two tribes.
If you're teaching in St.Malachy's ...its my old school. I have to say I did have a lot of good days there, but was glad to leave!!
Keep up the good work!
God Bless

Jim
By Cathy B
#43936
Mark,

Thank you so much for your inspiring testimony. Also, welcome to this
awsome forum you will find many a good friend here.

Welcome and God Bless,
Cathy B
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By Medjugorje Vin
#43991
Mark,

Not only was your testimony absorbing it was also excellently written.I have studied Irish history and have read ALL the books,10:33,Eamonn Collins,Before the Dawn,Wherever The Green Was Worn,Toby Hardin,Robert Kee and most ,if not all, the books written by Tim Pat Coogan.

The greatest achievement of not only the previous Tory Gov't,who opened this channel up,but the Labour Gov't of today is at last,thanks be to God, Irish men,women and children in the North are no longer dying at the end of a gun.I always said to people during the ceasefire ,I don't care if it lasts for hundreds of years ,as long as it lasts.

Your testimony is not only remarkable but it is an utter joy to see. :D

Praised be Jesus and Mary ALWAYS

Medjugorje Vin
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By puddyhuston
#44172
Thanks Mark for a wonderful testimony, it would be an inspiration to many young people who do not have any Faith.
Do you know of John Pridmore, he was a London gangster who is now a great Catholic and speaks to many young people in England, Ireland, Germany and other places, he spoke in Medjugorje when I was there in 2005 at the Youth Festival and had a major influence on my teenage son.
John is going to be on EWTN tonight at 1am uk time
I hope you can also speak to many others one day about your return to the Faith.
welcome to this great forum
God Bless
Stella
By glengormley
#44217
Thank you,Stella, for your kind comments.I did meet John Pridmore a couple of times,his testimony and talks I found to be very inspiring.I was out in Medjugorje also in 2005 with 60 young people and several teachers and youth leaders from Northern Ireland.I heard John speak at the youth festival and his words were powerful.God is good.

Mark
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By Hopper
#44231
Wonderful story Mark,

I wanted to read more. You didn't happen to be on EWTN with Marcus Grodi giving this testimony did you?

God Bless, Hopper
By glengormley
#44242
Hello Hopper,
Yes,I was on the 'Journey Home' programme with Marcus Grodi.It was filmed just outside Dublin in a town called Maynooth which houses the main Seminary in Ireland.We had an enjoyable day there and Marcus was a great host who had us relaxed for the interview.I was a bit nervous on the day but delighted to tell people about the absolute wonders of God's love and compassion.If He can do it for me,everybody's got hope.
Best wishes,

Mark
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By starbright
#44245
I saw that! You're famous...
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By Hopper
#44252
I thought so Mark. I was reading your most interesting story and thought "wait a minute I heard this before." Then I remember watching that Journey home program with you on it. Very, very intrigueing. I do have to brush up on that history of Ireland. So glad to hear that things are at a more peaceful state there now.

God Bless, wonderful wonderful testimony

Hopper :D
By Philomena
#44260
Mark, you too have received Divine Mercy firsthand! May you always remain close to his heart. Thank you for sharing! God Bless you and Yours!
Philomena :)
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By mcikath
#44354
:D Hi Mark, welcome to our beautiful forum, which sends out many blessings and Graces, and thank you for your testimony, i always love to hear from people from N.Ireland as my late husband RIP came from there and
he must be so happy in heaven looking down on his country at peace at last.May you continue to have peace in your heart, and love to your family
from mcikath xxx :D
By glengormley
#44389
Thank you all for your very warm welcome to this forum.It's strange because I found it by 'accident'.Obviously,it was meant to be.Being a new boy I was amazed just to go around the comments and experiences of so many people who have been touched by this incredible grace.Dozens of personal stories,so unique and particular to all of us.
Ivan makes a great point when he talks about conversions being a life-long process.When I think of my experiences, there are so many people and moments which make our stories more like the numerous strands which make up a rope.When I did the Marcus Grodi programme I didn't mention the word Medjugorje.A friend of mine spoke to me,very disappointed with me and said 'why didn't you mention Medjugorje'.I explained that I had prayed a lot about the programme and felt strongly that Our Lady wanted me on that day to talk about her Son and his amazing grace.On another occasion,a friend said to me that they heard me speak and it was sort of different to another time.On that occasion,I felt the need to talk about the power of prayer and the Eucharist.My Mum,Dad and family members had interceded to Mary for me.I felt like the guy who had been lowered,sick and disabled at the feet of Jesus through the roof of the house.Jesus,seeing the faith of the friends,grants their prayers for healing.Many times I feel that prayer of Paul when he felt himself such an inadequate man of sin and contradiction,'I don't do the things I should and I do the things I shouldn't .What a wretched man am I'. Yet, I continue to discover each day that we can always approach the throne of grace.His love is amazing love.Even the most hopeless of sinners like me,a desperate case of sin and contradiction can be welcomed for daily conversion into the arms of a wonderful Saviour.
By Wooday
#46916
Thanks Mark for this powerful and inspiring testimony to a life deeply touched by God's grace.
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By katiew
#47051
thank you so much for sharing this - what a beautiful story!

love,
katie
By bmadine
#101313
As someone who was educated by Mark Lenaghan, I can vouch for his inspiring, patient and encouraging nature. I remember Mr Lenaghan's classes fondly and I am grateful for the effort and time he put into every student in the class. Mr Lenaghan always had a way of dealing with situations calmly and I don't recall his temper ever being lost. He had the respect of every boy in the class and was well liked by all. He's a great teacher.

I hope everything is going well for you and your family.

God bless,

Brian
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By respond2ourLady
#102671
Today was the first time I've read your story. Hmm...it must have been overlooked somehow..:?..

I wish I could sit and chat with you and listen, and receive more information about of your life. It's a very very fascinating spiritual journey life story...
By Aisling369
#102912
Mark, Mark, Mark! Aisling Kennedy here!
Can't believe I found you! Isn't the Internet great for finding people?
Don't know how I managed to get you from my original google search but nevertheless I fell upon your testimony once again and it was like hearing it for the first time. Granted it was ssssh 17years ago that I first heard it but it was still refreshing!
I am so thankful to Jesus and His Blessed Mother Mary for giving me the Grace to meet you Mark all those years ago. I truly do not believe I would have the gifts I have today if it wasn't for your initial committment, encouragement, love, prayers, devotion, to 'us kids'! What you were to us you'll never know! And I know it was through the strength of the Holy Sprit that you maintained your commitment but it must have taken so much of your own energy. Those Monday nights that you worked so hard to teach us about the love and grace that was waiting for us. Your darling wee mummy who put up with giving us tea and biscuits after!
I know now Mark as I look back to those times that I never thanked you enough. I thank Jesus every day for the life I have but I never thanked you for 'introducing us'! On one hand it was such a blessing that I was so young when it began...I was saved from what could have been I guess. But on the other hand at 13 I didn't know about gratitude. I hope you know now how completely grateful I am for Monday night prayer meetings, for Galway retreats, for Inis Bofin!! for YOU!
I hope this letter finds you and your family well.
With the warmest of thanks Mark...always

Aisling Kennedy (now Ahmed :) )

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