Ex-gangster John Pridmore puts Good News where his machete used to be

John Pridmore
John Pridmore

Catholics at the parish of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, St Marys, won’t be scared when Englishman John Pridmore visits their parish for a series of talks, next month.

Once upon a time, though, they would have been.

The former underworld ‘enforcer’ lived a life of brutality, drugs and promiscuity in East London before an encounter with God led him to turn his life around.

Mr Pridmore will be giving a retreat at the parish from 6-10 June.

It is an event which parish priest Fr Brendan Murphy SDB hopes will attract interest from lapsed and non-Catholics in the area and throughout Sydney, as well as his own parishioners.

“We want to cast a wide net,” Fr Murphy told The Catholic Weekly, saying he read about the John Pridmore’s grittiest, soul-destroying and glorious days in his autobiography, From Gangland to Promised Land : Meet the Man Behind the Machete.

“His story has great appeal and people are bound to be attracted to it.”

Mr Pridmore spoke to large crowds in Sydney during World Youth Day in 2008, including the final gathering of around 500,000 people at Randwick racecourse.

Mr Pridmore will deliver talks entitled ‘God’s love story,’ ‘God’s mercy,’ ‘God’s healing,’ ‘God’s gift of Mary’ and ‘Mass of the Holy Spirit’.

The retreat will also feature Adoration, with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament each night.

For more information, contact the parish on [email protected] or (02) 9623 1962.