Reformed gangster will speak at parishes, school

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For The Catholic Messenger

BETTENDORF — A former British gangster who converted to Christianity will speak during a parish mission Jan. 27-29 at St. John Vianney Parish about how God changed his life.

He also will speak briefly at weekend Masses Jan. 26-27, at Assumption High School on Jan. 29 and a men’s conference at St. Mary Parish in Solon on Feb. 2.
John Pridmore grew up outside London, but when he was 10 years old his parents divorced. According to his website, he decided not to love anymore. At age 13 he started stealing and by age 15 had been confined to a detention center. He said the only thing he knew how to do was steal, so when he was released, “that’s what I did.”

At age 19 he returned to prison. Because of the anger within, Pridmore said he dealt with his pain by fighting. He was placed in 23 hours of solitary confinement. “I came out of there even more angry and bitter.”

He continued fighting and got involved in organized crime after his release. “I had what I thought was everything — money, power, girls, drugs, the lot. But yet there was something missing. This struck me more than ever, when I thought I had killed someone outside of a nightclub I was working at. After nearly taking that man’s life, something incredible happened and my life began to change,” he said.

Asked what happened in 1992 that caused his great conversion, he responded, “My mum was praying for me. And I was aware that God was real, and I was far away from him.”

Pridmore began working with youths to show them a different, nonviolent path. He began speaking full-time at parishes, schools and prisons throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. He later started traveling around the world.

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He encourages families to take the time out of their busy schedules to attend the mission together. “Our everyday lives are very busy, but God is never outdone in his generosity. Give God one hour each night, and many miracles will take place, some big and some small, but all life-changing.”

The mission talks are Jan. 27, God’s love: the story of John’s life; Jan. 28, God’s mercy: meet Jesus personally; and Jan. 29, God’s healing: healing service. Each mission talk begins at 6:30 p.m. in the church.

St. John Vianney Parish is located at 4097 18th St. For more information, contact the church office at (563) 332-7910.


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