April 2023: New Resources

New Resources
April 2023

Fr Paul Clayton-Lea
Armagh Diocese

The official Directory of the Irish Catholic Church

Veritas Publications, 2023
ISBN 978 1 80097 049 6
pp. 432 • €50.00/stg£45.00


A recent power outage which left me without internet resources meant turning to the bookshelf where I found the information required in good, old-fashioned book form. On that occasion an address was needed and thankfully the Irish Catholic Directory provides the most up to date resource for the listing of personnel in the Church and related organisations. Now in its thirty-third edition, the official directory of the Irish Catholic Church remains an invaluable reference tool for its users and includes an annual review of pastoral activities of the Irish Episcopal Conference. Obituary and ordination lists, general statistics and an alphabetical list of clergy in Ireland and their contact details are just part of the resources to be found in the 432 page hard back volume. A time-saving and dependable guide.



Marguerite MacCurtin

Beehive Books, 2022
ISBN 978 1 80097 041 0
pp. 168 • €17.99/stg£16.20


Travel essays have been popular from medieval times to Charles Dickens and from Mark Twain to Michael Palin. Such gifted authors help bring alive what they have seen for the enjoyment of those who are content to be ‘armchair travelers’. ‘Invisible Threads’ by Marguerite MacCurtin broadcaster and writer, similarly invites readers to see through her eyes and enjoy her journeys and encounters across seven continents. Known by many radio listeners thanks to her entrancing story telling style on RTE’s Sunday Miscellany the present collection of essays casts a similar spell as the author carries us from Antarctica to Tibet and from Moscow to the Nile. Everywhere she travels while the history and often spectacular scenery entrance her it is above all the local people who are at the heart of her tales. ‘It is their stories, their beliefs, their religious practices, their rituals and their empathetic connection with the traveler in their midst’ that inspired her she claims.

Divided into five parts over 165 pages this slim volume manages to regularly transport the reader to different worlds yet also to realize the connections between human beings that transcend barriers of race, language, culture, and geographical location. A book to be enjoyed across the generations and a delightful introduction to the wonders of travel and the varied ways of life of the human family.



José Maria R. Olaizola SJ

Messenger Publications, 2023
ISBN 978 1 78812 624 3
pp. 160 • €12.95/£11.95

While some may occasionally agree with the late existentialist Jean Paul Sartre that ‘hell is other people’ most of us, especially post-Covid have learned to appreciate more deeply our daily encounters with others, even the most mundane. Many people have encountered real loneliness at a deeper level in recent years; ironically in part thanks to the advance of technology which often seems to undermine and even replace the daily human encounters that were once our everyday experience. In his latest publication Jose maria Rodriguez Olaizola SJ who is a writer and sociologist has turned his attention to this most universal of human experiences in Dancing with Loneliness and encourages us to embrace the experience of loneliness ‘as a creative emptiness within which something new and life giving can develop.’ While the topic may seem like a melancholy one the author, as Brian Grogan SJ points out in the Foreword, ‘distinguishes between a healthy solitude and aloneness from an insidious loneliness’ which is destructive. While this publication does not promise a cure for what is described as an epidemic of isolation in the 21st century it does present loneliness as a great opportunity to hear God speaking and to know oneself and others.



Lenten Prayer Series

Lorcán Kenny
Veritas Publications, 2023
ISBN 978 1 80097 054 0
pp. 72 • €9.99/stg£8.99

At the outset of this short series of reflections on sorrow in both Irish and English, the author invites the reader in order to engage fully with what he has written, to quieten the heart and spirit. What then follows are voices of seven characters from the Lent story: Mary of Magdala; Malchus; Procula, wife of Pilate; Judith, mother of Barabbas: Nicodemus; Dismas, the good thief; and Tamar, the woman at the well. The reflections are accompanied and assisted by insightful photographs from Brid Dunne. All author royalties from the book goes towards the education and care of two young people in Uganda.