February 2024: New Resources

New Resources February 2024 

A Journey with the Sunday Gospels in the Year of Mark
Triona Doherty & Jane Mellett

Messenger Publications, 2023
ISBN 978 1 78812 643 4, 181 pp

In this third volume of The Deep End, their series of Gospel reflections, authors Triona Doherty and Jane Mellett guide the reader along the distinctive Marcan highway whilst offering insights and fresh perspectives to sustain us on our Year B Sunday journey through the Gospel of Mark. In these challenging times, it is perhaps good for us to consider Mark’s intriguing words, ‘And they were on their way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was leading ahead of them, and they were ever amazed, and those following were ever afraid’ (Mark 10,32). While describing an actual journey undertaken by Jesus and his disciples towards Jerusalem, these lines are perhaps more illustrative of the rocky and uncertain path taken by all disciples at all times. Yet, we may be consoled by the opening line ‘The beginning of the good news’ (Mark 1, 1) and this book aims to help readers to integrate faith and life more fully by bringing them face to face with the Word of God.

Divided into seven sections which include Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time (3), Lent, Easter and the Season of Creation, the authors provide some helpful guidelines to direct our attention and enlighten our minds as we grapple with the challenging aspects of discipleship in Mark’s Gospel – following Jesus involves self-sacrifice and service for the sake of God’s kingdom. Short accessible reflections which include the scripture reference for the gospel of the day are designed to inform readers wishing to explore how the Sunday Gospel readings are relevant to their everyday lives. Following each reflection is a Go Deeper section which suggests practical steps to live out this gospel as we attend to our daily business. An overview of the ancient spiritual practice of Lectio Divina is included together with a recommendation for its use as a method of studying the weekly texts.

This book is a welcome and hope-filled resource for both private study and for group discussions during the different liturgical seasons. The thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time signals the end of our reading of Mark for this liturgical year and fittingly its encouraging message is ‘persevere until the end’ – despite the constant turbulence in our world, Jesus urges us to trust in the constancy of God’s love for us.

Reviewer: Mary Adamson, Drogheda, Co. Meath


Michael Fewer

Beehive Books, 2023
ISBN 978 1 80097 072 4, 208 pp

Tales from a Wicklow Tea Room, 1898–1960 tells the story of a tiny cottage in Glencree in the Wicklow Mountains and the tea room run there by the McGuirk family from the 1880s to the 1960s. It is about those who met and took tea at McGuirk’s during the most momentous years of Ireland’s history, and the world they inhabited. The author Micheal Fewer has written numerous books, on history, travel, architecture, and the natural world and countryside. He is a regular contributor on television and radio programmes, particularly RTÉ Radio 1’s Sunday Miscellany.

Over one of the most formative period in Irish history, the cottage became a meeting place for poets, artists, writers, scientists, politicians, lawyers and, indeed, representatives of every aspect of Irish society, including some of early-twentieth-century Ireland’s most influential people. Among the host of visitors were William Beckett, Denis Devlin, Ellen Duncan, Oliver St John Gogarty, Arthur Griffth, Hugh Lane, J.B. Malone, Constantia Maxwell, Robert Lloyd Praeger, J.M. Synge, Mervyn Wall and Ella Webb. Among ringing endorsements from Kathleen Watkins, John Quinn and others author and conservationist Éanna Ní Lamhna has praised this lavishly illustrated and creatively presented publication saying ‘Michael Fewer describes, in a most humorous and erudite way, what almost seems like a parallel universe to those who go hillwalking and climbing in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains today. A description of a totally vanished cohort of Irish society has been painstakingly constructed from sixty years of signatures.’ A delightful book to dip into and stir the imagination as well as the teacup.

Reviewer: Paul Clayton-Lea


Daily readings through Advent and Christmas
John Mann

Messenger Publications, 2023
ISBN 978 1 78812 646 5

While designed as a resource for Advent and Christmas this series of meditations on Scripture by John Mann, an Anglican priest with a long association with Northern Ireland fulfills a purpose well beyond the liturgical season. The vibrant and often poetic meditations emerge from one with a rich pastoral experience who has immersed himself in the Word and open up new horizons for meditation and prayer. Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy in his foreword comments ‘These meditations on Scripture by John Mann explore the relationship and the realities of light and darkness as they are found in Scripture, in human life and in Christian discipleship.

This ecumenical publication makes a fine addition to any spiritual library.

Reviewer: Paul Clayton-Lea