November 2022: New Resources
Fr Paul Clayton-Lea
BEAUTY THROUGH BROKEN WINDOWS
Empowering Edmund Rice’s Vision Today
Edited by Aidan Donaldson and Denis Gleeson
Veritas Publications, 2022
pp. 246 • €24.99/stg£22.50
During his funeral homily for the late Queen Elizabeth II the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby memorably remarked; People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer. But in all cases those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are long forgotten. The words apply well to the story and vision of Edmund Rice who two centuries ago looked out his window, saw people in dire poverty and was moved to action in the service of the poor and marginalised. A new book which Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, describes as engaging and inspiring and ‘having the potential to transform lives’ offers nineteen essays from the pens of a diverse range of contributors who, inspired by the Gospel message have similarly responded to the needs of the excluded and the poor. Peter McVerry, Una Agnew and John McCourt are just a few of the authors assembled by the editors Aidan Donaldson and Denis Gleeson in order to move and encourage the commitment to serve others.
In his foreword to the publication Jim Deeds recalls sitting in a classroom in Belfast in 1983 as a first year Grammar School boy in St Mary’s CBS and looking at the painting of an old man which hung in his classroom and who seemed to be looking out the window on a war torn and impoverished city. The old man, Edmund Rice, was to have a profound influence on Jim’s life as he later went on to become an inspiring poet, author, pastoral worker and retreat giver. This passionate and engaging collection of essays deserves the widest possible audience. Each chapter concludes with a series of reflections and questions making it suitable for group as well as personal reading. It’s royalties are unsurprisingly perhaps directed to an orphanage and Maternal Health Support Programme in Zambia and Kenya respectively.
Ministers of Hope
Edited by Alan Hilliard
Messenger Publications, 2022
Playwright Brendan Behan in a famously drunken BBC interview informed his audience that ‘the world is full of sick people and nurses – I’m one of the nurses.’ Coming from someone quite inebriated it was nevertheless profound. There are those who need and those who give and perhaps we are all needy or giving at different times in our lives. However the subject of Chaplains – Ministers of Hope is the role of individuals who have dedicated themselves to demonstrate compassion and support for many who find themselves in institutions of one kind or another by choice or default and who on their journey sometimes need the support of a dedicated chaplaincy service. In three parts and at one hundred and eight pages the contributions come from practitioners and theologians all offering an insight into the challenges and joys of their mission. Coming from the worlds of prison, migration, education, healthcare, army, homelessness and hospice among others they remind us of the frequently unseen but vital role performed by chaplains as they seek to serve people at difficult or pivotal moments of their lives.
In his foreword Bishop Éamonn Walsh points out that ‘the filter of today’s world does not tolerate mistakes. A world of name, blame and shame has been created while the world of recovery is one of rebuilding lives.’ Recovering and rebuilding is a large part of the chaplain’s service. An insightful and long overdue account of the contribution made by chaplains to society’s wellbeing.
THE 17 IRISH MARTYRS
Columba Books, 2022
Hardback • €16.99/stg£14.99
Few people are more qualified to revisit the stories of the 17 Irish martyrs than former President Mary McAleese. Rarely out of the headlines and like the importunate widow in the parable of the unjust judge fearing neither God nor man the author brings her unquestioned energy and passion to stories of great courage with which she clearly empathises. Seen through the prism of her experiences in Belfast as a young Catholic subject to discrimination and oppression she found her interest in the story of the 17 Irish Martyrs to be re-ignited when presenting a film about their lives; I became aware of the reality that my contemporaries in Northern Ireland were still living out the dreadful times in which the martyrs lived. Granted access to the formal documentation prepared for the beatification of the martyrs by the late Monsignor John Hanley and Fr Gerry Rice, the author apparently mulled over the contents for three decades before finally publishing the fruits of her labours. It was worth the wait as the result is a learned yet utterly engaging and heartfelt account of the lives of 17 very brave souls who in the author’s words ensured that the ambition of the English government to extinguish Irish Catholicism went unfulfilled. A great read.