September Editorial – Re-seeding not receding

On taking up the editorship of Intercom, one of the first things I noticed is that the magazine looks quite different when it’s read while wearing the editor’s hat. As a reader, I had never been fully struck by the sheer scope and variety of content offered by the magazine. From the message conveyed by the cover picture, to the presider’s notes and homiletic materials, to the catechetical content, to the articles on an array of subjects, Intercom covers a wide territory indeed.

From the editor’s desk, the view of tasks to be undertaken turns out to be quite a panorama. I am looking forward – not without some trepidation – to carrying on the work of outgoing editor, Fr Paul Clayton-Lea, so that Intercom can continue to engage with a broad range of pastoral concerns. In the memorable phrase of Patrick Kavanagh, our pastoral work is carried out ‘wherever life pours ordinary plenty.’ It is my hope that Intercom will continue to honour the breadth and depth of this remit.

Anyone who has ever worked in parish ministry knows that variety can also carry risk: the risk of dissipation. We need an overall vision to guide our efforts, to give coherence to the multitude of tasks that busy us. The purpose of Intercom is stated on the cover: it is a Catholic Pastoral and Liturgical Resource. This gives plain guidance to reader and editor alike.

Another phrase, this time a biblical one, seems to me to capture the essence of what this magazine is about. In Ephesians 4:12, we read that various gifts and roles are given for ‘the equipping of the saints.’ I doubt if there is a better way to convey the fundamental aim of this magazine, a way that respects its great variety of content, while also giving a singleness of purpose to that variety.

Equipping the saints. Anything that helps us to understand and live the Gospel, and that helps us to help others to do so, equips us. Anything that helps us to rise to the challenges of our time, that encourages us to persevere, equips us. Anything that conveys truth and beauty, and that alerts us to what is false or debasing, equips us. Again, it is my sincere hope that Intercom may continue to be an instrument of this equipping.

We’re all aware of the challenges that face us. Discouragement can be a real temptation; anxiety for what the future holds can paralyse efforts in the present. But if the Lord intended his Church to be small and vulnerable, then at least on that level we’ve been making considerable progress! There’s no room for complacency, of course: the Gospel of life and of mercy is for all and its time is now. The temptation may be to recede, but the task is to re-seed. May Intercom continue to be an instrument in the project of re-seeding the faith here in Ireland.

I extend my sincere thanks to Fr Paul Clayton-Lea for his help and kindness and I am very grateful for the experience and expertise of David Macken. Intercom is blessed with a network of excellent collaborators, and I would also like to thank the team in Maynooth and Veritas for their kind welcome.

Father Chris Hayden


For more content from our September issue, click here