Humble and devoted pastors to their flocks

In their contrasting ways two much-loved priests offered selfless pastoral service to different faith communities, writes Martin O’Brien The diocese of Down and Connor was both in mourning and in thanksgiving last week after the deaths on the same day of two of its most beloved and distinguished priests, Fr Des Wilson and Msgr Ambrose Macaulay. They…

Pioneering a shared Eucharist

The vision of modern Irish saints needs to be told, Martin O’Brien learns   By any standards, Dr Gladys Ganiel, a distinguished Queen’s University Belfast academic, formerly of the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin, must be among the most remarkable Americans ever to have made their home in Ireland. One of the foremost…

Under God’s eye in the mess

A new book on meditating on Jesus’ love comes from hard-won experience, writes Martin O’Brien   You come from a conversation with Jim Deeds uplifted and refreshed. Those who have attended the retreats he has recently conducted at Lough Derg (with his friend and fellow author Fr Brendan McManus SJ) or listened to his talks…

Finding Christ in chaos

“Th’ whole worl’ is in a terrible state o’ chassis”. I wasn’t exactly expecting that immortal line from ‘Captain’ Jack Boyle in Sean O’Casey’s famous play Juno and the Paycock to be intoned with gusto by Alan Abernethy, the 62-year-old Church of Ireland Bishop of Connor, when we spoke at his home in south Belfast.…

Northern ROCK

Pro-life advocate  is driven by deep Faith and personal experience, writes Martin O’Brien   When Pope Francis came to Dublin for the World Meeting of Families, Tracy Harkin, the articulate and indefatigable spokesperson for Iona Institute NI was a key figure in the EWTN Ireland team covering the event for a global Catholic television audience…

Building bridges: a mission of reconciliation

A sense of history is needed to talk sensibly about God, a leading ecumenist tells Martin O’Brien   Dr Johnston McMaster, ecumenist intellectual, teacher and advocate of “public theology”, author and Methodist minister, one-time youngest soccer player in the Irish League at 15, chooses his words carefully but there’s no mistaking his disappointment at where…

No Pope here?

Did the Vatican over-rely on the advice of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on a papal visit to the North, asks Martin O’Brien   Why should a Papal visit to the North that enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the Irish and British governments, the Protestant Church leaders, not to mention the Northern bishops to a man, (and…

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