Popular Passionist priest Fr Brian D’Arcy has been awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to community relations. “I’m amazed,” he told The Irish Catholic, “in many ways it gives you an opportunity to encourage community building and when you get that opportunity – take it in both hands.”
Reaction to the OBE has been overwhelmingly positive, he said, describing as recognition for “the cross-community aspect of it – breaking down borders and work which I’ve been doing naturally for years, building bridges rather than breaking down bridges”.
He does this through his weekly Sunday World column, which has run for 44 years, and his broadcasts on BBC Radio 2 and Radio Ulster. “As a human being I’d be open to decent conversation with anybody,” he said, adding that he hopes that people who turn their back on the institutional Church will somehow hold on to their Faith.
“I think that’s what has happened,” he said. “People are rejecting the institution or the evil of an institution and also in the process, rejecting not only their Faith but the Sacraments, the availability of God in their lives – rejecting more than they have to.”
“Think about what you are rejecting,” he advised.