Saints, Scholars, Heroes
by Fr Éamon Flanagan CM (Kolbe Publications; ISBN: 9-780952-962724; €7.00+postage)
This is a collection of poems about people, places and events and much more besides. They are written from a Christian and communitarian perspective, are immensely personal and are imbued with a Catholic sensibility.
Fr Éamon Flanagan celebrates in verse Fr Eamon O’Hara as a “great athlete and great priest”. He fondly recalls former parishioners. There is Patrick Ridgeway and his wife Anna from Sunday’s Well in Cork city and Reg, “a gentleman from the Chilterns” from Dunstable in England. The poem on Sr Faustina provides a profile of the Polish saint and mystic. It then describes in detail the life-sized image promoting her message on Divine Mercy which is to be seen in the churches throughout the land.
Fr Flanagan’s love for his native sod looms large in his poems on south Sligo and north Roscommon. His poem on Knock highlights the Basilica – “daytime stronghold of prayer and night-time pillar of light”. Nor does he overlook its potential for transforming the lives of all who congregate there as pilgrims or as visitors.
Fr Flanagan’s choice of events to celebrate attest to his love of Gaelic games and the culture surrounding them. He recalls the euphoria and joyous home-coming of the Armagh footballers after they had won the All-Ireland Championship in 2002. Another poem notes the equally impressive achievements of the “Gaelic footballers of Kilcoo”, Co. Down. Coming from a tiny parish and farming community, their reign as the “champions of Down” was due to the total commitment of the community to the cause.
In all there are 66 poems. Many of them set out the crucial role the Catholic Faith has had and for the most part continues to have in the integral Irish tradition. The subjects explained in the poems are diverse and thought-provoking. Hence this is a book for serendipity.
Apart from the poems the author provides a series of wise deliberations which are also well worth reflecting on.