Recent books in brief

Recent books in brief
Contemplating the Camino – An Ignatian Guide

by Brendan McManus SJ  (Messenger Publications, €4.95 / £4.50)

This little pamphlet is intended not as a guide to the actual trails from France across the north of Spain, so much as an aid to the inner, mystical path of which it is an exemplar. The author takes up the idea of St Ignatius, himself familiar with the Camino routes, and relates it to the whole ‘Jesuit way’.

“This process of becoming your true self and shedding any masks or pretence is exactly what happens on the Camino and this book offers some Jesuit insights that may help in getting the most out of that experience.”

He provides a certain amount of practical advice, but his 21 short chapters are devoted not to the road but to the inner path. This little book may well be more helpful to many seekers who will not actual walk the Camino. But for pilgrims on that way it has also the great advantage of being small and light, and easily carried in vest pocket or knapsack.

The Visit of a Saint: celebrating the 40th anniversary of the papal visit of John Paul II to Ireland

(Veritas, €9.99)

Perhaps a little early in the year, Veritas has produced this record of the papal visit which includes many photos, but essentially is a compilation of documents, speeches and statements. The anniversary of this visit in September will undoubtedly be the occasion for a great deal of media analysis of the current significance of that event and what its results truly were.

One can almost hear the noise of controversy already. Many people will be glad to have this book which will enable them clarify, what happened and what it meant if not for the nation, at least for them. The Pope’s expression of love for the young people of Ireland suggests that the publishers see this pamphlet as a way of properly informing the current generation for whom the visit is a remote historical event and in doing this it will serve a very useful purpose.

It is published at the same time as Christus Vivit – Christ is Alive, the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis to Young People, of which a notice has already been published in these pages (see our issue of May 9).

Unity Pilgrim: The life of Fr Gerry Reynolds CSsR

by Gladys Ganiel  (Redemptorist Communications, £12.95 / €13.95)

The author of this moving biography is an American academic who teaches in Queen’s College, Belfast, but has been greatly engaged with change and conflict resolution in Ireland. Gerry Reynolds himself was from Limerick and so he too was new to the Ulster situation.

From the Clonard Monastery where he was based he could look out over the so-called ‘Peace-line’ the ironically named wall that actually maintained the division of the communities.

He was inspired by what he saw and what he felt to play an important part in the emerging peace process which eventually reached an agreement that offered the whole island a way forward.