Things we need to cherish

Channels of Prayer by Innocent Chibueze Ezeonyeasi (St Paul’s Publishing, €11.50/£9.99)

We are becoming accustomed these days to parishes having African pastors for greater or shorter length of time. African Christians bring, of course, a very different cultural experience to their expression of faith. But it has often been observed that many also set great store by the traditional forms of faith in way often unfamiliar to Europeans. This little book is built in this way around the structures of the church and its furnishing, the vessels of the altar, the sacred clothes, vestments, liturgical colours and a final loon section on sacred symbols, ending with the trefoil associated in our midst at Patrick. He though describes each one, then provides a prayer, and what he calls 'an inner voice' that is to say a prompting of the inner effect we might feel. Now much of this would have been quite familiar to an older generation, especially those who served Mass. Indeed it is significant Fr Innocent is also the author of a handbook for servers, altar prayer and a book about the Stations of the Cross. Many will be delighted to have these matters brought back again to their memory, other will be moved to encounter them perhaps for the fist time. In a sense in an era of change he reminds of the things which we need to cherish while transforming our appreciation of their true inner meaning.