INSPIRATION comes in many forms and for the flock at St Canice’s Catholic Church in the city on Thursday night it came form a slightly unusual source, the Rev. Richard Clarke, Church of Ireland Archbishop elect of Armagh. Addressing a full house, in the first of a series of talks entitled, Voices of Hope, he impressed upon them that as Christians they must be more confident about their faith and not to be afraid to speak with an esteem that seems to have been knocked out of them by what has happened in the recent past and by kind of trivialising or ignoring of faith in modern life.He noted that some well known atheists wanted to change their names to naturalists and said that the Christian community should have the same confidence, albeit in a gentle way. The need to listen and to hear what people are saying and whet they expect from their church is also important in the quest to bring hope and that by listening, church men and women could understand what people were searching. He said that we must as Christians listen to the world and that the world is good place.
He had some tough words that all the churches including his own Church of Ireland needed to change and to realise that the clergy and the church were there to serve and not to be dominant or domineering. He also alluded to the need for change in his own church and of those operating in their own little fiefdoms.
He enraptured his audience and quoted Poe John XXIII, a favourite of his, and the need to be hopeful and to open up spiritually to the world around us.
The need for all Christian churches to show solidarity and to do things together where ever possible was another way of providing hope and Fr Jim Murphy thanked him for an inspirational talk while Fr Kieran O’Shea presented the Rev Clarke with a memento of his visit, table cloth and serviettes from Mosse’s of Bennettsbridge to reflect fellowship of the table and how as Christians we come together to break bread and show respect for each other.
Fr Murphy thanked all who attended including a number of Church of Ireland people from the city and the Kells group of parishes and said he was heartened to see them in the church. Rev Clarke then gave blessing before most of the attendance went to Dean’s Gate centre where tea, coffee, sandwiches, biscuits and cake was served
Dr Gail Grossman Freyne will be the guest speaker tonight (Wednesday). Gail is a Family Therapist and a Mediator who has been working in private practice since 1987 at which time she was a founding member of The Family Therapy & Counselling Centre, formerly situated in Ranelagh. Prior to this, Gail practiced as a Solicitor for many years, both in Australia and in the United States. Gail’s published books and articles have considered the questions of Systemic Therapy, gender and power in the marital relationship and women’s ordination in the Catholic Church. She has also written several Book Reviews for the Irish Times. Dom Mark Patrick Hederman OSB will be the speaker on Wednesday, November 21. He is the current abbot at Glenstal Abbey and is a teacher, lecturer and writer. In one of his most recent books, Dancing With Dinosaurs, he suggests we recognise the dinosaur nature of all institutions including the Catholic church. He has said: “There is something about a recession that gives a sharper focus to the search for a deeper meaning of life.”
The final evening on Wednesday, November 28 will be a service of reconciliation and healing with Fr Desmond O’ Donnell OMI giving the talk. A registered psychologist and a wonderful public speaker. Each evening begins at 7.30 pm. Refreshments will be served afterwards in the Deans Gate centre adjacent to St Canice’s Church. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will take place in St Canice’s Church on each of the four days from noon to 7.15 pm.