independent

Friday 18 April 2014

The compassion of a social revolutionary

MILLSTREET Parish has organised a series of three talks to mark the season of Lent.

The overall theme of the talks is 'Compassion' and they will be delivered by three highly regarded speakers, Fr Peter Mcverry SJ, Dr Patricia Kieran, and Mr Justin Kilcullen.

They will take place on Monday nights in Millstreet Community School library at 8pm, beginning on February 27. Each talk will conclude with the chance to ask questions and some light refreshments.

In the first talk, Fr Peter Mcverry SJ will speak about 'Jesus the Compassionate One'.

Fr Mcverry grew up in Newry, Co Down. In 1962, he entered the Jesuit Order and was ordained in 1975.

He worked as a priest in the Inner City in Dublin from 1975 to 1980 and there he encountered some homeless children. He opened a hostel for homeless children in 1979 and this subsequently became his life-time work.

He moved to Ballymun in 1980 and opened four more hostels, a residential drug detox centre for homeless people, a drug stabilisation programme, a drug-free aftercare houses and a dozen apartments.

He has written on many issues relating to young homeless people, such as accommodation, drugs, juvenile justice, the gardai, the prisons and education.

He has been a critic of government policy on issues such as homelessness, drugs and criminal justice. He is a regular contributor on radio and television and he has written two books, "The Meaning is in the Shadows", and "Jesus – Social Revolutionary?"

When asked about what he understands compassion means in relation to Christian message during Lent, Fr. Mcverry explained: "Jesus came to proclaim the Good News to the Poor".

He also says Jesus revealed a God of unconditional love, compassion and forgiveness. "No wonder everyone came out to listen to him," said Fr Mcverry. "But Jesus also asked his followers to live lives of compassion, solidarity and welcome for the outcast. Good News to the Poor – a huge challenge to everyone."

Fr Mcverry will be expanding on these ideas and relating them to the challenges faced by people in Ireland in 2012 when he comes to Millstreet on Monday, February 27.

Everyone is welcome to attend any of the talks. Admission if free; however, a donation of €5 is suggested on each evening to cover travel costs of speakers. For more details, contact Millstreet Parish Office on (029 70043).

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