This year (2007) the town of Callan, Co Kilkenny, is celebrating its 8th centenary. As part of that commemoration, Fr James O’Halloran SDB, a native of the town, has been asked to give an address entitled ‘The Church and World of the Future’.
At first, he was somewhat surprised by the topic, thinking that, if he were to speak of anything at all, it would be about the Callan of his boyhood. The pleasant surprise lay in the universal rather than local nature of the subject. On reflection, however, he realised that this was totally appropriate. Countless people from the town were compelled to take the emigrant ship, or plane, in search of a new life, or to fulfil a dream. They, or their descendants, are now scattered throughout the globe. Many of them have had a considerable impact on the lands of their exile. James Hoban, for example, was the architect of the White House in Washington DC. O’Halloran saw too that the historical travails and triumphs of Callan were – and still are – mirrored elsewhere on the planet: ‘The small town is the world, the world the small town’, he says.
Inspiration from Vatican Council II and forty-four years experience ‘at the front line’, has uniquely equipped O’Halloran to speak on ‘The Church and World of the Future’. To quote Liam S. Maher from a review of his foundational volume, Small Christian Communities, Vision and Practicalities: ‘Anyone seeking a vision of a renewed Church should read O’Halloran’s book. A text of unimpeachable quality.’ (Hallel, Europe.)
About the Author
James O’Halloran is a Salesian priest who, following years spent in schools, has worked with small Christian communities and Christian youth groups for thirty-six years as member, coordinator and promoter. This mission he has carried out worldwide – with a predilection for Africa and Latin America – from the halls of universities to parishes and far-flung mission stations.