Fr Stan Mellett
Donal Harrington bravely and with hope says the parish will not only survive, but it can and will thrive. Donal provides a hopeful vision and a possible path toward the new and vital parish of tomorrow. Not without a cost! Required is a change as radical as Jesus’ challenge to Nicodemus to be born again!
Reading Harrington, my mood fluctuated between enthusiasm and near despair. So many inspiring insights drawn from recent church and theological thinking had me rearing to go; but then where to start with the bleak, limited and diminished material to hand! I include myself in that limited space and recall the words of G.K. Chesterton “hope is a virtue only when things are hopeless.”
Accept the challenge. Exercise hope. Does one passively let tomorrow take its course or actively do something that might inject new life? This book is a call to action now. Let the word ‘parochial’ frame a much bigger picture in which we are a part and participate in a universal ‘people of God’ sustained and enlivened by the Spirit of Jesus Our Lord! A new mind-set where our parish is a faith community – where Baptism, not Orders, is the point of departure – where the family and the home with its belonging, caring and growth is the better analogy for the parish faith family.
Donal Harrington has done us all a service. To say less detail might make for easier reading is to gild the lily. Reading his book for oneself or with a parish study group will repay abundantly the time and effort. Essential reading!
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