I have a new post on the Slugger O’Toole blog, reporting on former Irish president Mary McAleese’s launch of ‘One Man, One God: The Peace Ministry of Fr Alec Reid CSsR.’ The book was written by Fr Martin McKeever, a fellow Redemptorist.
Reid (1931-2013) played a pivotal role in the Northern Ireland peace process. He facilitated the secret talks between Gerry Adams and John Hume, which are often regarded as the origins of the public political negotiations that led to the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.
As some readers of this blog will know, I am working on a biography of Reid’s Redemptorist colleague, Fr Gerry Reynolds. Reynolds passed away in 2015, so I have been drawing on the interviews I conducted with him before his death, as well as his personal papers and diaries, which the Redemptorists have kindly made available.
Fr Reynolds’ pioneering work includes the Unity Pilgrims (a group of Catholics who worship at Protestant churches on Sunday mornings); the Clonard-Fitzroy Presbyterian Fellowship, which he developed along with Rev Ken Newell during the most difficult days of the Troubles; and the ‘In Joyful Hope’ initiative, which promotes shared Eucharist/communion. Fr Reynolds was also involved with the ecumenical Cornerstone Community, prison ministry, and ministry with Travellers.
At the launch, McKeever shared how sifting through Reid’s papers had been a mammoth task. I can identify with this, as I have not yet read and taken notes on all of Reynolds’ diaries. But I can say that it has been enriching to read his words and I am excited about sharing his story with others.
I told McKeever about my own work when I asked him to sign my copy of ‘One Man, One God.’ McKeever, who lectures in moral theology in Rome, wrote a blessing in Italian in my copy – ‘buon lavoro!’
I understand it is an encouragement to keep up the good work.
It is a blessing gratefully accepted!