Last week I had a lovely retreat at l'Arche, Trosly, directed by Jean Vanier. What a privilege to once again sit at the feet of this man.
Now back to activity here at St Joseph's Church and at Marymount School where I am a chaplain. The superiors in Ireland transferred over the summer one of us three priests to a new post and so for the present, at least, two of us will carry the flame! This is a sign of the times but needs more discernment and discussion with the people affected by decisions taken from a distance.
A few years ago, I suggested that the only way to resolve the standoff at Twadell Avenue in North Belfast was to negotiate a finish from the disputed return march and at the same time to make sure that no marches would be allowed in the future without agreement from the residents of Ardoyne. I was in hot water with about everyone. Still, after 21 million sterling spent on policing this, in conscience I felt that this was not the best way for neighbours to live. That is all in the past. It was with a prayer to God in thanksgiving that I followed a live feed of the demolition of the camp at Twadell. Please God, this is the beginning of a new era of peace and reconciliation.
It is said to see conflict within the Nationalist community. There is now a need to find paths to peace and reconciliation among people who are now angry and at odds with each other. That is my hope and my prayer. A.T.