Sunday, June 21, 2015

Amplifying That Still Small Voice Frank Brennan SJ

I love going to a book launch.As well as the opportunity to meet good authors and listen to great reviews they are usually like a family reunion of like minded readers.

I am used to these events in bookshops which are usually not designed to cater for the numbers that rsvp. This time we gathered in similar space in Jesuit land at St Ignatius Parish Office  in Toowong.We packed into the rows provided and the overflow crowd stood around us

We came for an inspiring evening exploring faith in the public square to launch Amplifying That Still Small Voice by Frank Brennan

In this latest book, Frank has written a collection of essays to encourage us all to be ethical burrs in the saddle of society.Readers may remember that a former prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Kevin Rudd described  Frank as “an ethical burr in the nation’s saddle".

The ritual launch was  done by the dignified and faithful Bishop Bill Morris. Sometimes the little things in life jump out at you. I noticed that Bill was recycling his old episcopal letterhead paper as he read his notes. This begs the question of what happens to all that personalised  stationary when a Bishop moves on to another Diocese or another kingdom. Anyway, that will have to hold off for another post.

Back at the launch the real highlight of the night was the reflection from Frank's niece, Shannon Having family members participate added to the sense of intimacy of the evening and mirrored a similar pattern from the Melbourne launch.

This was a gathering of the local Church with a global conscience.Frank was surrounded by family, confreres, parishioners and people like myself for whom he has been a challenging inspiration and mentor.

One of the "aha" moments for me was reuniting with another colourful Jesuit, Greg Jordan whose ministry was to  cast out other demons in society as an official exorcist to the Archdiocese of Brisbane The fact that Greg was sitting in the back row of the room may not have been intentional but serves as a reminder that those in the back row / pew are still part of the community even if they appear to be somewhat removed from what is happening up the front. Sadly since the writing of this post Greg Jordan passed away in July 2015.

The pic here is quite special. The obligatory 'selfie" with Bill Morris includes another Jesuit I admire, Ian Howells,a man of sharp intelligence and extraordinary pastoral skills.

So, to get this great book out into the community I suggest as well as buying a copy you also ask your local library to get one for the religion or politics shelves. I went to my local suburban library today on that mission. We managed to get the title and ISBN into the boxes on the form. The librarian had never heard of Frank Brennan and even asked if there were two "s" in Jesuit!!! Will let you know if my request gets  a copy onto the shelves of the Brisbane City Council libraries.

Listen to a podcast about the book here.

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