Faith Matters

Downpatrick priest's saintly inspiration for everyday life

Bishop Emeritus Anthony Farquhar, pictured left, helps Fr John Murray launch the Downpatrick priest's book Saints for the Journey - Inspiring Lives from Every Age. Picture by Bill Smyth.

DOWNPATRICK parish priest Fr John Murray has published a new book called Saints for the Journey - Inspiring Lives from Every Age.

Bishop Emeritus Anthony Farquhar was at St Patrick's Church to help launch the book, which is a collection of stories of the lives of men and women who have tried to live the Christian life through the ages.

The collection focuses mainly on Catholics but Fr Murray said he had also included the stories of others "who have given such a magnificent example of holiness within their own tradition".

Figures in the book range from St Patrick and St Columban to the architect Antoni Gaudi and Paul Miki and the Japanese martyrs.

Fr Murray also tells the story of characters such as the Danish scientist Niels Stensen, St Augustine's mother Maria - "who cried and prayed her son back to faith" - and another Maria, Maria von Trapp of Sound of Music fame, "who sang her way into the Kingdom".

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, and the Sicilian priest Pino Puglisi, who gave his life against the Mafia, feature in the book.

"For many people the saints can sometimes seem a bit distant, with lives which don't belong to the 'real world'," said Fr Murray.

"If we value them we do so with genuine appreciation but a certain feeling that their lives and circumstances are different from our own.

"In these stories there is the genuine hope that even those men and women of faraway times - and near - have something very much to teach us and something that we can aspire to even today. They are indeed 'saints for our journey'."

:: 'Saints for the Journey - Inspiring Lives from Every Age' is published by Messenger Publications and costs £8.95/€9.95. It can be ordered from the publishers at 37 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, by emailing sales@messenger.ie, online at www.messenger.ie and by telephone at 003531 775 8522.

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