The subtitle alone of newly launched book “Hold your Head up High and other stories” makes you want to pick it up and have a read.
Intriguingly subtitled - ‘Conversations about Controversies in a Catholic Parish’, this well written, beautifully illustrated 140-page publication has been penned by Parish Priest of Kirkinriola, Fr Paddy Delargy, having been inspired to do so by chaplaincy work in the parish post-primary schools and from discussions about faith and practice within the parish.
In his foreword, the author describes its content as a collection of “fictional stories and dramatised discussions” which “present religious and laity alike trying to come to terms with controversial aspects of 21st Century living”.
Their aim, he clarifies, is “not to alarm but to alert the reader to sources of inspiration and to promote understanding of the new realities surrounding birth and death, care of children and the disadvantaged, the search for truth and integrity, the missionary church at home and elsewhere in the world, and prayer and belief in the afterlife”.
It is Fr Delargy’s hope that the book will, as well as having appeal for the general reader, prove a useful resource for pastoral groups, school chaplains and the like, and that it might encourage dialogue and debate.
To test that theory, he has successfully piloted his publication amongst senior students at St Patrick’s College, St. Killian’s College and St Louis Grammar, some of whom attended last Friday morning’s official launch in All Saints Parish Centre.
Also among the packed gathering were art teachers from St Patrick’s College and students from the school who provided stunning illustrations for some of the stories - Emer McAuley, Jakub Bojanowski, Erin Patterson, Nuala McKernan, Michael McDonald, Michael McQuitty, Cory Caughey, Matthew McGaughey, Lauren Watkinson, Sarah Higgins and Claire Mooney.
Photographs are also used to good illustrative affect and the 18 stories featured within the 140 page paperback are each short and self-contained, making Fr Delargy’s new book a surprisingly easy yet thought provoking read.
“Hold Your Head Up High”, which is published by Shanway Press, Belfast, is priced £10.
It is available in the Repository of the Parish Centre which is open Monday to Saturday from 10.30am-1.30pm, and is available also from Shanway Press and the Diocesan Resource Centre, Belfast.