By Sarah Mac Donald - 17 February, 2020
Best-selling author, Fr Sean Hyland, is set to launch his www.whisperingsofmysoul.com website over the coming weeks.
The site aims to show that science, instead of disproving God, is increasingly making the argument for a Divine Creator.
As part of the launch, the Kildare and Leighlin priest is inviting students to take part in a poster competition.
To enter, students must design an A4 poster based on what they have learned from the dialogue between faith and science through Fr Sean’s website.
A prize of €500 will be awarded to the winner, and if the winning entry is a team effort the prize money goes up to €1,000.
Submissions by students to the poster competition can be sent by email to the website by 31 March 2020. The entries will be judged by an independent panel of judges.
A shortlist of the five best entries will be announced in April and the overall winner will be announced by 1 June 2020.
According to Fr Sean, the objective of the competition is to “make young people aware that science and faith are completely compatible”.
He believes the research published on the website make an ideal accompaniment to discussions in both science and religion classes.
Fr Sean Hyland is a priest of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. He was ordained in 2014.
Prior to becoming a priest, his professional background was in management in the computer industry.
He married his wife Liz on 12 February 1972. But tragedy struck the couple early in their marriage. Their daughter Seana died at two years of age after she contracted viral pneumonia in 1975 and then their son Kieran passed away in 1977 when he was just ten months old from Reye’s Syndrome.
While Liz’s faith helped her to cope with these devastating losses, Sean admits he became an “angry man”. He channelled his aggression into his work and career goals becoming a management leader in computer manufacturing in Ireland.
By the time he retired in 2006 he was a senior executive with Hewlett Packard Manufacturing in Ireland.
After Sean retired, he and Liz spent a year playing golf, a passion they shared, and travelling. “Our retirement looked rosy.” But then their world was upended in April 2008 when Liz was diagnosed with cancer and by December that same year she was gone.
Sean admits he was devastated by her death. “She was the light of my life. I just didn’t know what to do with my life.”
Faith had helped Liz through the loss of their children and Sean turned to prayer during her illness and after she had passed away. His constant prayer was: “Jesus let me know Liz and my children are safe and well with you.”
Fr Sean Hyland’s best selling book ‘Whisperings of My Soul’, which was published in 2018, explains how he was granted “gifts of beautiful consolations of faith” in the years following Liz’s death.
He received over 30 messages in the form of dreams, locutions, visions and heavenly blessings which consoled him and assured him that his wife and children were happy together in heaven.
In thanksgiving for these heavenly blessings, he decided to become a priest. Before his wife died, he “had never contemplated being a priest. I had great regard and respect for the priesthood, but I didn’t see myself doing it in any way.”
In 2010, he began studies for the priesthood at the Pontifical Beda College in Rome.
On 13 July 2014, the feast of the Mystical Rose, Fr Sean was ordained. He now lives in his hometown of Portarlington in Co Laois and is the curate for the parishes of Rhode and Clonbullogue in Co Offaly.
Aside from his busy schedule ministering to the faithful, Fr Sean penned ‘Whisperings of My Soul’ recounting his journey from husband and father through the deaths of his two children and his beloved wife to priesthood.
Bishop Denis Nulty, who launched the book, described it as “a powerfully personal story of faith of a man who has gone through tragedy. It was very tough – most people would have hung up their boots and said I’ve had a tough life. Yet rather than following a white ball around the golf course, he decided to give his life to God as a priest. I am hugely proud of that, so I was honoured to ordain him a priest. It is a lovely gentle read and it will encourage people on their journey of faith and their vocation journey as well.”
One segment of the book is devoted to science and reason. The death of his children, Seana and Kieran, drove him to read and search, long and deep, for the truth of the realities of existence. His aim is to get people to engage with scientific evidence for intelligent design.
“I believe I found, as many scientists have, irrefutable scientific evidence for the hand prints of Intelligent Design behind the origin and operation of the universe. Intelligent design is a fast-emerging theme within science.”
The new website is dedicated to this subject which attempts to debunk some of the incorrect theories people have about the origins of being and the Big Bang.
www.whisperingsofmysoul.com is aimed at 15-30 years olds and anyone else who is interested.