By editor - 12 December, 2019
The latest book by Fr Peter McVerry, A Dose of Reality, was officially launched in the Monastery of St Alphonsus on Tuesday this week.
For almost 20 years, Fr McVerry has written a monthly column for the Redemptorist magazine Reality. In it, the well-known Jesuit champion of the homeless has held up to the light the plight of the poor and oppressed in contemporary Irish society. Our national leaders often seem to prefer that people like these who live on the margins – the homeless, victims of our drug culture, the long-term unemployed, those who have fallen through the cracks of our educational and care systems – would stay quiet.
Fr McVerry has been their tireless advocate. He admits that he is often angry, but his anger is not the anger of the social crusader; it is the righteous anger of the prophet that spills over from a compassionate heart and a hopeful vision of a society that can be transformed.
Fr McVerry has now compiled a book from 30 of the more than 200 articles he has written for Reality. The book was launched in the Monastery of St Alphonsus on Tuesday 10 December by another well-known champion of the marginalised, Fr Seán Cassin OFM, founder of the Merchants Quay project for victims of drug abuse who is today actively involved in work against human trafficking in Vietnam. It was noted that this was a truly ecumenical project – written by a Jesuit, published by the Redemptorists, and launched by a Franciscan, in a monastery of contemplative sisters!
A Dose of Reality is a thought-provoking, highly readable yet challenging book that offers a glimpse into many of the hidden recesses of contemporary Irish society. After reading it, it is unlikely that you will not be moved to share Fr McVerry’s compassionate anger at the suffering of so many, or his desire for profound social change. The 30 short chapters of this book are a narrative of many of the bleaker sides of Irish society, whether in the blighted inner city or in the characterless outer suburbs.
It will make an ideal Christmas gift that sets out the central message of a God who comes to dwell among the fragile and the broken. It is also an ideal book for a social justice discussion group, or for students studying religion.
Proceeds from the book will go to support the Peter McVerry Trust. A Dose of Reality is available from www.redcoms.org.