Social Justice Ireland: Fr. Sean Healy SMA – auf Wiedersehen from the SMA Communications Officer

Editor’s Note: On Wednesday last we highlighted the work of the Shalom Centre for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation, founded by two SMA missionaries, Fr. Padraig Devine and Fr. Oliver Noonan. Today we highlight the work of Social Justice Ireland, co-founded by Fr. Sean Healy SMA. 

Social Justice Ireland is one of Ireland’s most esteemed social justice NGOs, whose commentary and analysis, particularly of Government policies, is highly respected. Fr. Sean’s vision is informed by the Society of African Missions charism of ministering to the most abandoned. 

For the February 2020 Irish General Election, Social Justice Ireland produced a number of policy papers to help the electorate inform themselves on issues of primary social concern. They included the following topics:

Homelessness, Housing, Income, Sustainability, Taxation, Work, Healthcare, Education, People and Participation.

You can access the commentaries and analysis offered by Social Justice Ireland by clicking on each of the highlighted topics above. 

As with the founders of Shalom, the Society of African Missions wishes also to express our gratitude and, yes, our admiration, for all that Fr. Sean has done for many years to speak out on behalf of the poor and vulnerable in Ireland. We ask our readers to pray for the work of Sean and Social Justice Ireland that they may be blessed with good health and resolve to continue the important work they do. It takes courage to be a moral compass and a conscience of the nation, consistently speaking truth to power. Thank you Fr. Sean.

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu

Finally, on this, St. Valentine’s Day, I will be leaving the employ of the Society of African Missions after three years and eight months. It has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows – mostly highs – during which I had the privilege of meeting many extraordinary retired and still serving missionaries, SMA and OLA, who had Africa and its people engraved in their hearts and minds. 

I thank the Society for the privilege of serving it and hope my legacy, especially the Laudato Tree and Great Green Wall Project, will be positive. 

There are four SMA priests who I personally wish to thank. Fr. Gerry Murray was a gentle and kind man who always made me feel welcome during my time in Cork. Frs Lee Cahill and Tom Curran were my line managers and were always affirming and supportive and knew that the secret of getting the best out of people was encouragement and respect. And last but certainly not least, Fr. Maurice Henry, a man of vision and dynamism who inspired the lay officers who served in the Justice, Laity and Communication Departments. 

The great escaped slave, Frederick Douglass, never knew the date of his birth so he choose St. Valentine’s Day as his birthday. He wanted a day that would inspire him to always love and care and to never seccumb to bitterness and hatred. It is a wonderful lesson.

On this, St. Valentine’s Day 2020, I wish all my colleagues in the Justice and Lay Departments, especially Gerry Forde; everyone in the various committies – especially the gracious, generous and talented Paul O’Flynn; all the priests and sisters of the SMA and OLA – lives touched and inspired by love, compassion and care. 

May the new Provincial Council be inspired by the exhortation of the humble carpenter of Nazarath when his followers feared drowning in the storm: “Be not afraid!.” (Mark 4:35-41)

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu.

HAPPY ST. VALENTINE’S DAY!

Thank you, one and all.

Don Mullan
SMA Communications Officer (until 5:30pm on 14 February 2020).