The visit of the tertians to Belfast involved meeting with Jesuits working in Northern Ireland and in taking some time in the city. The tours of the Shankhill and Falls Road areas are guided by people from the local communities, sometimes by former paramilitaries. Three levels of impenetrability made it difficult for some of the tertians to understand what was being presented; Irish history – always a complex subject – was not made easier by strong Belfast accents and rapid-fire English. It was interesting to see how Celtic myths had been reworked to validate history on the gables in the Shankill and how recent history, as presented along the Falls Road, moves steadily towards the realm of myth. The Titanic exhibition in the dramatic new building was fascinating in its presentation. There was some discussion of how it was able to submerge the personal suffering and loss of life by focusing instead on the context of the ship’s building in Belfast. Saturday allowed time for the journey home by direct or circuitous routes, with different groups taking in scenic and historical places.
Friday’s two sessions were collaboratively presented by David Ford and Micheál Ó Siadhail. The theologian and poet have been friends since meeting in Trinity College And have remained in close contact since. Their presentation evidenced an interplay of inspirations and demonstrated our friendship affirms, challenges and enables the expression of truth. They began by highlighting the importance of gratitude, indicating the influence of teachers and mentors and then went on to consider how friendship enriches life.
Scriptural Reasoning, talking about his engagement with this emerging discipline.