Just a few months out from the 300th anniversary of the Passionists Church, Mark McGoldrick spoke to Fr Brian D’Arcy about what makes the Passionists different to other religious orders, the role that faith plays in society and how we can learn from the Covid-19 pandemic.
2021 is a special year for the Passionist Order.
Founded in 1720 by St Paul of the Cross, the Passionists are marking their 300th anniversary, with a jubilee celebration, later on in the year.
During his 59-years of ministry, Fr Brian D’Arcy OBE, C.P, has witnessed some testing times for the religious order of which he is a member.
“Strangely enough, I have seen it grow and develop, and then begin to wane. When I joined, it was a growing and developing order in Europe, America and in First World countries. Now, we are experiencing the effects of a secular society a society so sophisticated and so well developed in the Northern Hemisphere, that the need for God is not so obvious in people’s lives.
“That means the values of society have changed. Religion is not a major value in society, including our own in Ireland. In the Southern.
Hemisphere, our order is growing; in Africa, South America, South Korea, South Vietnam and the Asian countries as well.
“There is a surge of vocations coming through to our order and other orders. Having large number is not the point of an order though. The reason an order exists is to help struggling people to find a merciful God.”
The Passionist founder, St Paul of the Cross, believed that by having a community thinking, praying, preaching and mediating on the Passion of Jesus, the members of the Passionist community would be able to provide solace and consolation to the laity in times of their deepest distress.
Fr D’Arcy believes that events like the Novena of Hope, which he conducted at The Graan for 28-years, shows how people in need are able to connect with other lay people who have faced, and overcome adversity, in the most unique and remarkable ways.
“The Passion of Jesus inspires all people, not just a select few,” he says.
“Every religious order has what it calls a charism. Each order has a gift to give to the people of God. Ours would be, and has been for three hundred years, that we try to help the suffering find precious hope in their lives.”
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