Phil Brennan, originally from Gorey and now living in Waterford, has just launched his new book ‘In the hands of the people – a new vision of Church’. Phil is a staunch advocate of reform in the Catholic Church and his book signals the direction the Church needs to take if it is to restore its credibility in the world today. Phil Brennan is convinced that the time has come for the people to step in from the sidelines and to engage in the task of reforming the Church so that it begins to more accurately reflect what it was always intended to be. Phil’s research points towards the need for a radical reversal in how the Church has traditionally operated and underlines the capacity of people once silent and anonymous within the Church to shape the future landscape of the Church.
At the grassroots, something new and significantly different to what has gone before is taking shape before our eyes. The emergence of social justice groups, ecological movements, Taize prayer vigils, Gospel choirs and meditation workshops all signal a new day of possibility for the Catholic Church the world over. The people are slowly but resolutely reclaiming their place in the Church and the myriad and new spiritual avenues, previously unimagined, are beginning to open up. Phil believes that the election of Pope Francis ushers in a new era of hope, a defining time that must be seized before the opportunity is lost. Phil combines his consultancy work in Christian communities of all denominations in Ireland and beyond with his role as musical director of ‘The Island of Ireland Peace Choir’.
Phil Brennan’s Book, “In the Hands of the People” unravels the layers of what it means to be Church and penetrates to the core of what is important. Dr Phil Brennan places a spotlight on the unique features of a small Christian community and acclaims the role of people at the grassroots of the Church in transforming the landscape of what is to come. Out of the embers of the past the Church we aspire to is slowly but resolutely taking shape before our eyes. This book leads us to a new vantage point where all that once escaped us now becomes clear.
“This book takes us beyond Church, behind Church, around Church and challenges us to see things from a new perspective. The author, in his poetic, rigorous, passionate way, encourages us to keep struggling in our efforts to be the Gospel in the world today and to embrace all that awaits us when we gather in small communities in Jesus’ name. Our perceptions of Church are turned upside down and what emerges is something more real and more authentic.”
– Gemma McKenna, co-founder of ‘Partners in Faith’, Dublin
“Phil Brennan maps out a new vision of Church that is at once challenging and uplifting. This book captures the heightened sense of hope in the Catholic Church the world over with the election of Pope Francis. As the Pope cradles the sick child, holds the infirm man and reaches out to the hapless migrants of Lampedusa, he embodies all that he believes to be true. The Gospel is laid bare amongst us. This book comes providentially at this moment in history. A new pathway opens up before us from which there is no turning back.”
– James O’Halloran, author and Salesian
‘In the hands of the people – a new vision of church’ was launched to capacity crowds in the Edmund Rice Chapel, Waterford and also in The Library Gorey, Wexford.
Those who attended the two book launch were treated to a wonderful evening of music by the Island of Ireland Peace Choir who were there to support musical director Phil Brennan as well as Phil’s close friend, the renowned tenor Declan Kelly (3 Irish Tenors). Guest speakers on the night included Freeman of Dublin Fr. Peter McVerry, and Fr. Jim O’Halloran.
“This book, I believe will be a very significant milestone on the way towards a renewed Church, a renewed Church that will be as Pope Francis has said, not just a Church with the poor, but a Church of the poor”
Fr. Peter McVerry.
In his book, Phil calls for a new climate of dialogue and consultation in the Catholic Church so that the people, and not just the leaders, give a new impetus to the Church’s mission in the world today. Phil believes that out of the shadows of the past, something more credible and more inclusive of the people needs to grow.
Reflecting on Phil’s book, guest speaker Fr. Jim O’Halloran said
“he sees the Church as the people of God, as a community and the decisions are communitarian decisions, so he is giving us this new vision of the Church”
All speakers spoke passionately about the book and highlighted the recurring message contained in it which calls for a new way forward for the Church. Phil hopes that his book will help to open up a new dialogue within the Catholic Church and points out that the timing of the book could not be better.