Fr. Jim O’Halloran SDB is one of those people who changed the course of my life – literally.
I encountered Fr. Jim at the Development Studies Course, Kimmage Manor, Dublin, during the academic year 1978-79, where he was lecturing and I was a student, and we immediately became friends. A friendship that endures to this day.
In September 2018, Fr. Jim shared with me a short resume of his life and commitment as an Irish missionary in Latin America and his championing of Basic Christian Communities, a movement that helped democratize the Catholic Church in Latin America and offers renewed hope today at a time when the Church is in turmoil.
The following essay of Fr. Jim’s life and experience is offered to visitors to this website as a testimony to a man of great integrity who not only gave his life to the poorest of the poor, but who remains one of the most enduring influences of my own.
In the email that accompanied the document and which he has given me permission to share with visitors to my website, Fr. Jim wrote:
“Herewith a document… I think has historic significance. It speaks of a ‘new’ church that is trying to emerge since Vatican II. It was there in the beginning after Christ, but Constantine gave secular powers to the bishops which brought in the institutionalized and clerically dominated church that has lasted until John XXIII and Vatican II. This is the Church that Francis is trying to bring in. A community of communities that operates on dialogue and consensus. I brought out a little book in 1986 on pastoral planning that used dialogue and consensus and it was the method Pope Francis used in his recent synods. It’s a church that is run on collegiality and subsidiarity.”
Since receipt of the above, Fr. Jim has sent me three other important documents that are key contributions to understand the enormous and historical contribution he has made to the advancement of Justice and Human Rights within the Universal Church:
- Summary Introduction to work in Africa and Worldwide
- Report for Misereor – Programme on Basic Christian Communities and Justice in Africa 1981-1992
- Historical Profile of Small Christian Communities in the World