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
Inaugural Aer Lingus flight between Ireland (the Emerald Isle) and Seattle, WA (the Emerald City)
On Thursday 26 March 2009 at a dinner in Curitiba, Brazil, Don Mullan was presented to Pelé as the first European Ambassador of the Little Prince Hospital.
“I am happy you are part of the team,” Pele told the Irish author. “As they say in football – ‘Keep the ball rolling.”
Mullan was invited by the British sports magazine, ‘The League’ to write an article about Pele’s Goals for Life and the Little Prince Hospital for its April 2009 edition. You may access the article by clicking here.
All photographs in the article were taken by Mullan on his NOKIA N95 mobile phone.
Don Mullan is the bestselling author of Eyewitness Bloody Sunday, the book that was credited as a primary catalyst in the establishment of the new Bloody Sunday Inquiry, and which inspired the 2002 award-winning film Bloody Sunday, on which Mullan worked as co-producer. He is currently working on a film script for his latest book, Gordon Banks: A Hero Who Could Fly. Here he chooses his top 10 books on his other heroes.
“And it was not as if Mullan was a sentimentalist: this was a tenacious investigative journalist whose working life was intrinsically linked to the events and enquiry into Bloody Sunday in Derry. He was no stranger to fame and his ferocious work as a human rights campaigner took him into the company of global figures like Rosa Parks, Bill Clinton, Mick Jagger, even the Dalai Lama. But with Banks it was different. This was the person to whom Mullan had attached all his childhood ambition and fears growing up as a child in the Creggan, just as the nationalist movement in Derry was about to combust.”