Last Sunday, 27th January, parents of Syntax students were treated to an engaging presentation by Fr. Peter McVerry S. J. Fr. Peter is a well-known voice within Irish media, championing the rights of those on the margins of Irish society. Based on his book, The Meaning is in the Shadows, Fr. Peter related stories of those people he works with and who have left a lasting impression on him. “There, but for the grace of God, go I”, is something that you will often hear Fr. Peter say. He pressed upon his audience the terrible circumstances out of which some of the homeless people he encounters have come. He relayed with righteous ‘anger’ the impossibilities that are thrown in his way within the social and justice services when he tries to get help for those who need it most. For him, the most important thing that those who are homeless need is a sense of dignity, a security that they too are important and that they have something to offer to society. He talked about Ireland’s drug problem and how the people he works with take drugs to forget the awful psychological pain that has been inflicted upon them, usually in childhood, through no fault of their own. He brings to our mind the image we are all familiar with – seeing a homeless person on the street and immediately averting our gaze so that the homeless person no longer feels like a person.
Syntax parents were deeply engaged with Fr. Peter’s presentation. They were enthusiastic with relevant questions and were deeply touched with the stories he told. Afterward, Fr. Peter celebrated mass with us in the Boys’ chapel, a fitting association between Fr. Peter’s vocation as a priest and the work that he does. A special thanks to our reader and Eucharistic Minister who generously contributed to the celebration of mass and to the 3 Syntax students who read the Prayers of the Faithful. Mass was con-celebrated by our Headmaster, Fr. Leonard Moloney S.J., who always makes a rich contribution to the Parent Days.