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Fr Harry Bohan. Photograph by John Kelly

Fr Harry gives his take on faith

Former Clare hurling manager, Fr Harry Bohan features prominently in a new book edited by former RTÉ broadcaster, John Quinn.
Entitled Credo Personal Testimonies of Faith, the publication features interviews conducted in 2013 by John Quinn, who travelled around Ireland to meet a host of well-known personalities.
He asked them questions about the God they believe in and why they believe; the origins of their belief; doubts they have encountered in dealing with mystery; how central belief is to their life and work; prayer-life; the afterlife; faith mentors and much more.
The answers he received were spontaneous, honest and rich in diversity.
Offering a fascinating insight into belief and its practice, Credo includes contributions from former Clare hurling manager, Harry Bohan; former Meath football manager, Séan Boylan; Benedictine nun and international leader for peace and justice, Joan Chittister; actor, Frank Kelly, politician, David Norris; writer, Alice Taylor; GAA commentator, Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh and many more.
Each interview was conducted face to face, which has led to a spontaneous and natural tone to each piece, and each contribution is strikingly honest.
John spoke to Fr Harry Bohan, who has been a priest in the diocese of Killaloe for over 50 years and is a pioneer in the areas of rural housing and community development in County Clare. Fr Bohan is also a founder and director of the Céifin Institute.
He begins his contribution by saying, “ The God I believe in is the God I was brought up with and grew up with at home and in school in Feakle, County Clare.”
Later in the interview, however, he discusses how it wasn’t until he went to Maynooth that what he terms the real God, as opposed to the God of fear, came alive for him.
In his chapter, he recalls being a boarder in St Flannan’s College in Ennis, and being inspired by two local men, Kevin Hogan and Tim Touhy ,who joined the priesthood.
He explores people’s disillusionment with religion and the need for a new language that moves away from what he describes as “churchy” language.
This is John Quinn’s fourth publication and the interviews he included in the book, sought to elicit personal testimonies of faith from each of the interviewees.

By Carol Byrne

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