Friday, 2 February 2007

Tribute by Michael Hurley SJ

From the AMDG Newsletter on the Irish Jesuit website

As well as being the internationally distinguished journalist and broadcaster now on his death being acclaimed by the media, Sean MacReamoinn was a highly cultured person and an intellectual post-Vatican II lay Catholic with a robust faith. The Church is deeply indebted to him and rightly proud of him.

As a Jesuit I may perhaps be permitted to recall that it was from the Jesuits at Colaisde Iognaid in Galway that Sean got the beginnnings of his love of English, French and Irish: the language and literature, the culture.

One of my first meetings with Sean was to do a television programme with him for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It was ages ago, the first year of RTE and my first practical experience of the new medium. Closetted with him in a makeshift studio, a cubby hole in the Donnybrook premises I did a straight talk to camera and then of course we withdrew to the Trocadero for supper.

My last meeting with Sean was on 6 January last. I wanted to share with him as he lay on his hospital bed something of the joyful spirit of the funeral mass a few days previously of his friend, the Carmelite liturgist, Fr Eltin Griffin, O.Carm. He would have been there of course had he been able. As it happened to be 6 January we went on to lament the recent decision of the Hierarchy of England and Wales to transfer the great feast of Epiphany to the following Sunday. Why, Sean wondered sadly, hadn't they simply removed the obligation and let the traditional date stand? Despite breathing difficulties he was still his old self.

Eltin and I, with many others of course, had the privilege of being friends of Sean. He was personally as well as intellectually involved in the post-Vatican II movement for Church renewal and unity. Indeed he seemed at times to go out of his way to mention and bless my name in his 'Laylines', the lively feature which for many years he contribnuted monthly to Doctrine and Life. Sean was a great encourager. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.

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