Space for Grace: Stories from the Catholic Chaplaincy at Queen’s University Belfast

29 Sep, 2016 | News

Space for Grace: Stories from the Catholic Chaplaincy at Queen’s University Belfast is the title of a new book by Dominic O’Reilly which will be launched by Father John Harris OP on Tuesday 4 October. Dominic is a freelance writer from Newcastle, Co Down and was formerly a student and part of the chaplaincy welcome team at Queen’s University Belfast.

Dominic took the decision to put together a compendium of memories in Space for Grace after hearing the stories and memories people have of QUB.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Dominic said, “In the pages of my book you will be able to read the stories of people who substantially contributed to shaping the political arena of Northern Ireland; people such as Margaret Ritchie MP, Professor Monica McWilliams, Eamonn McCann MLA and Austin Currie. You will read stories of clergy who experienced life on the university campus such as Bishop Donal McKeown, Bishop of Derry, and others. You will hear from those who are deeply involved in the life of the Church at present. You can also read about those who have been among the staffers of a university setting such as Dr Gaven Kerr, Lady Brenda McLaughlin, the current Vice Chancellor at QUB, Prof Patrick Johnston and others. There is also word from artists such as Andrea Begley, The Priests and more. Not forgetting phenomenal contributions from the chaplains themselves: Bishop Patrick Walsh, Bishop Emeritus of Down and Connor, Monsignor Ambrose Macauley, Bishop Anthony Farquhar, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Down and Connor, Father Joe Gunn and Father Gary Toman.”

“While this book has been two years in the making the story of the Catholic Chaplaincy at QUB goes back over one hundred years. It is a truly incredible story when you consider the many people who ministered to the student body, staff and visitors. It is incredible when you consider some of the figures who walked those corridors; many of whom were kind enough to offer heartfelt contributions to the book.”

Explaining the title of the book, Dominic said, “Space for Grace are words I associate with Bishop Donal McKeown and I think they really are the ones that sum up the The Catholic Chaplaincy at QUB. It is a physical place but creates space for grace within each of us. It exists within the diocese of Down and Connor but is open to one and all. A truly welcoming home away from home for many. Not only this but it is a space in which we can encounter God’s grace, freely offered at any time.”

A full programme has been organised for the launch event, which takes place at 7.30pm in the Catholic Chaplaincy of QUB on 4 October, the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. Music at the launch will be provided by Méabh Carlin and Hannah McCauley, and there will be a photography exhibit by local artist Daniel McCabe. As well as launching the book, Dominican priest Father John Harris OP, will also give a keynote address.

All are welcome to the launch. For more information see

The book is published by Shanway Press and retailing at £15.00 stg. It will be available on their website



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