Fr Harold Barry SJ launches book - Beyond appearances

What started off as weekly reflections by Fr David Harold-Barry SJ for The Zimbabwean, a Zimbabwean tabloid, eleven years ago has resulted in his latest offering: “Beyond Appearances,”a collection of 121 articles covering reflections on principles and practises.

Beyond Appearances was launched on the 29thof September 2018 at Arrupe Jesuit University in Harare. Speaking at the launch Fr Barry SJ said he was inspired by two great explorers who both were Jesuits and were seeped in the spirit of St Ignatius whose famous quote “We find God in all things” was one of his favourite.

“When Wilf Mbanga asked me, in 2005 to write a column for his new newspaper, The Zimbabwean, I relished the opportunity to try to capture in words the fleeting thoughts that often crossed my mind as I reflected on events around me. I was inspired in particular by two great explorers of words; the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins and the palaeontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, both were Jesuit, the community to which I belong to”

In the foreword to the book Fr Barry SJ explains that his approach was not to look at the scriptures and see how one can apply them to today’s life but to look at life today and see how the scriptures can illuminate it. 

The launch was well attended mostly by the Irish community in Zimbabwe some of whom donated towards the publication of the book. Joseph Woods, the representative of Mashonaland Irish Association who is also a writer and editor said after he read the pdf format of the book he got really interested and supporting it was a way to celebrate the presence of the Irish people in Zimbabwe and Fr Barry SJ as an Irish Jesuit Priest.

“During the summer I got a copy of the book in pdf format and I read it, I really enjoyed it. I just thought it was very interesting because it was an original Irish Priest. I thought the book was very good and deserved some funding because he writes with passion for Zimbabwe and things he has encountered…he writes with compassion”

Speaking at the launch Irene Staunton of Weaver Press, the publishers, said the book helps individuals to respond to whatever circumstances we may find ourselves in, the book is made up of reflections for anybody who has morality, ethics and believes that they have a responsibility to society to act towards others in a compassionate and humane way. She said the book is a nudge to get you to do the right thing.

“The chapters are short just two pages, you can dip in and out, it is a book that you can read before you go to sleep, you can read it first thing in the morning. If you are a teacher you can choose a piece on abandoned children and discuss it in class. Everyone in Zimbabwe has gone through a tough time especially those who were around during the time when the reflections were written. The book is a reminder that we should be selfless.”