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On November 30th last year, Fr Martin Pender spoke at the annual 'FAITH ON FIRE CONFERENCE' at the Riverside Park Hotel in Enniscorthy. The topic of Fr Martin's talk was about our Christian heritage and our sacred task to cherish it and understand it better. Martin was speaking as someone who knows what can happen when we lose or bin our Christian heritage or culture. For many years, Fr Martin worked as a missionary in Sweden and South Africa and he has seen at first hand what can happen when faith is divorced from culture and when our Christian heritage is denied or reduced to the private sphere only.

This is an important conversation for us to have as a Church, especially as we approach St Patrick's Day when Ireland will exploit to the full our Christian heritage personified by the person of St Patrick. This is done not for religious reasons but for economic and cultural ones that benefit our image around the world and our economy. Yet at other times, Ireland’s Christian heritage is something that seems embarrassing and a relic of the past. In our interview this week, Fr Martin Pender warns of the consequences of surrendering our Christian heritage in the name of progress. Yet he identifies how our deep spiritual and cultural instincts connect powerfully with the Gospel message of hope.


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