I am a member of the Passionists, a Religious Order in the Catholic Church, and an ordained priest. (www.passionists-uk.org)
I live in Austin Smith House in Sparkhill, Birmingham. Austin Smith House is a Passionist House of Hospitality, where I live with another Passionist and six men who are destitute – having been refused asylum, they are not allowed to work or receive government benefits. I moved here in 2014 after 8 years living and working with the London Catholic Worker (www.londoncatholicworker.org), at Giuseppe Conlon House of Hospitality.
My faith is that all people are children of God in the one family of God. That God in Jesus came proclaim the Kindom of God, where all live together in peace and justice, where that “all” includes the whole “earth community” – every living thing on the planet. Christians, as followers of Christ, are called to live and witness to that Kindom, So that is what I try to do.
The phrase “the Kingdom of God” is clearly both religious and political: about God and rulers. My faith in Jesus the marginal Jew has led me to the margins. To life in our inner cities, to life alongside refugees and migrants. Jesus witness led Him to confrontation with the Powers of this world, to the Cross. He called others to follow this way too. This has led me to political engagement and witness, to being arrested about 20 times so far for acting in defence of peace, the poor and the planet. My faith has also led me to ‘live simply so that others may simply live’, to try to live voluntary poverty as a witness to the injustices of our world, and so as not to have my vision clouded by possessions, money and comforts. Life on the margins is a good place to be, and simplicity is a good way to be. From this place I see God, read the Scriptures and hear God’s Word with greater clarity and power.
I wish I could be more faithful to this Call and this Way of Jesus, the Way of the Cross. I am also hoping to learn to return to some roots, to grow food in our garden, to re-connect with this earth our Mother. I hope also that others may join us, wherever they are, whatever they are doing, in seeking to find God and follow Jesus more faithfully, living God’s Reign of peace, justice and respect for all creation, and seeking to ‘keep alive the memory of the Passion’ of Jesus the Christ.