Moral Matters


October 10, 2018

The gentlest of men whose silence helped us to hear God

He came into my life in the gentlest of ways. For that was the singular feature of Fr Eric Powell’s character: gentleness. He was always there if you wanted him but would never intrude if you didn’t. Unbeknownst to me, he was chaplain at the school where my wife teaches. It was there, at a Christmas carol service many years ago, that I first heard him speak. In his quiet English accent, this gracious man blessed us in a way that I have never forgotten. There was no fanfare, jokes or preamble of any kind. Fr Powell simply stood before the gathering and showed us what it is to be an icon of holiness. From that day to this, my admiration and esteem for him has never waned. Back home in England, Eric
Powell was educated by the Salvatorian Fathers. When he decided to join the priesthood, it was to them that he returned. Then, in the early 1980s, the Salvatorians took over the parish of Sallynoggin in Dublin, and Fr Powell found his true home. For 30 years, this mildest of men ministered to the people of Sallynoggin and Glenageary. Many priests came and went, but he always remained. He was a quiet yet enduring presence in that parish, a man whose sole ambition was to give God to those whom he served. Shortly after the carol service at my wife’s school, I witnessed Fr Powell saying Mass in his parish church. He radiated a spiritual calmness that seemed to pervade the entire congregation. It was an experience of deep prayerfulness so rare in our world. He was refined, reserved and
possessed exquisite manners. And yet I never met a man more humble or unassuming. His life was a wonderful example of why it is the meek who shall inherit the earth. …Read more

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