The title of this year’s Conference is taken from The Cure of Troy, a verse adaptation of Sophocles’ play by the Irish poet and Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, who died in August 2013. Both speakers at the Conference are from Ireland, as is the chaplain.
From their different perspectives they are passionate in their commitment to those on the margins: the homeless, disadvantaged, deprived, and exiled. The story of conspiracy and complicity as reworked by Heaney in The Cure of Troy is a metaphor for the challenges that need to be addressed both in society and in the Church. Since the election of Pope Francis we have witnessed developments that suggest that the Catholic Church may be undergoing a great sea-change. That is our hope.
Peter McVerry is a Jesuit priest who has spent many years helping the homeless. In 1979 he set up a hostel for homeless boys. Four years later he established the Arrupe Society to provide accommodation for over 16s. His campaigning for and involvement with troubled young people has made him one of the most prophetic voices of Catholic Ireland. His book, Jesus: Social Revolutionary, is published by Veritas Publications. He was one of the speakers at the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in June 2012.
Pádraig Ó Tuama is from Cork and has lived in Belfast since 2003. He works across the fields of poetry, theology and conflict resolution, particularly by designing and holding events where LGBT people and religious leaders can speak with and to each other in the first person. His current research examines how the gospels can be read so they are good news for LGBT people. His books of poetry, Readings from the Book of Exile (2012) and Sorry for your Troubles (2013) are both published by Canterbury Press.
Our chaplain is Fr Tony Butler SMA. A member of the Society of African Missions Fr Tony was recently working in a parish in Cork. He is an active member of the Association of Catholic Priests, a forum for voices to reflect, discuss and comment on issues affecting the Irish Church and society today.
The venue for the 2014 is the Scarborough campus of the University of Hull. The University website has useful information including Campus videos, and travel information. Visit: www2.hull.ac.uk/scarborough/
All the rooms are en-suite and have fitted furniture. There is a kitchen on every floor in which light snacks and drinks can be made. The kitchens all contain refrigerators, microwave ovens and ironing boards. The residence has a number of ground floor purpose-built study bedrooms for people with disabilities.
Scarborough claims to be the first seaside resort in Britain, and is known as the Queen of the Yorkshire Coast. The North Bay and South Bay sandy beaches are broken by the rocky headland on which is perched the imposing ruins of Scarborough castle. The town is full of places to explore – cafés, shops, museums and restaurants.
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