Fr. Tom Cullinan, Fr. Austin Smith and Fr. Kevin Kelly were priests whose radical living of their vocations represent how different parts of the body – monasticism, inner-city ministry and pastoral/academia – are all the work of the same Spirit. Each embodies the learning of disciples, the humanity of people sensitive to the needs and potential of others, and the disruptive vision of prophets who recognise the signs of the times and can measure them against the deeper truths of God’s love
Key to their lives and work was the awareness that the incarnate, crucified and risen Christ always calls followers onwards, to constantly put out into deeper waters. Each was therefore restless, each ‘disturbed by the peace of Christ’, to quote the greeting that meant so much to Kevin Kelly.
The constant search for a deeper understanding of what is revealed, (God’s presence in our unfolding history), was one that allowed for error and stumbling, for fears and limitations but would not settle for mediocrity. They recognised that their discipleship and priestly ministries were part of the unfolding, living tradition that allowed Peter’s incomplete but eager faith to be the foundation rock upon which Jesus could build his community of living stones, each engaged with the world to continue the work of Jesus.
As disciples, priests and prophets Tom, Austin and Kevin also recognised and named the dangers that would lead the church to become isolated from the world and overly spiritual, impervious to the realities of the world, unable to grow with new scientific, scriptural, theological and an ever-changing understanding of human nature, or that compromised with contemporary thought and mores that in so doing ceased to speak the truths that challenged falsehoods that isolate and diminish individuals and peoples.
This website does not aim to preserve the memory of three remarkable lives but to keep alive and growing the work, learning and the insights gained, sometimes with difficulty and pain, misunderstanding and resistance, but always shared with humility and conviction in the presence of a living God, of the Risen One who takes our potential seriously and our failings in his stride.
On Tom Cullinan’s home page, you will be able to access his writings and talks given over the decades of his life at Ince Benet. The collection will grow over the coming months. References to the works of Kevin Kelly and Austin Smith can be found on their home pages
Prophetic Trajectories of Hope from San Salvador to Liverpool: A Celebration of the ministries of Oscar Romero, Austin Smith, Tom Cullinan and Kevin Kelly.
A talk by David McLoughlin,
Emeritus Fellow of Christian Theology