20/03/2012 4:12 pm
During times of difficulty or crisis we often witness groups of people, of all faiths and none, joining together in solidarity to pray. Some people choose to tweet prayer pledges, others prefer to gather in vigils or at other large public gatherings, whilst others call to mind the shared concern quietly by themselves. Wherever the prayer is expressed it is a communal source of hope and consolation. Fr Jim Sweeney from Heythrop University College London asks what it is that prompts people to act in this way.
Rev Dr James Sweeney CP
Head of Pastoral and Social Studies, Heythrop College, University of London
James Sweeney is a priest of the Passionist Congregation. He studied philosophy at University College, Dublin and theology at Clonliffe College, Dublin. After some years in pastoral ministry, during which time he studied social sciences at the Open University, he took a masters in pastoral theology at Heythrop and a doctorate in sociology of religion (on transformations in the Passionist Congregation since 1945, particularly the option for the poor) at the University of London. In 1999 he became senior research fellow at the Von Hugel Institute, St Edmund's College, Cambridge and visiting tutor at Heythrop in the sociology of religion. He joined the Heythrop staff full time in 2003 as convenor of the pastoral studies programme.