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‘The Here and Now Christian’ 

The Here and Now Christian’ compiles a collection of articles and talks given by South African cardinal, Wilfrid Napier OFM. The book was launched at the parish of St Joseph’s in Durban on Monday 8 April 2019.

Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM, in the foreword to ‘The Here and Now Christian’ a new book bringing together a collection of his articles and reflections, writes that the book was inspired by “a strong urge to respond emotionally to something that I’ve read or heard.”

The cardinal hopes that the 194-page book may inspire those “who may have had similar urges to respond to what is happening in and to our beloved South Africa.”

The impetus for this project should, perhaps, come as no surprise and is apt in an age dominated by social media feeds. The cardinal himself frequently takes to Twitter to share his thoughts on an array of topics, reacting to what is taking place.

Dawn Haynes has compiled and edited the book, which has been arranged into 28 chapters. In the main, the book brings together columns published in a column authored by the cardinal in The Southern CrossCatholic newspaper between 2012 and 2016, but it also includes previously unpublished material.

“It is hoped that the ideas and guidance will be of practical use for all who want to live a life in which Christian values are applied in a fulfilling and serving manner so as to benefit the society in which we function daily”, Haynes shared.

The title of the book is given by its first chapter, where the cardinal reflects on the servant leadership model of Pope Francis, who, “began his time as pope with gestures that signalled his commitment to reach out to the poor. Without saying so in as many words he is challenging everyone in the Church to undergo a similar reform and transformation.”

Describing the “Here and Now Christian”, Napier says that “all you have to do is to walk with Christ, to be his close friend and companion, who wants everyone to know that the same can happen to them too.”

The book is a mix of topics and is not intended to be read cover-to-cover in one sitting. Rather it is a reference gathering the cardinal’s thoughts on disparate topics given across media: from the Marikana tragedy to the legacy of Mandela; from homilies given on special occasions to a personal interview with Günther Simmermacher, the editor of The Southern Cross, where he clarifies a controversial interview given to BBC Radio 5 during the conclave that elected Pope Francis.

The Here and Now Christian is published by Sunrise Publications and can be ordered online at www.hereandnowchristian.co.za for R200. A generous discount is offered on bulk orders.

Proceeds from the book will benefit the Napier Centre 4 Healing, which, according to its website, is “the main legacy project” which the Cardinal will leave to the archdiocese. The project is inter-denominational and helps those who suffer drug addiction in the post-rehabilitation phase, offering them “a holistic approach to healing” that they may have a chance at a new beginning.

Originally published by on 9 April 2019. Photo: Captain GreenFace Studios for spotlight.africa

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