Not every parish priest gets invitations to publish their reflections in the local newspaper, but for Fr Martin Maunsell it’s happened more than once.
Former parish priest of St Kevin’s at Eastwood, Fr Martin has now also published two volumes of his weekly messages, Cuppa Time Reflections and More Cuppa Time Reflections.
His musings on everyday life and wisdom from a wide variety of writers, punctuated with a message from scripture, are meant to “engage, enlighten and empower” not only Catholics but anyone open to being challenged to live a better and more meaningful life.
An eclectic reader, Fr Martin says his own sources of inspiration include biographies, literature, current affairs and scripture commentaries.
“I’d like to engage people with something contemporary that they’d find interesting or enlightening and then leave them with a bit of a challenge at the end,” he said. “I believe that we grow when we are challenged, but I’m also conscious of the fact that I also need to be realistic and charitable, I’m very much aware that we are not all called to do the work of Mother Teresa, for example. My favourite quote is from Nelson Mandela – “as we let our own light shine, we give other people permission to do the same.”
Each reflection is a succinct 250 words and takes him less than an hour to write each week, and are published in the area’s local newspaper. Several years ago while serving the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese Fr Martin was invited to write regularly for a newspaper there as well.
His first Cuppa Time Reflections collection was published in 2020 and the second one near the end of last year, with all proceeds supporting a Catholic pre-and primary school in a remote mountainous region of Rwenzori in Uganda.
The partnership between St Kevin’s parish and the Pere Achte Primary School in Rwenzori is a close one and grew after the schools’ founder, Fr Fabius Kisembo Bainakanaama, spent some time serving the Catholic community four years ago.
After a visit to the school by parishioner Marisa Pongan, the parish developed its friendship with the remote rural community, raising more than $6000 through sales of Fr Martin’s books for classroom renovations, a new toilet block and simple but nutritious daily meals for the 650 students, with Fr Fabius providing detailed feedback on how the funds are employed.
“Fr Martin has a unique gift for conveying the Biblical message of Christ without his words sounding ‘too churchy’, hence they appeal to a wide variety of people,” Marisa said.
Copies of Cuppa Time Reflections and More Cuppa Time Reflections cost $20 and can be purchased by emailing Fr Martin at [email protected]