Father Barker's latest book: ideal resource for the new evangelisation
AN AMAZING LOVE
by Father Ken Barker
(Connor Court Publishing, 166pp, $22.95, ISBN: 978-1-92142-166-2. Available from Freedom Publishing)
Father Ken Barker, Founder and Moderator of the new Australian Religious Order, the Missionaries of God's Love, is the author of four well-read books, His Name is Mercy, Becoming Fire, A Radical Way of Love, and Young Men Rise Up. An Amazing Love is his latest publication.
Father Barker was ordained in 1974. Two years later, he was sent to the USA to do a doctorate in religious education and while there he was impressed by the charismatic renewal movement. Back in Australia in 1980, he was appointed an assistant priest at the Cathedral in Canberra and became Diocesan Youth Director, later joining the Disciples of Jesus Covenant Community.
In 1986, after three of its young members had requested his advice on becoming priests, he was prompted, after much time in prayer and discussion and with the approval of the Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn, to establish a new Religious Order, the Missionaries of God's Love.
Today the "Missionaries" have over twenty priests and deacons, with some twelve young men in Novitiate in Canberra and thirty others in priestly formation at Burwood in Melbourne.
While Father Barker was preparing for his life's ministry, Pope John Paul II was making the new evangelisation a recurring theme in his writings, including the encyclical, Redemptoris Missio (1990) and the Apostolic Letters, Tertio Millenio Adveniente (1994) and Novo Millennio Inuente (2001).
The primary focus of the new evangelisation is on those Western nations where most of the baptised have lost any active sense of their Catholic faith. An Amazing Love is for them and for those who minister to them.
The Church's message remains the same: that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world, Son of God, and the centre of history. Evangelisation must be centred on Him: His Incarnation, life, teachings, claims, passion, death and resurrection. This is not merely doctrine about Him but an encounter with Him.
An Amazing Love contains meditations on these Christian basics along with personal stories of struggle, confusion and journeys in faith which add great immediacy. The book is written in accessible language and should reach a wide readership. It is highly recommended.