Michael Drumm and Tom Gunning have launched the Parable Garden Education Project. Michael is a diocesan priest and lectured in theology for many years before becoming the founding Chairperson of the Catholic Schools Partnership. Tom is a teacher in Loreto Secondary School in Wexford and is a well-known author of several books in second-level religious education.
Together they wrote two books reflecting on the importance of symbols and rituals in our lives. A Sacramental People Volumes 1 and 2 are practical books suggesting ways in which Christian rituals might find deeper echoes in people’s lives. The image on the front of the books is of an open door through which light shines.
Every doorway is a threshold, an in-between place; it is an invitation to enter, to begin anew, to consider which way to go. This idea of ‘threshold’ is the foundation of the Parable Garden Education Project.
There are all sorts of thresholds, doorways in our lives that offer the possibility of beginning anew.
Some are places: hilltops, the seashore, forests. People have always visited these places for they are like doorways through which we glimpse a different perspective on our lives. In these places our eyes can be opened, we can hear new things.
Others are times or seasons: sunrise, sunset, spring, harvest, summer and winter solstices, Easter, a new year. These times are like a door closing on the past and opening to the future.
Still more thresholds are events: birth of a child, growth of an adolescent, falling in love of a couple, serious illness, death of a loved one. Some of these real human experiences are joyful and welcome; others are painful and can be heartbreaking but all of them are doorways to the sacred, opening us up to the deeper mystery of life.
The Parable Garden is itself a threshold place with its hilltop, seashore and forest. But it also has a walled garden that suggests something about enclosure, about the interior life of each of us. Celebrating the key threshold times and events in our lives is a doorway to a deeper inner life. In the Parable Garden important thresholds are celebrated in symbol and ritual.