NARRAGANSETT — Father Joseph Creedon, a senior priest in the Diocese of Providence known around the country for his writings and public speaking, has published a devotional book titled “Walking in the Light of His Word: Daily Scripture Reflections.”
The book, published in March by Stillwater River Publications, contains brief reflections on a Bible passage connected to each Sunday of the year, as well as for those associated with Daily Mass, Holy Days of Obligation and Solemnities.
Father Creedon said that the inspiration for this book was rooted in certain experiences that go back as far as his early adulthood and the early days of his ministry as a priest. He cites his time studying at the American University at Louvain in Belgium as one factor that set the stage for the writing of this book.
“Well, certainly Louvain gave me a great love of liturgy, and a great love for Scripture, and a great love for moral theology,” he said.
Following his ordination in 1968, Father Creedon was assigned to teach theology at La Salle Academy in Providence, a position he served in for five years until 1973, when he was assigned as the Catholic chaplain at URI. It was during his time at La Salle that he developed a strong desire to share his love of theology and liturgy.
“The last class any kid in that school wanted to go to was religion,” Father Creedon remembers of that time period. “So, to teach religion in a way that they could identify with was a real challenge.”
“I think that, more than anything else, trying to translate the concepts of our faith so that the people you are talking with can identify with was really important. I don’t think we do enough of that. I think, a lot of times, we don’t communicate as clearly as we could.”
The former longtime pastor of Christ the King Parish in Kingston said that communicating the faith to people in a way they could understand and appreciate is particularly important given what he considers certain unnecessary spiritual reservations that the faithful have.
“The Bible is a gift from God, and so we reflect on it,” Father Creedon said, going on to note, “I think a lot of Catholics were brought up to be afraid of the Bible, and we’re not supposed to be, but we still are.”
A major motivation for him to write the book was “a love for the Word of God and being able to break it down so that people can feel comfortable with it.”
Each part of the 472-page book begins with a Bible passage for that day, followed by a brief reflection from Father Creedon, and ends with a question meant to prompt further reflection on the part of the reader.
Written in a straightforward and easy to read manner, each of Father Creedon’s reflections draw from both common theological concepts within Scripture and the Magisterium as well personal experiences from his life and ministry that further illuminate the meaning of the passage.
“My reflections are pretty down to earth,” he said, describing the style of the book.
Father Creedon went on to note that his style of writing was born out of his passion for preaching. “I love to preach, and people are storytellers. That’s what we do. We tell stories. If you want people to remember something, put it in a story. That’s why Jesus told parables,” he explained.
By using personal stories to explain the Bible, the Scriptures become more accessible to the average Catholic, and by ending each reflection with a question, Father Creedon prompts the reader to further investigate the many levels of meaning to the text for themselves.
“If you end with a question, there’s an invitation to be a little bit more invested. I’m not trying to give people the answers, I’m just trying to set up the question so that people can go where they need to go with it,” he noted. “I’m saying, ‘Here’s what the Scripture says to me. I share it with you. Here’s a question that I find helpful. I hope you find it helpful.’”
Father Creedon went on to note that the many different levels of meaning to Scripture attest to both the universality of the Christian faith and the reality that God speaks to each of us personally.
“There’s something powerful to me about knowing that the universal Church has this liturgy, and there are assigned readings for that, so that, throughout the United States, throughout the world, Catholics are listening to the same readings,” he said.
“Now, it could be someone in the Ukraine, who’s getting bombed, it could be someone on vacation in Florida, but it’s the same readings. They’re going to hear different things, because of their individual circumstances.”
Father Creedon said that this reality highly influenced his approach in the book. He quoted from a portion of the introduction where he states, “We share a common story of salvation, but believe that God speaks to each of us differently.”
Father Creedon, age 79, has served in a series of pastoral and educational positions in the Diocese of Providence. His longest assignment was at Christ the King Parish, in Kingston, where he served as pastor for 31 years from 1981 until his retirement in 2012. In the 10 years since his retirement, he has remained active, writing and giving public talks on faith and stewardship throughout the country.
“Walking in the Light of His Word” is only the most recent of his publications. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Father Creedon wrote a series of booklets containing reflections for Advent and Lent, and, more recently, he published a book on stewardship titled “Stewardship: A Life-Giving Spirituality (2018).”