Just one year ago, on September 28th 2008, Father Aidan Troy (a member of the Passionist Order for some 44 years) arrived in Paris to take up office at Saint Joseph's Church on leafy, affluent Avenue Hoche, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.
This followed a seven-year term in Belfast where his ministry in Ardoyne had spanned the time of the Holy Cross Protest Walks (2001) and a blight of suicides (beginning in 2003).
Saint Joseph's Paris is a far cry from Holy Cross Ardoyne ...
The parishioners all live outside the parish, often traveling 25 to 30 kilometers to attend church at the weekend. They represent some forty different nationalities.
There are no schools, no hospitals to visit in this parish...
The factors which bring this Paris congregation together are the Catholic Church and the English language, not the hurly burly of cheek by jowl everyday coexistence in a city torn in two... where even the sounds are harder.
Aidan Troy would not have chosen to come to Paris, this he freely admits. Leaving Belfast was, for him, like bereavement. For it involved not just leaving people, but also a type of immediacy of social engagement which he had discovered there.
" When you've walked the walk, it's very difficult to say good-bye... I had spent most of my life as a preacher, talking the talk, and it's quite easy to talk the talk... and unfortunately the history of the Catholic Church shows that a lot of the time that the talking the talk was going on, there were a lot of other awful things happening at the same time..."
This documentary is a compilation of moments taken from interviews recorded over the past year in Paris where Aidan Troy speaks less "about" Paris than "out of " Paris.
Paris: the backdrop, the context, and perhaps also the distance required for this reflexion on a life's journey in response to a calling.
Produced by Kaye Mortley.
First broadcast Oct 10th 2009.
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries