By 1971, the Northern Ireland conflict had been building up over the previous couple of years; the situation had gotten to look like the seventeenth century with its endless conflicts. Around that time, Fr. Raymond Helmick, S.J. was studying at Union Theological Seminary in New York. A suggestion came up that an inter-denominational mix of Catholic and Protestant theology students should spend a summer in Northern Ireland doing work projects to see if anything practical would come of it. Fr. Ray volunteered right away since it seemed that was obviously cut out for him. Little did Fr. Ray know that this would turn out to be a watershed for his life. He spent that summer doing that work, and much of what he have done ever since came out of that summer.
In 1984, Fr. Helmick came to Boston College and joined the Theology Department. Most of Fr. Helmick's courses dealt with Conflict Transformation. Fr. Helmick learned to prefer that term to Conflict Resolution. What it means is that you can deal with a conflict, but you really can’t fix everything. What you can do is to help people relate to each other. The Mennonite term for this is Conflict Transformation.
Fr. Raymond Helmick S.J.
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