Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A homeless man sits out three-month prison sentence

Known by some as Jack, by others as Mad Jack, Thomas Coleman regularly sits in the porch of the Three Patrons Church in Rathgar on weekday mornings before, during and after the 07.30 Mass. He cycles an old bicycle that certainly was not bought under the Bike2Work Scheme.

He is in his early 60s, 62 to be precise. He has been homeless for over 20 years. On occasion he can shout and criticise aspects of Irish and EU political life but he is also a gentle and kind man, a man of learning too.

Suddenly he was gone. No sign of him for a full week. People missed him. The place was not the same without him. No chat before or after Mass.

Jack is serving a three-month prison sentence in Mountjoy Jail.

I visited him yesterday. We had a great chat. His eyes lit up when he saw me as did mine. Sitting down talking and laughing with him was a moment of grace, certainly for me.

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