Newell and his wife Ali were co-wardens of the Iona Community from 1988-1992. During his time there, members and associates of the community expressed their need for ‘something like a prayer book’ for personal use. These requests, coupled with his own desire for discipline and structure in daily prayer, resulted in this lovely text.
Newell credits Alexander Carmichael’s work of the late nineteenth century for preserving much of the ancient Celtic tradition in the form of previously unrecorded Gaelic songs and prayers, and draws inspiration from the rhythms and images of the Celtic understanding of the inseparable intertwining of the life of heaven and the life of earth.
Celtic Prayers from Iona is based on the weekly cycle observed at the Abbey. The prayers are short and simple, yet imbued with deep piety. Though grounded in tradition over a thousand years old, the words are strikingly relevant for our world today.
The slim volume also includes a brief introduction to Celtic Christianity and a summary of the history of the community and Abbey at Iona.
Moreover, the physical book itself is aesthetically pleasing. The prayers and scripture readings are set in calligraphy on well-proportioned pages, uncrowded and easily readable.