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Inside NCR

It has been said around here that Arthur Jones has ideas the way most of us have heartbeats. Any of you who have seen the breadth and depth of coverage, the range of issues he handles month in and month out, knows that might be slightly understating the matter. If we were to recycle the clip files he has accumulated over his 26-year career with NCR, we could save our newsprint costs for a year. He defines hyperkinetic. I think when he turns off the computer at night, he plugs himself into a wall socket. He is married to Margie, daughter of the venerable Mrs. O’Brien (whom he discussed in the Speed Rosary column in last week’s paper) and they have three grown children and two grandchildren. He plays an instrument called the ukulele banjo, knows more limericks (all delivered with that signature British accent) than anyone should ever commit to memory, has been known to exchange something called double dactyls with friends. He can stand up and rip off all the verses to “O’Rafferty’s Pig” on command, in just about one breath. Let’s put it this way, he writes books in his spare time to keep himself busy.

His latest book, New Catholics for a New Century: The U.S. Church Today and Where it’s Headed, published by Thomas More (see excerpts), reflects his work for NCR during the past few years and also casts light on the U.S. Catholic landscape of the future. Beyond the reporting of information, the book is rich with Jones’ spirit, the all-encompassing embrace that is always at the ready -- for friends, for the downtrodden, and for all things in the church he loves.

And, yes, he usually wears one of those funny hats. He has a collection of them.

Paul Jeffrey is one of the few non-Colombian journalists the U’wa have seen on their own territory (see story). But then Jeffrey, a United Methodist minister who has developed a solid reputation as a reporter and writer throughout Central America and the Caribbean, is often among the first or the only on the scene.

You’ve seen his work in NCR before from Nicaragua and Guatemala and elsewhere. Recently, he has reported about the church-led demonstrations on Vieques, the Puerto Rican island that is used by the United States as a bombing site.

Jeffrey and his wife, Lyda Pierce, also a United Methodist minister and a feminist theologian, have lived in Central America for the past 15 years -- nine in Nicaragua, two in Guatemala and the past four in Honduras. They have two children, Abigail and Lucas.

-- Tom Roberts

My e-mail address is troberts@natcath.org

National Catholic Reporter, September 8, 2000