Perhaps appropriately, the first Reclaiming the Piazza book was born in the Eternal City, Rome.
During a 2010 conference at the University of the Holy Cross, Cav Ronnie Convery and Dr Leonardo Franchi discussed how to overcome the prejudices of both secular and religious worldviews which prevented the richness of Catholic culture contributing to the wider development of a plural society. They agreed that the way forward was an attempt to ‘reclaim’ space in the modern day Areopagus for the Christian proposal, presented respectfully as a contribution to the common good.
Drawing inspiration from a variety of sources, among them the Catholic Church in Italy’s Progetto Culturale, Ronnie and Leonardo, along with Dr Raymond McCluskey, co-wrote Reclaiming the Piazza: Catholic Education as a Cultural Project. It was published in 2014 with an afterword by Professor Bob Davis. We had two launch events, first in the Aula Paolo VI in the Vatican (19 September 2014) and then in the University of Glasgow (23 November 2014).
In 2017 Reclaiming the Piazza II: Catholic Education and the New Evangelisation was published. This was an edited book with both theoretical reflections and practical applications. There were three launch events: 12 December 2017 in Glasgow; 31 January 2018 in St Mary’s University, London and 22 September 2017, once more in Rome at the 2nd World Congress on Catechesis.
In 2019, Ronnie and Leonardo were joined by Jack Valero, co-founder of Catholic Voices, as the third editor of a new volume, Reclaiming the Piazza III: Communicating Catholic Culture. This will be launched in summer 2021.