AS former Ennis priest Fr John Molloy prepares for Christmas in his new parish of Monte Sinai in Ecuador, his thoughts turned to his many friends in Ennis.
Updating readers of the Clare Champion on his ongoing work in South America, Fr Molloy explained that family is of major importance to those in Ecuador, and not just at Christmas.
“A native priest here in the diocese never lives alone. In his parish house he lives with his family, maybe his parents but certainly with cousins, nephews and nieces. Parish homes are alive with human beings. Everyone has a role and purpose. The parish house life and church are connected like a family. When I reflect I give great thanks to God for that kind of good start in priesthood that I got living with Fr Tom Hogan and all the others I lived with for eleven years in the parish house in Ennis Cathedral.”
Work is continuing in the building of the Monte Sinai parish’s primary school, San Filipe with support from Clare including the Ennis Lions Club, St Francis Ladies Club in Ennis, Intel in Shannon.
Fr Molloy expressed his gratitude for the ongoing local support of the parish. “So many individuals have been so generous and kind. You are all in my prayers and masses,” he said.
Fr Molloy’s parents recently departed the parish in Guayaquil. “The last two and a half months have been a huge blessing in my life. I remember well when I told me parents I was going on mission to South America, my dad wasn’t too impressed. After his and my mother’s second visit here to Monte Sinai it was hard this time for them to leave. My parents made a great impression on people here. Their presence and care in the parish gave me support of the family type that can’t be bought.”
He recalled on experience he shared with his mother in the parish. “While on a house visit with my mother we called in to see a ‘family’. 13 live in this house. Outside the door on a worn chair sat Rosita, I believe a saint. Rosita is only 92 years old!
“I asked her how she was? She said, ‘Mas o menos’, which literally translates as ‘more or less’, I love the expression. We would say, I’m OK. And she looked OK. As the sun went down that evening she looked in her element sitting on her chair. Rosita in my opinion has it all in life. She lives with her son, daughter-in-law and nine children. They came and rubbed her, touched her, felt her hair as we sat with them.
“We talked about their upcoming baptisms of four of their children the following day. One of the younger ones threw a stone and it almost hit Rosita. But thank God it didn’t. My mam and I left that house thinking despite their poverty and struggle they are happy and rich in family life.”
He went on, “On that Saturday morning we celebrated 24 baptisms. In this new parish and church baptisms, Communions and Confirmations are the order of the day. I love celebrating the Sacrament of Baptism. What has worked very well for us here is having all baptisms celebrated together on the one morning each month. The families begin to arrive from 7am onwards and begin with a pre-baptismal talk given by a catechist. As part of the talk hymns are practiced and there is great buzz and excitement about the upcoming baptisms.
“There is a little break in-between the talk and the ceremony for families to get to know one another. Once we are all ready, the youth group lead the congregation in hymns and music. It is a joy to be present, involved and witness new young life being baptised and new members of the Catholic Church beginning life as a Christian. Monte Sinai is growing in faith and hope as we continually welcome in great numbers new members into the Christian community.”