FORMER Ennis priest Fr John Molloy will be in the presence of Pope Francis this summer. Fr Molloy will be accompanying three youths from his parish in Monte Sinai in Ecuador to World Youth Day in Rio de Janero in July. Speaking from his parish, Fr Molloy said, “We look forward to being with Pope Francisco in person.”
Just recently Fr Molloy attended a youth gathering in Ambato, in the mountains of Ecuador, with 10,000 young people attending. “The buzz, life and energy was palpable,” recalled Fr Molloy, who explained that this event was a preparation for Rio.
Since last updating The Clare Champion readers on his time in Ecuador, the church has seen the election of the new pope with Fr Molloy saying, “I am impressed with his humility, vision and deep spirit of simplicity and spirituality.
“I also feel great affirmation of my priestly ministry because his example and words that we are all to be witnesses to the poor and to bring the Gospel to them with continued hope and newness of life.
“I am continually inspired out here in Ecuador by what I hear and read from home. Many struggle to find employment and finances are very tight. But, huge generosity abounds. I see weekly giving and care for those less well off in communities at home and abroad. We Irish are commended in the world for this. It happened in the past and it is still happening today. I was very struck on Sunday last here to see two people give a small coins from the very small amount that they would have. There is certainly proof in that prayer of St Francis: ‘it is giving that we receive’.”
In Ecuador the rainy season has gone and now there is the summer’s dry season. Recalling the hardships of the rainy seaon for many he said, “Floods came and went and homes were washed away but the people here rise again. We, as a parish community, were able to help people out with food and housing when people were displaced. With the help of my neighbours, the Jesuit community/Foundation Hogar de Cristo, we are able to rebuild homes for very needy families.
“The rainy season is a needy time for people like single mothers, elderly living alone and people with special needs. As local social services here are weak, parish community helped out many over the last months by buying shale and rock to raise the earth around their homes, so they are not constantly submerged in water. Stagnant water is a sure home for the dengue disease.
“Each week here in our parish 80 people attend a course in health care run by Ministery of Health. All doing the course are from Monte Sinai and surrounds. I feel this course is essential in education of both those doing it and all they come in contact with. It is a very practical course as each day the students are out on the street, visiting families and people living alone.” The parish has also organised a summer school for 140 children.
In recent weeks, government officials in the area evicted many families who they said were on illegal land.
“It was a very sad day here. I felt helpless and sad for all the families concerned. Each home, bamboo or block was knocked to the ground and some set alight. I couldn’t but help think of our past in Ireland and here we are today with evictions still happening. We, again as parish community, are helping out those thrown out on the street by supplying basic needs such as food, water and medicine.”
Construction work on the Catholic Primary School San Filipe continues and it is hoped to be completed in the next few months. At the moment there is work on three new classrooms, a library, more toilets, an office for the principal and secretary, meeting room for parents and a computer room. “The parents will be responsible to complete the school yard when all this other work is complete. We had a visit from Mother General Ana Burgos from Spain recently. She is so impressed with development and progress of the school. Over 210 pupils now attend school where there was no school in the past,” he said.