Ballyfarnon priest working in pandemic-hit Brazil

Local woman, Margaret Haughey of the Apostolic Work charity was in touch recently to update readers on the important work of Ballyfarnon native, Fr. Brendan Foley, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Fr. Brendan, a Holy Ghost Father, had been in contact with Margaret to let her know that his recent haircut auction (featured in the Roscommon People last November) had raised €2,660 which went a long way to assisting his parish.

Sadly, Covid-19 has hit Fr. Brendan’s parish hard since its onset last year and overcrowding as well as a lack of resources has meant that the poorest people in the country have suffered as a result.

In his email to Margaret, Fr. Brendan shared harrowing stories of how some parishioners sadly passed away while waiting for treatment in ambulances and hospital corridors. He also shares horrific stories of violence from his neighbourhood, explaining: “The level of violence is bewildering and (so is) the complete lack of sense of love or God in people’s lives”.

Fr. Brendan describes the South American country as “broken in every way” and that the poorest “are suffering greatly”.

“The death count from the virus is made up of two thirds of the poorest who have no access to healthcare,” he explains.

Fr. Brendan said that state Governors were taking the lead on the vaccination roll-out and that vaccines were slowly “filtering down” through society.

He added that while a new Mission appointment was expected from Paraguay soon, he was busy trying to prepare his parish ahead of a number of imminent retirements in coming years. He said he hoped to return to Europe for a two-month break in 2021.