Fr Larry’s arrival reflects tides of change in Church

It’s Monday evening and normally this piece would be well and truly finished and I would be either getting ready to go on my nightly walk or I would already have it done.

Sadly we have spent the week stripping aeroboard off the ceiling of the shop (Lynn Antiques) in Athlone and so – unusually – I have actually been busy during the day and never got the time to put my new emailing skills to the test until this unearthly hour.

Now I don’t know how many of you have ever stripped aeroboard off any wall or ceiling, but I can assure you that it’s a most horrible job and no matter what you do, little bits of white stuff will get into every possible hiding place – and so I’ve done more hoovering and sweeping and cleaning this past week than I’ve ever done at any time in my previous life.

The good news is that we finally got it finished today and so next week I should be back to whatever my normal is.

Anyway after the dinner this evening I got a chance to have a quick look at Billy Keane’s weekly column in the Irish Independent and he was writing about a wedding ceremony that he attended in a local Kerry Church some time in the recent past.

The Celebrant was a Fr. Pat Moore, a Listowel native, just like Billy, and a former classmate in St. Michael’s School, in the north Kerry town. Once upon a time that would have been a very normal state of affairs but in this era of almost no vocations and as priests keep retiring without anyone to replace them, parishes are being forced to share priests with other parishes and in other cases having to reduce the number of Masses that are being said.

So this week, I was very interested to read in our local parish newsletter at Sunday’s Mass that from next Friday we have a new parish priest, Fr. Larry Ebuk, who is a member of the Missionaries of St. Paul, a religious congregation founded in Nigeria by the St. Patrick Kiltegan Fathers Missionaries.

So you could say the wheel has turned full circle, and now, after our forefathers, including my own uncle, Fr. Pat, brought Christianity to countries all over the world as we face up to the fact that the numbers of vocations are substantially down, we are reaping the rewards of those pioneers and their untiring efforts and thanks to their willingness to travel to the ends of the earth, we now welcome Fr. Larry into our midst.

I don’t imagine any of the early missionaries could ever have foreseen that at some point in the future those countries would be producing many more priests than we are to the point that they are nowadays keeping some of our parishes alive.

Anyway, it’s good to welcome Fr. Larry to Kilbegnet and Glinsk, and we can only hope he settles well in the community and has a long happy stay with us.

Was Mr Right Mr Wrong for Cheryl?

Two years ago the beautiful woman that most of us know as Cheryl Cole got married to a French playboy, known as J.B., but who was in reality a 33-year-old Jean Bernard, a man who apparently never had a job of any description.

A friend of his from his younger days said he used to have a philosophy that we all have to relax and enjoy our lives and his priority was having fun and partying.

However, despite his track record of no work and much partying, poor (maybe she wasn’t then but she will be now) little Cheryl was so sure he was Mr. Right that she didn’t bother about a pre-nuptial agreement and said at the time that she knew what she was doing and marrying the French playboy was what was right for her.

Today it seems that the two-year-old marriage is at an end and reports in the papers suggest that not having the pre-nup in place will cost the former Girls Aloud singer ten million pounds sterling. I’d safely say that the next Mr. Right that comes along will see a little piece of paper put in front of him and if he’s able to, he will be invited to either sign it or mark his X. Once bitten twice shy.

Anyway it’s a lesson for us all and if I ever walk down the aisle again – highly unlikely, according to Carol – I will take every step to protect the many millions that I have in my little tin can. I’ll make sure no one will ever get their hands on it!

Farewell to two local sporting greats

In a relatively small area like our province of Connacht, it’s a rare enough thing to have any sporting superstar, so its a particularly sad start to the New Year when we’ve said goodbye to not one but two such sportstars, with the deaths of Roscommon’s great Gerry O’Malley and the wonderful Galway golfer, Christy O’Connor Junior.

I never met the St. Brigid’s clubman, but in my young days he was right up there with the heroes of the time and is universally recognised as probably the best footballer who was never to win an All-Ireland.

He did however win an All-Ireland medal with the Roscommon hurlers and judging by the many tributes that have been written and said about him, both locally and nationally, his legacy will never be forgotten.

As for Christy, he was responsible for one of those sporting moments that we will never forget, with the famous two iron shot to the green in The Belfry, which won the Ryder Cup for Europe in 1989, but there was much more to the Galway man than that and his legacy will be that in a sport that is often played by people – like Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie – who look as if they have the cares of the world on their shoulders, he always played with a smile on his face and still managed to carve out an incredibly successful career for himself.

He was well-known for his love of a pint and of music and he played the spoons pretty well. One of his great off-the-course achievements was teaching the great Spaniard, Seve Ballesteros, to master the aforementioned spoons during a session after one of Christy’s tour victories.

I’m not sure how good Seve was, but if he didn’t make it, it wasn’t Christy’s fault. Both of these great Connacht men truly belonged in the area of legends and will be greatly missed. May they rest in peace.

Till next week, Bye for now