Fr. Lazarus was very popular during his time in Fethard.
Fr. Lazarus Barkindo OSA – the very popular Augustinian missionary priest who have been working in the Abbey church in Fethard for five years – said farewell to the Fethard community at 9.30am Mass on Sunday, September 10.
This was a very emotional moment for ‘Fr Laz’ saying his final, ‘thank you and good bye’ to a local community he had very much grown to love. Following the recent Augustinian Chapter, Fr. Lazarus has now been appointed to St. Augustine’s Church, Shop Street, Drogheda, Co. Louth.
In his final speech to the community he had this to say.
“Moments like this are very challenging to say anything or speak knowing fully well it may be the last time. When I came to Fethard about five years ago, I did not give a welcome address, but in this situation of departure, expressing my feelings to the community I so much love is necessary.
Even though I was brought in the darkness of winter – so that I couldn’t escape back to Dublin – I felt in love with Fethard from the very first day I met with the people, and it has remained like that, up to the moment I am to leave.
In my several sermons, here in the Augustinian Church, I told all of you that being a missionary in Ireland has been my dream fulfilled. I have always been proud to tell you my background and life story.
In 1967, I was born into the hands of an Irish FMDM (Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood) Nun, Sr. Finbar, presently in a nursing home in Motherwell, England. A few weeks later I was baptised by Fr. Sean Dowling OSA (RIP) from Cork. At the age of eight I was given my First Holy Communion by Fr. Jim Martin OSA (RIP) from Limerick. When I was nine years of age I was enrolled into the junior seminary and I believe this was very much supported through the ‘Black Babies’ donation boxes, because my father was a domestic worker with the missions and I was helped through that. This again was facilitated by Fr. Philip Sinnott OSA (RIP) from New Ross, who was the current priest in charge of the mission station by then.
I was then confirmed by Bishop Patrick Francis Sheehan OSA (RIP) from Tramore, Co. Waterford, and when I finished my formation as a student, I was ordained to the priesthood by him again. So, you can see why my missionary coming to Ireland today feels reciprocal, after first moulding me through donations for the Augustinian ‘black babies’ many years ago. The very mentioned of this, made me well integrated into the community.
Fethard had been my missionary foundation in Ireland. Here I have gotten in touch with real Irish cultural way of life, in a rural setting like this one. I would not have learned as much of the Irish culture in a big city like Dublin where life has been a little more diluted with present-day multiculturalism.
For making me feel at home and well-integrated, permit me to say thank you to all of you present and those that are not here, especially your family members in diaspora. I may not be able to mention all names, but permit me to say thank you to my brothers Gerry and Martin in the community, Frs. Tom Breen and Liam – our new parish priest, the tireless sacristans, Mike Kenrick, Eddie Sheehan and Margaret Taylor; Liam Cloonan and staff in the community, the active flower ladies, those cleaning the church constantly, our lovely choir group under the direction of Ann Barry; offertory collectors, readers, Eucharistic ministers and all of you that make our liturgy enjoyable here in the Abbey church. If I have not mentioned any person or group in particular, please know that you are all special. I have been and still very proud to be associated with you. I know my heart is small but I promise you there is a place for each one of you, for me to carry you.
An African proverb says, ‘Changing from one forest to another does not make a Leopard change her spots’. The goodness I got here, I am taking it with me to Drogheda and I will gladly tell them, that goodness is from Fethard – the only town with newly opened museum featuring a ‘Country Horse Experience’.
On a final note, permit me to humble acknowledge that I am human and as such if unknowingly and unintentionally I have offended anybody please let go and forgive me and I do the same on my own part. And indeed, that is what makes us Christians. Thank you very Much and may God bless us all. Amen.”
— Fr. Lazarus Barkindo OSA