Spiritan News

Christmas 2019 in Ireland – Locky Flanagan C.S.Sp.*

It was in Nigeria in 1966, the year after his ordination, that Michael Walsh C.S.Sp., (pictured) began his long service to date as a missionary priest. He first arrived in the west African country not long before the beginning of its civil war, known to many as ‘The Biafran War’. After leaving Nigeria, he was one of a group of Irish Spiritans who moved to open up the congregation’s first-ever mission in Zambia in 1971 and he continues to serve in the southern African country to this day.

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calendar_today Date: July 5, 2020 - access_time 2 minutes read

Fr Locky Flanagan C.S.Sp.

2019 is one of my the few Christmases that I will have spent at home since I first went on overseas mission in 1980. I’m particularly looking forward to the privilege of hearing confessions and saying the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass at Cuan Mhuire, a home where addicts are treated. The centre was given the name ‘The Harbour of Mary’ (in Irish) – in honour of Mary, Our Mother – by its founder Sr. Consilio Fitzgerald RSM.  Listening to Sr Consilio, I grew in appreciating ever more Mary’s role as a mentor in my own life.  I had been gathering wisdom on mentoring from a couple of different sources. Why? 

At home since August, I ebbed and flowed as I prepared for the next phase of my missionary life, which I envisaged would be in a parish in Ireland. However, God’s plans for me –  at least for 2020 –  have changed and I  have agreed to return to Malawi, where I had previously spent a decade and a half, a decision which I had not anticipated being asked to make but one with which I am now “at peace”. I will be returning to serve with our seminarians in The Philosophy College in Balaka. 

*  Ordained in 1973, Fr. Flanagan is a native of Co. Kildare. He has served in Canada, Ireland, Malawi and Zimbabwe, and returned to Ireland in late August 2019.  

Image by Ed Peeters from Pixabay

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