In 1997, Father Felix Lopez, Superior General of the Servant Brothers and Priests of the Home of the Mother arrived in Ireland to learn English with the help of a close friend of the Home, Fr. Michael Fitzgerald, along with a personal instructor, Sister Cecilia, one of the Sisters of Mercy. Twenty-one years later, God’s providential hand has brought us back to Ireland, not to learn English, but to found a community of Servant Brothers and Priests in Mallow, County Cork, right next door to the convent where Father Felix received lessons from Sister Cecilia. Can you believe it? Praise God!
Bishop William Crean of the Diocese of Cloyne has given us the mission to work with the youth in all the Catholic High Schools. We are very excited for this opportunity to practice our charism working with the young people across the whole diocese. We have been very impressed and humbled by the warm welcome of the bishop, priests, and the faithful here in Ireland. They too are very excited for us to work with the young people.
Along with the foundation of the Servant Brothers and Priests, the Servant Sisters founded a community in Mitchelstown, about 35 km north of Mallow. Fr. Rafael, along with Mother Ana and Fr. Felix, were present for both foundations.
The inauguration Mass for the Servant Sisters took place on Saturday, September 22, 2018 in the parish of Fr. Michael Fitzgerald. The bishop gave his blessing and following the Mass there was teatime, to meet the parishioners. They were very happy to see young religious that will give witness to the community.
The following day the Mass to welcome the Servant Brothers and Priests was celebrated by the bishop at St. Mary’s Parish in Mallow. The three parish priests at St. Mary’s have been true fathers to us, welcoming us here in town.
Fr. Rafael, the Sisters and the Brothers made a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Knock in County Mayo to commend our apostolic work to her. We asked her to pave the way in the evangelization of the youth.
To finish off, Fr. Felix and Fr. Fitzgerald were able to pay a visit in the hospital to Sr. Cecilia, who is now 97 years old. Sr. Cecilia, still sharp, remembered Fr. Felix and was delighted by his visit. Father Felix was able to thank her for his English lessons. They ended off his visit with a Hail Mary together in Spanish. We are right next door to the Convent of the Sisters of Mercy, and they have taken care of us by giving us pots, pans, silverware, mugs as well as things to celebrate Mass.
PWe ask for many prayers so that Our Lady can reawaken the faith in Ireland, especially in the youth.