Fr. Lorenzo Bracken looks back.
I was ordained on 7th July 1957 and in November went by boat to work in Auckland
and Hamilton dioceses in New Zealand among the Maori people.
A great spirit existed between them and for me the next 27 years were of great peace, joy and happiness.
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Part of the sacrifice a missionary makes is to be in a far away country. This was
brought home to me on the death of my beloved mother when I could not be home
for the occasion. A sad time for me. May she rest in Peace.
I was in Murupara in the sixties where most of the men worked felling timber and sent
to the mill at Kawarau which went on strike. The parishioners were in dire straits,
lacking even the basics to buy food. I contacted the farmers and bargained with them,
sending out the men to work on the farms in return for animals and foodstuffs.
I organised the women to distribute food to the needy families. After nine weeks the
strike ended. Later I began a budgeting Association and credit union to give a
more permanent help to the local people.
The government recognised my efforts and I was included in the Queenâs Birthday
Honours list and travelled to Wellington to receive the Community Service Medal.
Gaelic Games continued to interest me and I was thrilled to rub shoulders with
Christy Ring, Ollie Walsh and Johnny Logan who came for charity events.
In 1984 I returned to Ireland to be with my father who was very ill. After his death
I was appointed to the Irish Region and have been working here ever since, collecting
Mission boxes. I also celebrate healing Masses and help out in parishes in various
Dioceses. I still enjoy my priesthood and Thank God for the blessing given me over
The past 50 years.
Condensed from St.Josephâs Advocate, Summer 2007. Mill Hill Missionaries.