A Message from Brother Tony Dolan on St. Patrick’s Day 2020


From a 35C+ Adraa, Uganda, a happy and peaceful St. Patrick’s Day. In every part of the world where St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated, this year’s celebration is like no other! Even in West Nile, Uganda, the day is overshadowed by the specter of COVID-19. It is only in the past few days that the dire message on the virus have started to hit home in this part of the world and, like in other places, it is instilling fear and uncertainty.

As we await a vaccine from scientists and medical experts, our health management is largely in our own hands. Changes in lifestyles, habits, and cultural practices must be made if we are to ensure our own health and safety and that of our most vulnerable populations. As the President of Ireland pointed out in his St. Patrick’s Day message, we can learn from and adopt the values of St. Patrick — solidarity, a transformative spirit, concern for others and mutual collaboration.  As members of the global community we must commit to working in a spirit of solidarity and co-operation, joining people across the world to fight this and other global emergencies.

Should the virus catch hold in East Africa, as it has in parts of Europe, we will be facing a massive public health crisis.  We have no ventilators, no isolation units and little medication to provide some relief!  We pray and work to ensure that such a disaster is averted and that the outcomes from this crisis will be a stronger sense of community and more integrated, loving and compassionate people and communities.

In addition to facing the challenges of the corona virus, last week our Brothers and Friends in Ireland bade farewell to two stalwarts of our Congregation, Brothers Edmund Farrell and Laurence Grimes. Also on Sunday last they bade farewell to Sr. Dympna Stack, Sisters of the Christian Retreat, who was great friend of the Brothers and a Mountbellew icon.  A few weeks back we also lost to Sister Death, Jimmy McWalter from Abbeyknockmoy who was great supporter of the Brothers and Mountbellew Agriculture College. We thank our God for Edmund, Laurence, Dympna and Jimmy  and for their long productive, love filled lives. As we remember them in our prayers, we also remember our Brothers, their families and friends. May each of them and all our dead experience the joy and peace of our eternal home.

Despite the deaths and challenges please take time to enjoy this beautiful feast and reflect on what the Spirit of our loving, caring Creator may be saying to us in the apparent chaos of the moment.

“La Fheile Padraig sona dhuit” or “Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you.”  Br. Tony Dolan