THE GOODWILL and generosity of the people of Kilkenny has ensured that a South African, who grew up in a township will be ordained as a deacon.
Canon Tommy Murphy explained that he was part of a group who travelled to South Africa with the Kilkenny hurling team on their holiday trip in 2004. “When we were there we went to a hospice for AIDS victims and I was asked to say Mass in the oratory.
“There was a chap called Thulani Gubula there who was a domestic and who did the readings and had a great singing voice and he said that above all he wanted to be a priest. He told us that he was responsible for his parents at home who were financially dependent on him. We said that we might be able to help. There was a fierce sense of goodwill and it was emotional. The Mass was a powerful occasion and before we got back to the hotel the late Eamon Hennessy said that as a once off we should give €100 a piece. 32 people donated (some of the donations were from people who were not on the trip). We held onto the money and put it in the credit union when we got back and the sent some out.
“Thulani went off to the seminary and I suppose we lost touch a bit over the years and then last week an invitation for his ordination arrived. We helped him through his early years and then lost a bit of contact. He left the seminary for a year but came back and will be ordained a deacon at the Roman Catholic diocese of Queenstown on December 15. I was delighted to hear the news and that the donations that were made locally have helped him along the way. It is very uplifting and it shows how easy it is to make good things happen when people try a bit,” he said.
A special celebratory Mass will take place at St Fiacre’s Church in Loughboy on December 10 at 8pm. Cllr Joe Malone, who was part of the original group who travelled to South Africa will attend the ordination in Queenstown along with John Crowley from Mooncoin. “I am very much looking forward to going out and to meeting Thulani and letting people know how he is getting on when I get back,” said Cllr Malone.