KT

Fr Sean honoured by his own

Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Bobby O'Connell, presenting the Hugh O'Flaherty Award to Daniel Myers, Noreen Hayes and Teresa Cunningham, the family of Fr Sean Myers, with Fr Dan Baragry, Provincial of the Dublin Province of Redemptorists. Picture: Don MacMonagle
Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Bobby O’Connell, presenting the Hugh O’Flaherty Award to Daniel Myers, Noreen Hayes and Teresa Cunningham, the family of Fr Sean Myers, with Fr Dan Baragry, Provincial of the Dublin Province of Redemptorists.
Picture: Don MacMonagle

THE annual Hugh O’Flaherty International Humanitarian Award was awarded to Killarney born Redemptorist Missionary to northeast Brazil, Fr Sean Myers, and it was accepted, on his behalf, by relatives at a ceremony in the Killarney Plaza Hotel at the weekend.

Since 1960, Fr Myers has been working tirelessly in a very remote and poor parish half the size of Ireland. He was nominated for the award by the Fossa parish where was born 85 years ago.

The ceremony began with the screening of the 1977 Radharc TV documentary on Fr Sean’s work, titled Padre Joao is a Kerryman. It followed him through the wild and remote areas of northeast Brazil as he served both the spiritual and practical needs of his oppressed and dispossessed parishioners. He was described in the film as being apart from the mainstream church organisation, tending to the needs of the community in a very paternalistic manner, as he believed Christ would have wished.

Somewhat like Hugh O’Flaherty, he saw himself as being somewhat out on a limb but was happy to stay there if that meant he could more effectively help those in dire need of assistance.

Fr Sean was unable to travel back to Ireland for the ceremony but he conveyed a brief message of appreciation, saying there were many more deserving recipients but accepting the recognition on behalf of all of his fellow missionaries.

Keynote speaker on the night was the USA Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, who recalled the 1945 origins of the highest civilian award presented by the US Government, the United States Medal of Freedom, which was presented to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty in 1946 in recognition of his immense contribution to peace and reconciliation during and immediately after World War II in Rome.

Provincial of the Redemptorist Order in Ireland, Fr Dan Baragry, said Fr Sean is a wonderful role model for all young missionaries and humanitarian volunteers and was richly deserving of the recognition he has now received.

The award was presented by Mayor of Killarney Municipal District, Cllr Bobby O’Connell and was accepted on Fr Sean’s behalf by his siblings Daniel Myers, Teresa Cunningham and Noreen Hayes.  

Meanwhile, prizes were presented at Killarney Library to the winning entries in the 2015 Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Schools’ Literary Competitions, with entries from Tralee, Bonane and Cork City taking the honours.