Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Old Missioners Returning Home.

Both Catholic weeklies had articles and even an editorial on two Maryknollers who will be leaving for the States in March. Father Gerald Farrell 93, and Fr, Joseph Slaby 84, who have spent over a half a century in Korea.

Sadness is present, they expressed to the interviewer, but they were led by the Spirit at the same age to come to Korea with joy in their hearts and they leave with joy.They have no misgivings on their new calling. This will be their new life in the States. They have no pictures to show of their life.They have tried to live in the present and not look back with lingering attachment to the past. They both worked to deepen their own spiritual life and those with whom they worked.

Many are the similarities of the two missioners. They both came to Korea at the age of 33. Both were delayed vocations. Fr. Farrell started off as a medical officer in the Navy and Fr. Slaby was an engineer. They both entered Maryknoll with the opposition of their fathers. Fr. Slaby's father was Protestant and found the son's decision hard to accept. Both had difficulty in the study of Korean they told the interviewer.

Father Farrell joined the navy as a medical officer after graduation from medical school. During this time he made his decision to be a missioner. He had a bright future but decided to leave it all which was a big blow to his father. He mentions how difficult it was even to mention his decision to his father. The father hearing about his son's plans refused even to speak to him. This changed the day before ordination.

Father Slaby worked as an engineer after college and had the same problem with his father who was a Protestant. He mentioned the most difficult part of the missionary life was language as did Fr. Farrell. Fr.Slaby, also mentions to the interviewer some difficulty with scrupulosity with which he had to struggle and worked hard to live thoroughly the life of a priest and missioner. He spent a year at the Angelicum in Rome studying spirituality,.

Both where involved in the Charismatic movement from the beginning. Fr. Farrell was one of the leaders of the Charismatic movement in Korea when the whole idea seemed Protestant and many priests not happy with the movement. They were also instrumental in introducing the Eucharistic Adoration Movement to Korea. In 1978 they began the Marian Priestly Group, meeting  every two months for the study of the spiritual life.

The editorial mentions how the two missioners considered their time in Korea a grace and gift. The work of the missioners in Korea have done much to make the Korean Church the envy of many other nations. In conclusion the editorial hopes with the growth of the Church and the blessings of large numbers of clergy being ordained each year they will like the two old missioners consider going to other countries as a grace and gift.

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