• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 28 August 2015 10:43

Remembering Fr Liam Horsfall SVD, missionary to India, PNG & Aus

Fr-Liam-Horsfall-in-India---350Fr Liam Horsfall SVD, who died in Brisbane this month, aged 87, has been remembered as a missionary who was as much at home taking the Divine Word to the poorest, most marginalised people in India and PNG as he was sitting and talking to the young men or the elderly nuns under his Chaplaincy care in Brisbane.

Born and raised in Brisbane, Fr Liam took his first vows as a Divine Word Missionary in 1949 and his first assignment was to India, where he would spend many years and have extraordinary experiences, including being chaplain for Mother Teresa’s new congregation in India.

When he arrived in India he was assigned to Orissa, at Jharsuguda, a small mission station, which would grow to become a major mission over the next 50 years. The major missionary activity for the SVDs in India focussed on the Tribal people, who are among the most marginalised people in the country.

After earning a Science degree to help secure a good school in the local area, he would go on to start up eight schools for the Tribals. In this period Fr Liam also started his work as chaplain for Mother Teresa’s congregation and worked with Fr Marion Zelazek SVD at the Karunalaya Leprosy Care Centre in Puri.

In the mid 1960s, Fr Liam was elected as Provincial in India (INE Province) and served three terms, a total of nine years. He contributed greatly to the educational, vocational and developmental policies of the INE Province, and there are many priests, brothers and three Tribal bishops in the SVD throughout India today.

During his time as Provincial, the Catholic missions were attacked twice, resulting in the burning of churches and schools. Each time, Fr Liam, the SVDs, the Sisters and communities would “start again – the only thing to do”.

Fr Liam returned to Australia for a holiday in 1976 and was elected Provincial of AUS while on leave. He was heavily involved in the training of missionaries for postings overseas, as well as establishing chaplaincies with immigrant communities, while also serving as chaplain for Marist Brothers College, Eastwood. It was from here that he began taking dozens of groups of students to India during their school holidays, to experience the mission there.

One person who says Fr Liam had a big impact on his life, is Fr Tim Norton SVD.

“At the age of 21, I took up an offer from Liam Horsfall to go to India with him – he had been my school chaplain,” says Fr Tim.

“I was mightily impressed with the journey, and the way that Liam was greeted so warmly by so many folk of all levels of society indicated the great esteem they had for him.

“I remember him fondly as a religious who was intensely interested in the well-being of people. He truly lived Jesus’ words of ‘Love thy neighbour’.

In 1985, Fr Liam was appointed to PNG, working first in Wewak and then as a teacher at the Divine Word Institute in Madang where he lectured in Theology and was Rector of the community.

Liam-farewell---350Returning to Brisbane, Fr Liam spent a few years as parish priest at Hamilton, where he set up a training college for teachers from PNG. He then received invitations to be Chaplain to the Mercy Sisters’ Retirement Home at Emmaus, Nudgee and also to St Patrick’s College, Shorncliffe. He remained with both of these chaplaincies until his retirement due to ill health, earlier this year.

Paul Corfield, Acting Assistant Principal – Identity at St Patrick’s, says Fr Liam had a tremendous impact on the school community.

“This is evidenced by the fact that more than 300 people, including current and past students gathered to remember Fr Liam during the Mass for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15,” Paul says.

Current students from the College also formed a guard of honour at his funeral, at Emmaus.

“Fr Liam made a point of being available for the boys,” says Paul. “He would sit down in a certain spot in the playground at lunch times and just be there to talk with the boys. He would also hold interviews with the boys to talk with them about what’s going on in their life and their faith. And of course, there were the trips to India, which really had a big impact on those who went. Fr Liam was held in very high regard by the boys.”

In a eulogy delivered at Fr Liam’s funeral, Br Christopher Pritchard CFC recalled how, even in his later years, when he was using a walking stick and was becoming frailer, when asked how he was, Fr Liam would always respond with, “perfect!” or “fabulous!”.

“Fr Liam Horsfall, we give thanks to God for the graces you have received through the Holy Spirit, and used so well in courageously following Jesus in doing the Father’s will, making Christ’s life your life and Christ’s mission your mission, by bringing the Divine Word to places where it had not been preached before,” Br Christopher said.

“We say goodbye and through the intercession of the Mother of the Word Incarnate, St Arnold Janssen, the martyrs and confessors of the Divine Word Missionaries and the mercy of God, Rest in Peace.”