The Message Bank
where all messages are saved for posterity



December 26th 2014


 NAME: Maurice



A belated Happy Christmas to all Pelicans!


Follow the link above to an encouraging, uplifting Christmas letter from the MAfr Bishop of Mauretania, Martin Happe. What drew us to the WFs in the first place?


December 24th 2014


 NAME: Peter Prof McMurray

MESSAGE : Happy Xmas one and all.

I'm feeling lucky, had a minor heart attack, went to Melbourne for an angiogram, left three weeks later after a quadruple heart bypass just in time for Xmas at home.

Now I can continue learning the piano.


December 22nd 2014


 NAME: Tom Canning

MESSAGE : Merry Christmas to all White Fathers and Pelicans hope you have a happy year in 2015.

May God Bless and keep you all.


September 30th 2014


 NAME: Maurice

MESSAGE : It does not look as though industry is coming to Belcoo just yet!


Bless you all,





September 10th 2014


 NAME: Eric Creaney

MESSAGE : Eric kindly sent me this ink to a YouTube clip which features Fr Richard Baawobr, Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers).


Paul West


September 10th 2014


 NAME: Robbie Dempsey

MESSAGE : I just happened upon this item in the Irish Times

the other day. Any Pelicans who went to Blacklion would remember the students annual outing to the nuns at Killeshandra.


August 2nd 2014


 NAME: Tony Smyth

MESSAGE : I know there were several of the British White Fathers\' students, like myself, who were involved with the White Fathers\' Family Camp in Onchiota, New York, over the years. This is particularly for those people. With the closing of the camp\'s \'My Family\' website, due to (the owner of \'s discontinuing the \'myfamily\' brand, all photos & videos that were available on that site have now been moved to Facebook and are now available at


June 23rd 2014

08:16:47 PM


Paul West via Eric Creaney


Be Inspired! Go to the link below to witness Fr Patrick Shanahan in his role as advocate for Street Children in Africa and across the world.


June 22nd 2014


 NAME: Robbie Dempsey

Hi to all those who remember Glenfarne, Count Leitrim - just a short walk up the road from the old WF St. Augustine's College. The BALLROOM OF ROMANCE is about to reopen !

see today's news:

and/or see its own website at

With all best wishes, from Robbie Dempsey

June 8th 2014


 NAME: Merril Moolman

MESSAGE : I am trying to locate a person, Nicholas Muller. I see a photo of him on your website. I am not sure if he is still living he would be roughly 76 years old. Any help would be appreciated.


These are the links where I found him


404photo.htm Gallery 404

404photo.htm Gallery 404The Pelicans Friends of The Whit...

(source: Terry Lilley) Early fifties at St Collanba's (L-R): Francis Fairney, Nicholas Muller, Fr Patrick Boyd (?), Anthony O'Gorman, ——,

View on


April 20th 2014


 NAME: Tom Canning

I would just like to wish all White Fathers and Pelicans a Happy and Holy Easter, best wishes to all.




April 16th 2014


 NAME: John Morton

MESSAGE : I was greatly saddened to hear of Father Seamus’ death. I was a contemporary of his starting at St, Columba's in September 1949 and going onto the Priory. Seamus was quite a character full of fun and with an engaging sense of humour!

There were quite a number students of that year which produced several priests and an Archbishop. Gerard Wynne, Patrick Martin, Fiacre Fahy, Eugene MacBride and Michael Fitzgerald.

There was also a very late call to the Priesthood from that year:

Tony Guilfoyle was ordained at age 73 as a diocesan priest!!

I send my condolences to family and friends of Seamus at this sad time. He was a great Missionary Priest!! May he rest in Peace.


April 12th 2014


 NAME: Patricia Hawkins de Medina

Dear Paul:


I just heard that “Bud” Greene passed awy this morning. May she rest in peace. She will be fondly remembered by many who were seminarians in Blacklion. You may want to put this up on the message board.


This is the death notice:


“Bridget Greene, known as Bud Greene, Main Street, Blacklion, County Cavan, peacefully at Arus Breffni Nursing Home, Manorhamilton, County Leitrim. Reposing at Arus Breffni on Saturday evening from 6pm with removal at 7.45pm to arrive at St. Patrick’s Church, Blacklion, for 8.30pm. Mass of the Resurrection on Monday at 11am with burial in Killinagh Cemetery. House private please.”


Warm regards,




April 10th 2014


 NAME: Peter Prof McMurray


The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is upon us in Tasmania. I just popped outside and the rain was falling so gently one could not hear it. The birds were loving it having a regular twitterthon in the trees. Maybe they were actually complaining about my piano practise. How life has changed since my wingman passed on I did not realise how much time one spent with his insulin injections, regular feeds and having to stay close to the house because the diabetes blindness made him nervous. It did mean I was on top of some jobs Several bookcases built, a new deck extension, replumbed a 20,000 litre water tank that the original owner made a mess of. (why is it that so many have a problem with pi r squared, do not put small fittings into bigger pipes) I had to wait until Summer heat had just about emptied it. Now it is the further jobs and the lack of small engine maintenance catches up with one. First off the chain saw, swap chain and sharpen. Next the brushcutter sadly in need of re-tuning and greasing. Then the Leaf Mulcher which is still resisting after being untouched for so long - maybe the fuel has gone off. AhWell! no problem, bonfire lighter fuel - I have several heaps 2-3 metres high and up to 15 metres long as we have had fire restrictions for so long..Of course the ATV appreciates a run - all so different from the flat in Sutton Coldfield that I grew up in. I found that it is now part of a Chinese restaurant with a monstrous flue going up past the bedroom window. I gather that is the final step before demolition  As for my flat in Erdington before I took off to sunnier climes: well, the lovely smokestacks of the power station at the bottom of the garden have vanished and been replaced by the M6 motorway. The pub at the bottom of the road where one sang ditties whilst downing Black & Tans or Mackeson & Cider (very dodgy stuff) gone for ever. Anyway hope you all have a nicer Summer than the Winter floods so many suffered.

Best wishes from the Antipodes


March 24th 2014


 NAME: Chris Benton

Further to Mike Meehan's message - I remember well Andy losing the tip of his finger. I also recall some months later his being rushed to Peebles hospital. We heard him screaming in agony in the infirmary overlooking the chapel. We heard at first that it was thought he was suffering from stomach cramps while playing basket ball too early after a meal. As I recall, it turned out to be acute appendicitis. I'm sure these two incidents were responsible for causing him to fall behind in his studies and having to repeat his second year at St Columba's. However, his loss was our gain. Frank Murphy and I (both now 2nd year) joined up with Andy for our most enjoyable weekly 'expeditions' under the 'command' of Dick (Brains) McKenna (who was also repeating his second year) - camping in the first valley, exploring the far reaches of the Tweed and swimming in it, scaling all 3 Eildon Hills in an afternoon not to mention commando style forays into Earl Haig's estate at Beymerside.


Some 40 odd years after leaving the Priory, I had the great pleasure of re-connecting with Andy and meeting his lovely wife and children. Although distance prevented regular meet ups , like Danny O'Hagan, we kept in touch by phone. A very kind and down to earth man- much as he was as my school pal. A dedicated family man who touched the hearts of many and who will be greatly missed.


March 20th 2014


 NAME: Charlie McCarthy

Fr JAMES BROWNE WF/MAfr (Rockchapel, Co Cork): On March 17, 2014, peacefully, at Lir Nursing Home, Tournafulla, Fr. JIM, Rockhill (White Father's Missionary of Africa), dear brother of Dave, Jer, Jack, Joe, Moss, Billy, Mary and the late Eugene, Kathleen and Rita. Deeply regretted by his loving brothers, sister, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunt Mary Ann, nephews, nieces, his White Father's Community, Bishop and Priests of the Diocese of Kerry, relatives, neighbours and friends. RIP. Reposing at Allen's Funeral Home, Rockchapel. Rosary on this (Tuesday) evening at 9.30pm. Reposing on tomorrow (Wednesday) from 6pm, with removal at 8pm to St Peter's Church, Rockchapel. Requiem Mass on Thursday at 12 noon. Burial afterwards in the local cemetery.



March 13th 2014


 NAME: Peter Prof McMurray


Nimmo brought Michael Goodstadt and John Larkin's comments to my attention a couple of days ago. Unfortunately I was in the process of digging a suitable grave in dry rocky clay on a steep hillside for my wingman of sixteen years - a determined West Highland White terrier – so I cogitated before answering.

It is difficult to judge the actions of people working in the

1950's under the mores of today. The loneliness and lack of any meaningful support I fully agree with. In fact I sometimes wonder if I lived on another planet - for example I had no idea that any student smoked, yet I now discover there was a major trade in Woodbines :-) .


Pleasant events , well I remember helping Father Fitzgerald load and deliver a ton of dung one day and being rewarded with a trip to the cinema - Spencer Tracey in Bad Day At Black Rock.


Helping John Lyden with his cricket practice. Fr. Monaghan's attempts to teach us cricket. In fact I just went with the flow as I was destined to be a priest and belonged to Mother Church rather than my birth family; obedience was the be all and end all.

I sustained much deeper hurt than I imagined from my own method of termination. I went to see Father Superior to discuss doubts I had about my vocation. To my horror, instead of a sensible discussion, he sat back with a pompous air and said there are three reasons for leaving:
•1 to get married (me a 17 year old naive virgin)
•2 to take up a career ( it would be another 10 years before I discovered what that was)
•3 because you are acting like a BLOODY fool (his emphasis not mine) and I think that you fall in the third category. He apparently wrote to my mother and the next thing I knew was I was down at the youth employment bureau and being signed up to a modern slave contract i.e. articled to a chartered accountant. The full legal hit of which I did not discover until 2 years later when I went to swap my 2 pound ten a week tick it and hope audit job for a nine pound ten a week job driving a grocery van. In fact when I found Paul West's site in 2003 I sobbed for 10 minutes as it all flooded back and finally I have forgotten that Superior's name. I then realised the diaspora that had hit my classmates - I was not alone.

Quite a few had joined the extreme forces - in fact I have a jazz pianist to thank for my not doing so as he told me he thought that that was just a cop out, which in my case it was. I was just looking for someone to tell me what to do.

I have the greatest admiration for those that, like Commander Bill Nimmo-Scott RN OBE, made a great go of it. Others like Mick Mearns had travelled the globe making my perambulations a simple jaunt.

Did we turn out well because of the schooling or in spite of it? We will never know.

Michael is wrong about one thing ; boarding school is a perfectly normal thing today in places subject to the tyranny of distance such as Australia. However I think many parents would freak at the thought of an 11 year old boy, domiciled in central England, finding his own way to and from the borders of Scotland in the depths of a snowed in Winter as I did.

The religious experience is simply a matter of birth place In the UK you had the greatest salesman in history - St. Paul - for being Catholic or Protestant. In Russia Marx would have held sway. In China Confucious was over taken by Mao.In India Shiva holds sway although I prefer Ganesha. Middle East Mohammad is the man although Sunnii seem to hate Shia even more than anyone else. In my darkest moments of deep blue despond I found considerable relief in Buddhism and Zen meditation.

My preference is to be considered a Humanist and feel that any belief system based on fear is wrong. In fact I bought A.C. Grayling The God Argument today and plan some thought along these lines.

As the Irish humorist, Dave Allan, would say "May your God be with You".

Meanwhile I have just taken up the piano haven fallen under the spell of great Boogie-Woogie players such as Paterok and Zingg - what a blessing You-Tube has turned out to be :-)



March 1st 2014


 NAME: Tom McKeith

MESSAGE : Hello, dear friends and past acquaintances, fellow seminarians. This is Tom McKeith, and my first time posting here. I was a student at St. Columba’s and the Priory from 1963 until 1967.

I have a favour to ask of anyone who may read this letter. I have remained in contact with Pat Gritton
throughout the years, but due to some unfortunate circumstances in the recent past I've lost his    address and would love to get back in contact.

My address is

Thank you so very much. God Bless. Tom McKeith



February 27th 2014


 NAME: Danny O'Hagan

So dislike being the bearer of sad news. I'm sure those who joined with me in 1954 and attended St Columba's will remember with great fondness Andy Mooney. Andy died last night having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a few weeks ago.

I met our good friend and colleague Martin Leonard
at a Celtic game last week who let me know that Andy was ill. I visited him in Bellshill and he let me know the illness was terminal. As always Andy quite practical about his situation but thought he had a bit more time.

I had planned to visit next week. A great guy and a great friend for 60yrs. Despite the fact that I lived so far away and only could manage occasional visits we remained close friends and I will miss him terribly. Marie, Andy's wife, and children Arlene and Brendan were his pride and joy and my thoughts are with them.


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