FUNDS raised by the family of the late Fr Liam Hayes for the homes he founded in Argentina is worth “more than just money”.
The priest from Cappamore, who died last December aged 64, devoted his life to helping the poorest and most vulnerable in Obera.
He built two homes for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities and a hospice for the dying. A tremendous fundraiser, Fr Liam raised millions to build and fund the St Teresa Homes.
Such is the love felt for the Limerickman the Bishop of Obera is leading calls for his beatification.
Fr Liam would be a proud man to see that dozens of family members have donated over €7,500 from taking part in the Great Limerick Run. Seamus Doyle, from the St Teresa Homes, said all monies are very much appreciated.
“In the case of the family of Padre Liam, however, it is more than just money. It is the great wish of the Hayes family that his dream will continue to be fulfilled.
“With the money raised by the family the homes will be aided in different ways. The family has left the decision as how best to use it in our hands. No decision has yet been reached but it may be used to carry out necessary repairs to the homes, pay for new wheelchairs with more facilities on them, capital expenditure etc.” said Seamus, who looks forward to overhearing somebody say, “That wheelchair is here because of the Padre’s family”.
Fr Liam started his crusade to look after the impoverished during his time as a hospital chaplain in the mid 1980s. He accomplished so much and now his family are continuing it.
“As we are constantly living on a shoe string, you can imagine how touched we are. That the Hayes family would spend so much of their limited time in preparing to raise as much money as possible, we are lost for words. This money can help improve the dignity of our residents, and be a moral booster for both management and assistants.
“We want to have the highest standards possible to see that the disabled, abandoned, unloved and unwanted residents live as happy and contented as possible. Padre Liam would definitely approve of this, indeed, this was one of his policies. Whilst we are most grateful to those with generous hearts, nevertheless, this money from Padre Liam’s family means a great deal more. His family helps continue his dream. The family members are part of Padre Liam, he is one of them and they of him. For us, this money is something special,
“It’s a reminder that he is still with us in spirit and a reminder to us of his family” said Seamus.
After the run Fr Liam’s family went to the Castletroy Park Hotel where he held his first major fundraiser. Seamus, a brother, said they want to keep their Fr Liam’s memory alive and raise the profile of the St Teresa Homes - his sibling’s great legacy.
Fr Liam loved Obera so much that when he was diagnosed with cancer he didn’t want to come home to Ireland for treatment. This was reciprocated in his life and death in Obera and calls are growing for him to be made a Saint. Crowds attend a Mass on the seventh of each month - the day he died.
His is lined with tiles at the bottom and at all of the sides because his remains may be exhumed at some future date for his possible beatification.
Fr Liam may be buried in Argentinian soil but there is a distinctly Irish feel to his resting place as a there is a Celtic Cross.
“For me personally, he is missed greatly. He is still missed by all, residents, management, assistants and locals. When I remarked to a local man that I miss Padre Liam, he replied something to the effect ‘Don’t we all’. However, we believe that he is guiding us from on high. We all know that the show must go on and it is his wish that it does.
“To our knowledge, people are praying to Padre Liam to intercede for them before the throne of His Majesty, God the Father. Would their requests be met, we want to know so that we can use them to aid us in the process of his possible beatification. I have proposed that a suitable prayer be composed ending with something like ‘Through the intercession of Padre Liam Hayes, please grant me my request. Amen. Would your request be answered, please inform the Divine Word Missionary Congregation - www.sdvmissions.org,” said Seamus.
Fr Liam, as always, had many project on the go, one of which is a Bible Garden.
“As I walk his beloved Bible Garden making tremendous progress, my heart is very heavy because he is not here to see its progress,” said Seamus.