Fr Frank Hoare hopes to meet Maria again in the future - Photo: Fr Patrick Colgan
Fr Frank Hoare tells us about a bright girl in Ba that he hopes to meet again in the future.
I hadn’t visited Koroqaqa village in Ba parish for more than 20 years. I heard that they had almost completed a new church. So while helping out in Ba parish over Christmas, I made arrangements with the catechist to say Mass there on Friday night, December 30th.
It was dark as I drove a couple of miles along a track and then up a small hillock to park the parish van near the church. The shell was built but it wasn’t yet quite finished inside. One tube light in the middle of the ceiling was the only source of light. I was using an old Mass book with small print and found it difficult to see the words clearly.
A young girl then appeared at the side of the altar with a torch. It helped, but she noticed that I was still lifting the pages closer to my face. Without any signs of shyness or fear she then came to stand beside me behind the altar with the torch giving optimum light. I was very impressed by her initiative. I felt happy, as though she was concelebrating with me.
Afterwards as we stood together in front of the church for a photo, Maria said that no one had told her to come and assist me. She saw that I needed light and she provided it. She also explained, without any false modesty, that she had been the dux of her primary school and was now about to enter secondary school.
I have no doubt that Maria will do very well in the future. I would love to meet her some years from now and hear of her adventures in life.
Columban Fr Frank Hoare lives and works in Fiji.