Father Jim clutched the missal tightly as he strode confidently to the altar. It was his stage and he loved spreading the word of God and being able to help those less fortunate than himself. Life has been good to him. Graduating top of his class in college, spending years in a seminary in Rome, which to him is the Hollywood of the church, then becoming a parish priest of a developing parish in South Africa.
He fitted in well as he had a humble nature, which he always maintains is from his mother, Margaret Byrne, a lady who was born into a wealthy family but was taught at an early age by her own parents to share the wealth. She started a dress making business in their local town of Caherlong on the rugged west coast of Ireland. Every summer she would hire the services of a tailor and the duo would kit out the students of the town in new clothes for the school term. If the parents of the students were able to pay, she would accept but if they weren’t then so be it, she still gave them the clothes.
Father Jim always uses the mantra of ‘never look down on somebody unless you are helping them up’.