A Time in History (July 24-31)

July 24

BISHOP HENRY BYRNE was born at Edenderry, County Offaly, Ireland in 1913. He died in a Manila hospital on July 24, 1983. After his secondary studies at St. Joseph’s College, Ballinasloe, Father Henry went to Dalgan seminary in 1931. He was ordained priest in 1937 and went to Rome for post-graduate studies. After receiving his Doctorate in Canon Law in 1941, he was assigned to the teaching staff at St. Columban’s, Silver Creek [1942-51]. He went to the Philippines in 1951 and the following year he was appointed Superior in Mindanao. Appointed first bishop of Iba in 1956, he guided the diocese for the next twenty-seven years. He is buried in Iba Cathedral.



Columban Bishops Patrick Cronin and Henry Byrne, December 1956


FR. JOHN KAISER was born at St. Bernard’s parish, Omaha, USA in 1910. He died in an accident in the Philippines on July 24, 1961.  Father John was ordained priest in 1933 having studied at Dalgan seminary and the U.S.  After ordination, he did promotion work in the U.S. [1934-36] and then was appointed to the staff at St. Columban’s, Silver Creek [1936-46].  Assigned to the Philippines in 1947, he remained there until 1954. He was temporary bursar at St. Columban’s, Silver Creek [1954-56], before returning to the Philippines. Father John was killed when hit by a truck near Morong, Rizal as he was driving a group of teachers and two altar-boys to a film show in Manila. All his passengers survived.  Father John is buried at Morong, Philippines.


July 26

FR. DONAL (Donie) O’DEA  was born on 20 February 1928 in the Parish of Nenagh, Co Tipperary. He was educated in Ballina NS, De la Salle NS Castlebar, Quin NS Co Clare and St Flannan’s College, Ennis, Co Clare.  He came to Dalgan in September 1945 and was ordained priest on 21 December 1951. He was assigned to the Philippines, to the Zambales District of Luzon Province, where he would spend the next sixty years in that area, serving its various parishes. He began as assistant in Sta Cruz Parish before becoming pastor in Iba, then Palawig, followed by Masinloc. By 1973 he was back in Iba once more, then in Poonbato where he became Superior of the Zambales District 1984 to 1990. There followed further appointments to St Joseph’s, Olongapo, Sta Cruz, and Barreto, Olongapo. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 buried the surrounding communities in volcanic ash. Those most affected were the members of the Aeta indigenous peoples who were forced to move to the lowlands where they were scattered and neglected. The bishop asked Donie to help them. He found that there were over 7,000 Aeta in twenty-two areas, from Palawig in the north to Olongapo City. The larger settlements had schools and a clinic, but the people required houses, food for work to clear the land, and literacy classes. Long-term goals included acquiring ownership of land, securing rights to their ancestral land, and preserving their culture. As Coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples of the Diocese, Father Donal  spent the next almost twenty years working hard at all these various tasks, until he retired to Ireland in June 2012.  He was a gentle, kind, approachable man and a very dedicated missionary with a wry sense of humour. He enjoyed his years of retirement in Ireland until failing health confined him to the Nursing Home. He died peacefully in Dublin’s Mater Hospital on Friday 26 July 2019.


July 27

FR. FRANCIS DOUGLAS was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1910. He died in the Philippines on July 27, 1943. Having studied at the Marist Brothers School, Wellington, Father Frank went to Holy Cross College, Mosgiel to study for priesthood in the Archdiocese of Wellington. He was ordained priest at Wellington in 1934 and worked in the parishes of Johnsonville, Opunake and New Plymouth before coming to St.Columban’s, Essendon. Father Frank went to the Philippines in 1938.  In June 1943, he was taken for questioning by Japanese military police from his parish in Pililla to Paete, a nearby town, where he was tortured and finally was taken to one of the wooden pillars that support the choir loft.  He was made to stand there with one arm tied to the pillar above his head. He remained in that position for the next 2 days and 2 nights with no food or drinks allowed, even though the people prepared some for him.  Further beating and harassment continued, but he did not utter a sound. In the early evening of Tuesday, July 27, 1943, the Japanese took him outside and put him into the back of their truck and drove away.  Because of the darkness, no one was able to follow the truck.  No one knows what happened to him, but the presumption is that he soon died or was killed. His body was never found.



July 31

FR. THEODORE CAFFARELLI was born in Buffalo, New York, USA in 1925. He died of lung cancer at Mercy Hospital, Buffalo, on July 31, 1997.  Father Ted, as he was fondly called, studied in Silver Creek [1938-43], in Bristol [1943-44], and in Nebraska [1944-50], USA where he was ordained priest on December 17, 1949. Appointed to the Philippines in 1950, he spent the next twenty years in the Negros area. He returned to the U.S. in 1970 and worked on promotion in West Chester and served as house superior. He returned to Negros in 1975 and worked there till 1989 when he took up duty in West Seneca, in his home diocese of Buffalo. Father Ted is buried in the family plot at Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Buffalo, New York, USA.