Fr. Dick O'Sullivan

Fr. Dick O'Sullivan with Catechist from Naleba, John Jacob

Fr. Dick O'Sullivan began studying Hindi at Xavier College towards the end of 1960 and continued his study of Hindi in Lautoka from mid-1961. he was appointed to Nabala parish with Frs John Doyle and Rod Hoult in 1962 and was told to do something about Labasa and Naleba. Mr John Jacob, the Naleba catechist was by then old and infirm. In April 1962 Fr. John Doyle took Fr. O'Sullivan to Naleba where they said Mass in Latin.

Fr. Dick used to visit the hospital on Saturday, say Mass in Labasa on Sunday morning and then go to Naleba for Mass or paraliturgy, followed by instructions. He taught some hymns also. So he got them into the habit of coming together in church every week.

Fr. O'Sullivan was aware that the Naleba Catholics used to have a regular round of prayer gatherings in each other's houses. These seemed to be petering out and he didn't attend any. He visited the active and inactive Catholic families, and Catholics who married into Hindu families. He celebrated some weddings, sometimes after difficult negotiations over the date.

Fr. O'Sullivan's attention was somewhat taken away from Naleba with the establishment of Labasa Parish in October 1964. He inherited some Fijian villages and he had to concentrate on improving his Fijian. He was amazed at how little the Naleba Indians knew about the Fijians and vice versa. He knew much more about both of them than either of them knew about the other.

Fr. O'Sullivan helped the Naleba Church committee to get a piece of land for the church from the Sugar Company. He discovered the the the committee had a fund of which was quite a sizeable amount at the time. The church was actually built in 1971.

The Turning Wheel
by Fr. Frank Hoare MSC