Fr. Gerry Hurley at a Legion of Mary meeting
Fr. Gerry Hurley, younger brother of Fr. Dermot, was the first Columban pastor of Lomary Parish. He worked there from 1979 to 1996. Fr. Gerry worked hard in Lomary developing the primary and secondary schools. A former athlete himself, he trained the secondary students’ athletics team, and during his time, they achieved notable success in the Athletics Championship in Suva.
Fr. Gerry Hurley built a big new church in Lomary in the shape of a clam shell with a large glass wall, behind the altar, looking out on the blue sea. It was opened in June 1992. The roof is carried by 24 beams of laminated wood, each 20 meters long. They provide a clear floor space for a congregation of 800 people.
Fr. Hurley was also a great promoter of the Legion of Mary and when he returned to Fiji in 1978, the late Archbishop Emeritus Petero Mataca asked him to revive the Legion. He started some groups in Lomary and requested help from the Legion headquarters in Ireland. Fr. Gerry encouraged Legion members in Lomary to visit ethnic Indian families, despite the language problems. He also led a group on overseas evangelization to Samoa and other groups of Legionaries visited Rotuma, Tonga and Vanuatu.