Siobhan McCaffrey

Following in Father Pat’s footsteps

By Siobhan McCaffrey

Fr Pat McCaffrey, from County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, died suddenly in Pakistan on 18 May 2010. He had served first as a Columban missionary in Fiji before joining the pioneering group of Columbans that went to Pakistan in 1979. Later he spent some years in Britain, based in Bradford, where there are many people of Pakistani origin. He was involved with Muslims there and celebrated Mass regularly with Catholic Pakistanis. He returned to Fiji but was to spend his late years in Pakistan. Here his niece writes about her visit, with her brother Niall. This article was published in The Far East, the Columban magazine in Australia and New Zealand.

My uncle, Columban missionary Fr Patrick (Pat) McCaffrey, died in Pakistan on 18 May 2010. His sudden and untimely death meant that no family members from home in Ireland were able to attend his funeral. My brother Niall and I therefore decided to make a pilgrimage to Pakistan over Christmas 2010 to follow in our Uncle Pat’s footsteps.

We arrived at Karachi airport in the early hours of 19 December 2011 and were met by Columban Fr Tomás King. He was to be our host, driver, guide and interpreter, along with Annette Menzes, a good friend of Father Pat’s. We then travelled to the parish of Matli in the Sindh Province where Father Pat had ministered from 1984 to 1994. It was here that he had initiated a housing scheme for parishioners from outlying areas to build their homes on church land in the town. We visited many of these homes that ranged from sturdy brick constructions to basic one-room mud huts.