Fr. Liam SVDOctober 27, 2009
The Homes of St Teresa and Our Lady of Lujan in Oberá were founded by an Irish missionary priest, Fr Liam Hayes SVD, who continues to manage them as well as working as a priest and hospital chaplain in the Oberá area. Fr. Liam is a member of thr Divine Word International Missionary Congregation.
Originally from Cappamore, Co. Limerick, Fr Hayes studied in the Christian Brothers school in Doon, Co. Limerick. After working for a few years he went to University College Cork in 1972, where he completed his BA and Higher Diploma in Education.
He was elected President of UCC Student Union in 1976. During his term of office, he was instrumental in launching the Surgeon Noonan Memorial Project to encourage medical graduates to do voluntary work in developing countries.
After leaving college, he spent two years teaching in a Cork vocational school. He then joined the Divine Word Missionaries in 1979.
In 1986, Fr Hayes was sent by his superior in the Divine Word Missionary congregation to help in one of Oberá’s largest parishes, Christ the King. The priest’s pastoral work brought him face to face with disabled people abandoned by their families. “I began to have sleepless nights thinking about some of the things I saw,” he recalls. “Poor people who could not move their hands, unable to shield themselves from swarms of flies and mosquitoes tormenting their faces. People left by the roadside to be assaulted by exploitation, corruption, poverty and disease.”
In August 1990 Fr Hayes met with the then Bishop of Posadas, Monseñor Carmelo Juan Giaquinta, who visited Oberá as part of an intensive pastoral visit around the parishes of his diocese. As a result, he was asked to devote more time to this kind of pastoral work, which led to the creation of the Homes of Santa Teresa and Our Lady of Lujan.
Since September 1987, Fr Hayes has served as chaplain to the local hospital – which has just 120 beds serving a catchment area of approx. 75,000 people. From 1993 – 2005 he has been responsible for the Health Pastorate in the Diocese of Posadas.