Father Frank O’Loughlin Will Receive Award At Chinsegut Gathering
Fifty seven years ago a 23 year old priest arrived from Ireland to the shores of South Florida. For all of those 57 years that priest, Frank O’Loughlin, has advocated unceasingly for the human rights of immigrants, in particular those immigrants suffering persecution and merciless violence and poverty in Central America.
Early on, in Miami, Fr. Frank worked with civil rights activist Cesar Chavez to organize farmworkers and secure better working conditions and wages. He then went on to start a congregation at Holy Cross church in Indiantown, a community primarily populated with Central American immigrant farmworkers, Cuban families and Haitian migrant workers.
As he shepherded the folks in Indiantown, he focused his efforts on education for the children of his flock. In 1980, with Sister Carol Putnam RSCJ, he co-founded Hope Rural School, which is still a center for education for Kindergarten through 8th grade migrant children.
In 1992, in consonance with his deep commitment to the marginalized immigrants, he founded The Guatemalan Mayan Center in Lake Worth Florida. The mission of the Center is “to foster a nurturing, stable and culturally diverse environment to empower those victimized by violence to seek justice and build community”. Started as a refuge for the Guatemalan community, over the years it has become an international resource for people from many different countries settling in Palm Beach County.
Father O’Loughlin continues to fight fearlessly and faithfully for the rights of the most powerless among us. The prophetic Spirit which gives voice and courage to speak “truth to power” burns brightly within him and helps shine a light in our darkness. By Father Frank’s life and works he has inspired and challenged us to live the message with which Jesus began his public ministry, the message that has guided Father Frank O’Loughlin’s life:
“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME
BECAUSE HE HAS ANOINTED ME TO BRING GOOD NEWS TO THE POOR
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO CAPTIVES AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO LET THE OPPRESSED GO FREE,
TO PROCLAIM THE YEAR OF THE LORD’S FAVOR.” Luke 4:18-19