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January 2, 2002 · 


Shay Cullen

On November 15th her friends and admirers and all our relatives packed St. Joseph’s Church, Glasthule, the parish where Mam seldom missed daily Mass. I grew up in Glasthule and was an altar boy since I was eight, from there I joined the Missionary Society of St. Columban. There were several Columban sisters present and seventeen priests concelebrated the Mass most of them my Columban brothers led by Fr. Brendan O’Sullivan, the Superior General. My cousin Father Patrick McEvoy was there. He had just arrived back from Lebanon where he served as chaplain to the Irish UN contingent. The parish priest Fr. Brian O’Sullivan and assistants Fr. Dennis Kennedy, Fr. Des O’Grady and Fr. Foley concelebrated and many others who had traveled a long way to be there.

To all I send heartfelt thanks. Special thanks to our superior General Father Brendan O’Sullivan and his council and the Columban regional director of Ireland Fr. Peter O’Neill who have led the support for this difficult PREDA apostolate defending children from abuse over the years.

The success of the work at PREDA for youth and children is due to all of you, your support and encouragement has kept us striving to open the eyes of world to the suffering of young people especially abused children who are helpless, vulnerable and the first victims of poverty and neglect in a world of plenty and selfishness.

We can only hope that our small contribution over the past 28 years has prevented abuse and reduced the exploitation and trading in young women and children for the sexual gratification of local and international clientele and raised public awareness of this terrible crime.

The abduction and sexual abuse of children is a growing menace in many countries. The wide availability of child pornography over the Internet is surely contributing to this terrible problem. We have been trying to combat this too, as well as the sex trade but with limited success I regret to say. But we will continue doing all we can.

Future plans and events -TV documentary

I plan to contribute to the raising of public awareness in Ireland in the coming year. I spent a lot of time on this work in Europe last year. The forthcoming RTE television documentary on the work of PREDA this February “True Lives” series will be a good beginning. This was magnificently directed by Annette Kinnie, of ANDEC communications and sensitively filmed and recorded by Nick O’Neill and Joe Dolan who came to the Philippines and joined me on my other campaign work.

They captured the plight of the children on the streets and joined an undercover operation during which we rescued two children and had the trafficker arrested. They filmed too those children rescued and recovering at the PREDA Children’s Home.


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