Thursday, August 07, 2008
The Daily Recorder
PRIEST FINDS MISSING BOYS IN HIS HOUSE !!
By Our Religious Affairs Correspondent
This is an update on the story that broke a few days ago when, in a dramatic development in the biggest news story to come out of N. Ireland since Malachy Murphy claimed to have seen St. Peter himself when on his way home from Flannigans Bar in 1978, a small rural community discovered a hero in their midst.
When two young boys went missing in Ballymoney two weeks ago, a massive police hunt got under way led by Detective Inspector Frank Dumbledore.
After 5 days, hopes for their safe return were fading when DI Dumbledore gave his daily news conference for the growing numbers of press and television crews from around the world.
"We're clueless," he said, much to the amusement of the Daily Star reporter who had been asking around for a pencil sharpener. "We've searched all the usual places and there are no signs of the little bastar.....scallywags," he added.
"I cannot praise the locals enough," he said in response to a question from The Washington Post hack who had upset other journalists by flashing his expenses money around like a tourist. ("Whatyamean you don't take Punts here"?)
DI Dumbledore added "we have had help from literally several of the townspeople and Ballymoney has shown itself to be a caring community that, ah, cares, cares a lot actually".
But just a few hours later, there was an amazing breakthrough when Mrs Philomena Doherty, the boys aunt, went to the local church to light candles and pray for the safe return of her nephews.
As she told me in an exclusive interview later, over a pint of Guinness, in her front room, "I was walking up the church path and this took me close to the parochial house. I heard the sound of young voices coming from the basement that the fathers (bless their holy names) use when visiting boy scouts need to stay overnight. So I thought nothing of it".
She went on "I prayed for 15 minutes in the church and then left. Going back down the path I heard the voices again and was sure I recognised one of them. I went up and knocked on the door and when Fr. O'Leary finally answered, he looked a bit red faced and I'd go so far as to say he was quite out of breath".
"Ahhhh what about ye, Mrs Doherty," he panted. "And what can I do for you today ?"
"Well I was just in the church, your worshipfulness, and coming down the path here I heard voices and I'm sure one of them was wee Jimmy's and as you know, he and his brother haven't been seen since last Thursday."
"Oh sure isn't that amazing, Mrs. Doherty", says he, "as I was just thinking about him only two minutes ago."
Mrs Doherty poured herself another Guinness, clearly warming to her task and enjoying her moment of fame.
Wiping off her frothy moustache (from her natural one) she said "just then I looked past the Father and there was our wee Jimmy crawling up the basement steps. Oh sweet Lord look Father, it's wee Jimmy !!"
"Jesus, Mary and Joseph it's a miracle" he said. "Sure and I've found one of the boys here in my own house."
The rest of the story came out in a rush. Police called, basement searched, the other boy found in a cage in a corner.
DI Dumbledore concluded an emergency press conference where he told the astonished press that Fr. O'Leary was a hero and that it was obvious that the boys had sneaked into the parochial house and had been hiding there ever since.
"The two rascals are just fine, although they were shaking a bit," said Dumbledore. "So far they have said nothing about their wee adventure but were obviously shaking with excitement when posing for a photo with the man who rescued them, Fr. O'Leary. I now ask you to respect their privacy and leave the family alone so they can care for the boys and get them ready for being altar boys on Sunday."
It's been a week since the boys were found and today when Bishop Rafferty was asked why Fr. O'Leary was still not available for questions, this reporter was told that soon after this photo was published, he had been suddenly called to Rome and was not expected back in Ballymoney again.
Bishop Rafferty added "the Holy Father wanted to speak to him personally and must've been very pleased with his actions as he has been given his own parish, somewhere in Rwanda I believe."
With no charges being filed against the boys, police say the incident is now closed. DI Dumbledore did tell me off the record that he felt the boys were let off lightly considering the trouble they caused everyone and the mess they'd made of the basement.
"Jeez it looked like the wee hooligans had quite a party down there," he said with some disgust.
Did you witness this incident? Were you in the area? Do you have any Punts ? If you have any information or photos you would like to share, well don't.
In all seriousness, this is a photo of my brother and myself outside our house with some priest. My mum always felt it such an honour when a priest would visit our house and it never seemed to bother her that they'd always arrive minutes before a meal was placed on the table.
When I once mentioned this puzzling coincidence, my mum was quite upset with me for even thinking that the timing of the visits were anything OTHER than a coincidence.
"Why for a start how would they know we were about to sit down to lunch ?" she said with some confidence. "Come on now, boys, it's exactly 1pm and time to eat," she added.
I've (hopefully) made it impossible to identify the priest in this photo as I regard them a bit like the Mafia. Keep things general and never get personal.
They're all Italians really.