Deacon Bill and Molly Callaghan at their wedding in 1957.
Much has changed since our wedding reception picture was taken fifty-seven years ago. Our parents, Anna and Lawrence Mulligan and Mary and Thomas Callaghan, are now deceased. Our ten children have long since set up their own homes. Their thirty-five children and seven grandchildren are spread far and wide in marriages, careers, universities, community colleges, high and elementary schools and pre-kindergartens. Bill and I find ourselves back where we were on September 30, 1950, alone, but with our memories.
Often we think of the example that our parents passed on to us, and are thankful for how much that example helped us in raising our children. Often, during family gatherings, the children like to tell stories of the past. Do you remember when Gram used to let us play dress-up with her jewelry, or when she would slip us dimes or quarters when Mom and Dad weren't looking?
Then the boys would chime in: Do you remember when Grandpa used to whittle toys for us, and how he cut a branch and tied a string to it with a hook and sinker attached and we had to dig worms behind the barn before we went fishing in the creek?
In hearing our children voice these family traditions and memories with such love and affection, one question always faced us. How could we concretely remember our parents? How will the grandchildren remember them when they grow older and memories grow dim?
The answer came in Winnie Quinn's column, Planning your Giving, which was published in Catholic Missions In Canada magazine. She suggested an endowment as a lasting memorial to our deceased loved ones. The principal of the endowment would stay intact in perpetuity and only the income it earned would be used to support the missions. For several years we pondered the possibility, but the initial $5,000 seemed financially impossible at the time.
When we mentioned to our siblings and children that we were considering such an endowment, they wanted to be a part of it, too. Eventually, 15 family members contributed large and small amounts towards the fund to Catholic Missions In Canada. Over the period of a year, the fund reached $5,000 and the Memorial Endowment in honour of the deceased members of the Callaghan and Mulligan Families was established. It is open for further contributions from any of us at anytime.
We thank Catholic Missions In Canada for providing such a suitable memorial to our deceased loved ones. It is wonderful to think that, long after we are gone, we can assist missionaries as they minister to the people in our northern Canadian missions.
(Deacon Bill and Molly Callaghan served in the northern missions for many years. Molly Callaghan is a former member of the Board of Governors of Catholic Missions In Canada.)