Fr. Ernest Golly, SVD
Born on the 21st December 1933 at Cisowa in upper Silesia
Died on the 7th May 2010 at St. Augustine
On the 13th of April Fr. Golly arrived in Frankfurt after very tiring journey. He had a cancer – and still celebrated Easter in his community at Yomba in Madang diocese. Afterwards he went for check up to several doctors. They all advised him to go as soon as possible to Europe for further check up and treatment under the care of the doctors there.
Father Golly knew the seriousness and weight of his sickness. He trusted in the prayers of the children in his parish, in everything he relied on the intercession of Frank Duff (1889-1980), Irish founder of the catholic movement Legio Mariae, whom his Legionnaires were calling, asking for help and health for him. On the 27th April Fr. Golly received the sacrament of the sick so he could endure his pain and his sickness. He was an example of hope and patience, grateful for the prayers of so many. He chose to offer his suffering for the people of PNG.
Fr. Golly came from very religious catholic family in Silesia. Son of Josef and Anna Golly, maiden name Przybyla, was growing up, together with 7 of his siblings, in religious atmosphere. After 6 years of initial education at the Primary School in Cisowa, at the beginning of September 1946 he went to the Minor Seminary run by the Divine Word Missionaries at Nysa in Poland. On the 8th of September 1950 he began his novitiate at Pieniezno, and studied philosophy and theology there. On the 8th of September 1958 he professed the perpetual vows and on the 1st of February was ordained priest. On the 25th of June that year he celebrated his first Mass in his home parish of Cisowa.
For some time afterwards he was a teacher at Minor Seminary at Nysa, and at the same time he was assistant parish priest at the SVD parish there. The following year he came to St. Augustin with the appointment for New Guinea. Here he was send for his mission, among others, in a ceremony presided by Fr. General Superiors Johannes Schutte. As preparation for his mission work he studied English at Liverpool in England. On the 25th August 1961 he went to Sydney from Genoa, Italy, on board of the ship “Oceania”.
On his arrival in PNG on 29th September 1961 he had a short introduction the language and the culture at Alexishafen. His first steps in pastoral work he made already three months later at Saidor. He stayed with Fr. Ottenheym (1915-1965). The beginnings were not easy in this area with 6 thousand inhabitants, 13 local languages and the cargo cult. From 1964 till 1966 he worked at Bundi. This station was known through the English School, which his confrere Fr. M. Morrison founded only few years earlier. Fr. Golly dedicated himself first of all to the education of catechists, so that with them he could take care of the 7 thousand inhabitants with 20 outstations. He wrote commentaries to the catechism. After his Nemi course in 1966 he was giving retreats for teachers and catechists at Kwanga station on Ramu river, later on he did the same throughout the whole diocese. From 1967 till 1972 he worked at Utu. He had to take care of 17 outstations there. His strong point was to educate new catechists. On the 1st of November his station was shaken by very strong earthquake. In 1972 he went again to Saidor and worked there till 1981. In new all purpose hall he taught catechists and gave retreats. The following two years he worked at Bogia (1981/83). Then from 1983 till 1991 he committed himself to the Legion of Mary, and he published a lot of materials to educate and support the legionaries. From 1991 till 1993 he was in charge of the Diocesan Office for the Youth. Since 1993 he was a parish priest at “Our Lady of Perpetual Help” parish at Yomba in Madang.
Fr. Golly was zelous religious missionary. He followed the example of the holy funder of his congregation Arnold Jansses and his companion and the first SVD missionary Josef Freinademetz. He strived in everything to get to know the will of God and to do it. Always and above all he was the hard working missionary, as his Provincial had described him. “He was not giving the devil any chances”.
Mission (being sent) expressed for him essential meaning of his life. He gave himself totally, with the body and soul, to the missionary command of Jesus. Nothing could stop him from fulfilling that command: the difficult highlands region, so often strange rituals and cults, customs and traditions that kept people away from freedom. He was convinced that the truth, which Christ brings, can make people free! Fr. Golly translated and published so many texts on liturgy, homiletics, life of saints. In his pastoral approach it was important for him to give people life-giving and fulfilling faith.
Divine Word Missionaries thank him for his faithful service in the Lord’s vineyard in PNG. They mourn him together with the young Church of the Archdiocese of Madang, which again lost another good shepherd. They thank also his relatives and benefactors, who kept encouraging him and helping him over the years. Together with them he was a missionary in PNG. May he rest in peace.