Bryan and I first met in 1935 when we both enrolled in first grade at the “Model National School” (in Limerick City, Ireland). We were friends all through primary school, until we went on to high school. Bryan enrolled in “The Crescent”, staffed by Jesuits – and I went to the Irish Christian Brothers, on Sexton Street. We were separated all through high school years – and did not meet again until 1948 when we both entered the “Apostolic School” – a two-year program of Philosophy, prior to the four-year course of Theology, in preparation for ordination to priesthood.
You should know that Bryan, in his younger years, had a minor but noticeable speech defect. This was a source of painful embarrassment, especially during his high school years. Teenagers can be very cruel to each other – and I know that Bryan experienced a measure of teasing from some of his high school classmates. This could easily have affected him emotionally, but he never let it stifle his determination to succeed in life. While in the seminary Bryan would, one day every week, ride a bicycle from the seminary into Limerick City, a trip of five miles, to work with a speech therapist. This impediment was serious enough that it could have jeopardized his ordination to priesthood. But the therapy was, providentially, highly successful – and Bryan was a better man, and a holier priest, because of his courage and determination.
We think of “Monsignor” accomplishing so much in his service to the Church as a gifted leader and public servant, but we should know the price he paid and the obstacles he overcame to achieve that success. Monsignor Bryan Walsh by the grace of God, and his own determination, accomplished great things for our Cuban community in Miami – and for the Kingdom of God.