The Iria Foundation, with its objectives of assisting to spread the Catholic faith, particularly in rural areas, has been assisting priests who have sought to further their skill base by taking to the air. A number of priests have been assisted by Iria Foundation to further their piloting skills. One priest recently attained his tail-wheel endorsement for his licence, another priest is pursuing a private pilots licence, before continuing on to instrument training. With distances between pastoral centres in Australia often enormous, flying allows a dwindling number of priests to continue to reach their faithful, even if they are far apart.
The Iria Foundation owns one plane, a small two seater light sport aircraft which has been put into continual service now for more than a year. It is an economical means to allow a priest to travel extensive distances, often at a lower fuel cost to that of driving, not to mention the substantial benefit that comes to a priest in not having to drive to destinations that often require 10-15 hours in the car. The Iria Foundation has thus far looked after the planes maintenance and hangarage, not insubstantial costs, but the faithful who benefit from this small help receive the sacraments just that more regularly, and many of the children benefit from regular catechesis, not to mention, for the young men, training in serving at the altar.
If you are in a position to help with this worthy effort, especially with the monthly hangarage for the plane (at present around $515 monthly) please give generously under the donation tab. You may like to make a monthly contribution which would help enormously to keeping the plane in the air.
Alternatively you might like to “sponsor a priest’s flying training” ensuring that our priests and chaplains are safe in the air, and fully equipped to meet the challenges that a large country provide.
In the United States there is a well established National Association of Priest Pilots. Iria Foundation is keen to see something similar started in Australia, and if this might interest you to help in some way with such a noble effort, please get in contact through the contact button.