As chaplain for the Catholic deaf communities, David Loving-Molloy provides New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) interpreted Masses monthly in the Palmerston North and Wellington dioceses.
NZSL is the first language for most of the deaf people David works with.
David says many find lip-reading in church difficult and stressful.
‘Many deaf with a Catholic background do not go to church for the simple reason that no NZSL interpreter is available in their parish,’ says David.
David was born hearing but suffered gradual but profound hearing loss after a childhood illness.
He learned NZSL with the Hawke’s Bay Deaf Community while he was at Mount St Mary’s Seminary Greenmeadows in the 1980s.
Bishop Peter Cullinane and Cardinal Tom Williams appointed David full-time chaplain to the deaf in 1993.
‘Working with the deaf is great,’ he says. ‘It provides an insight into a culture and language to which few hearing people have access.’
Although the development of technologies such as cochlear implant has reduced the rate of deafness among children, David believes there is still a place for NZSL at local church level.
As well as finding and training other NZSL interpreters, David provides access for deaf to Bible study and Catholic training courses.
Contact: Private Bag 11012, Manawatu Mail Centre, Palmerston North 4442, email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 021 120 4265.