Cunningham, Patrick J, 1924-1972, Jesuit priest

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Cunningham, Patrick J, 1924-1972, Jesuit priest

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Other form(s) of name

  • 靳寧漢神父
  • Pat Cunningham
  • Paddy Cunningham
  • PJ Cunningham

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Description area

Dates of existence

30 March 1924-15 June 1972

History

Born: 30 March 1924, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1942, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1957
Final vows: 02 February 1960
Died: 15 June 1972, Fujen Catholic University, Dalat, Vietnam (Kingsmead Hall, Singapore) - Hong Kong Vice-Province (Died in air crash)

Part of Kingsmead Hall community, Singapore at time of his death. Died in air crash

Transcribed : HIB to HK 03/12/1966
by 1952 at Hong Kong - Regency

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
His early education was at Belvedere College SJ, Dublin. he had a keen interest in things that moved : cars, ships, trains and planes, but above all he was interested in helping people.

His strength was his pastoral work, and particularly teaching catechistics, which he taught at the Swiss School, the Australian Army School and the International School.
He was a founder of the Road Safety Association in Hong Kong.
He also worked in Singapore where he focused on drug addiction.

he died in 1972 when the plane he was in blew up over South Vietnam.

Note from Paddy Finneran Entry
He came to Hong Kong as a young priest with Peter Dunne and 5 Scholastics - Liam Egan, Paddy Cunningham, Matt Brosnan, Tom O’Neill and Tony Farren. He spent two years at the Battery Path Language School learning Cantonese.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 47th Year No 2 1972

The tragic news of Fr Patrick Cunningham's death, together with 80 others, in the air-smash in Vietnam, reached us in the middle of June, first surmised, then confirmed. We hope to have further information later.
We offer sympathy to Fr Cunningham's brother, Frank, on the calamity.
Fr P. Cunningham's remains, after various delays, were conveyed to Dublin - Gardiner Street - 20th July. There was an Obsequial Mass concelebrated by Fr Provincial and twelve other participants on Friday 21st. R.I.P.

Irish Province News 47th Year No 4 1972

Obituary :

Fr Patrick Cunningham SJ (1924-1972)

A brief notice of the tragic death of Fr Cunningham in the middle of June and of his obsequies in Gardiner Street on July 20th was contained in the last issue of the Province News Editor.]
When we think of Fr Paddy Cunningham (PJ or Pat as his contemporaries knew him) we think of mechanical things and movement. We think of cars and aeroplanes, of launches and ships and of a man who was ever on the move. We think of a man ready at a moment's notice to address any audience on any topic what ever and in any part of the world. He would then return home and either delight or annoy his community with endless chatter about the people Pat had met and the things Pat had done. I once saw him rather obviously choose a place at recreation beside the late Fr Tommy Ryan and I heard Fr Ryan's opening remark : “Well, I suppose you're going to tell me about all your works and pomps!” Pat could be pompous at times especially when wearing one of those unnecessary uniforms he loved so well.
Never a scholar, he was a man, nonetheless, whose interests were limitless and he carried in his head an astonishing amount of factual information about all kinds of unlikely persons, places and things. He used to chuckle over a comment made by a superior who once told him that he would make an excellent railway porter with information about timetables, ticket prices and train stops at his finger-tips. But you could not be sure of the information at Pat's finger-tips. He never could say, “I don't know” or “I'll check that for you”. To any question he always made an immediate and definite reply and he would be right a surprising eighty per cent or so of the time. The trouble was you never knew which twenty per cent was not correct so you always had to verify Pat's statements.
On 7th September 1942 twenty three novices entered Emo, five of them from Belvedere and Patrick Joseph Cunningham was one of these. It was not long till he made his presence felt especially at Socius' Conferences where we looked forward to his shared reflections, observations and suggestions which were never dull and often sensational. Once he suggested that a novice should be appointed to collect the skin from on top of the hot milk - enough could be collected each morning, Pat assured us, to make a plastic egg-cup. That was Fr Brendan Brennan's first year as Socius and he never quite knew how to manage Brother Cunningham.
In Rathfarnham Pat was more at home ... not because it gave him an opportunity for study but because Dublin was the place where Pat was born and he knew Dublin street by street. Indeed if one believed him he knew everyone who lived in every street - at least everyone who mattered. He claimed connections at managerial level with many commercial firms and not only scholastics but fathers, too, were taken in by this. More than one man entered Dublin firms on Pat's recommendation hoping to get special terms by using his name only to discover that nobody in the firm knew a Patrick Cunningham. Tullabeg meant back to the country and Pat was essentially a city man and his three years there might have been trying ones for him were it not for the building of the swimming pool in which he was deeply involved. He also claimed a multitude of relations in the neighbourhood.
Then came his appointment to Hong Kong and his influence with people really blossomed. No one would rate him an expert at the Chinese language and yet he could somehow establish contact with Chinese people in almost any dialect. But he did not confine his apostolate to Chinese people. He had a universal love for mankind and a desire to help wherever help was needed. A characteristic he revealed in Emo was a generosity with his time and a readiness to go to the assistance of anybody and this characteristic he never lost. He was a man for others. He loved people and served them. Thus, as well as the boys in our schools, the groups he worked for or with in Hong Kong included Chinese hostesses from Cathay Pacific Airways, British Airforce personnel, Rotary Clubs, Road Safety Associations, to say nothing of the seamen of varied nationalities that he dealt with in his work for the Apostleship of the Sea.
The pattern in Singapore was the same as the following paragraphs from Father Liam Egan testify :
“In a little less than two years in Singapore Pat had won an astonishing number of friends and admirers. ... Pastoral work, and in particular, catechetical work proved to be his forte. To those of us who knew him well his success with children and especially with teenagers both boys and girls and of all nationalities was incredible.
He taught catechism in two convent schools, in the Swiss school, the Australian Army School, the International School and the children loved him. Not only did he teach them but he established an extraordinary rapport with them. He organised a weekly evening session in Kingsmead Hall for the “tough” teenagers of the American School and the International School. They attended in ever increasing numbers: they brought their friends : some of them brought their parents. They became enthusiastic about their religion, possibly for the first time in years”.
And then came the fatal air-disaster of 15th June and with it the end of life for Pat at the age of 48. He loved to be alive and he loved to be on the move and for one who was liable to turn up almost anywhere at almost any time it is hard to believe that he won't turn up again. An enquiry into the cause of the crash established that it was caused by a bomb placed on the plane in Bangkok and which exploded over Vietnam. The exceptionally large crowds that turned out for requiem Masses offered for him at Singapore and Hong Kong bear testimony to the love and esteem that so many had for him. He will be remembered by many for a long time. May he rest in peace.

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Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1830- (1830-)

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IE IJA

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hierarchical

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Irish Vice-Province of the Society of Jesus, 1830-

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Cunningham, Patrick J, 1924-1972, Jesuit priest

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Entered Province.

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Hong Kong Vice-Province, 1966- (1966-)

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IE IJA MSSN/HONG

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hierarchical

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Hong Kong Vice-Province, 1966-

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Cunningham, Patrick J, 1924-1972, Jesuit priest

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Transcribed.

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Irish Jesuit Mission to Hong Kong, 1926-1966 (3 December 1926-3 December 1966)

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IE IJA MSSN/HONG

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hierarchical

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Irish Jesuit Mission to Hong Kong, 1926-1966

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Cunningham, Patrick J, 1924-1972, Jesuit priest

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IE IJA J/108

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IE IJA

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