- 1 December 1942 - 30 September 1944 (Creation)
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Born: 08 November 1906, Carrickmines, County Dublin
Entered: 01 September 1924, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939
Final Vows: 31 May 1947
Died: 22 August 1986, Wah Yan College, Kowloon, Hong Kong - Hong Kongensis Province (HK)
Transcribed : HIB to HK 03/12/1966
Older Brother of Denis (DP) Kennedy - RIP 1988
Early education at Belvedere College SJ and Clongowes Wood College SJ
by 1932 at Valkenburg, Limburg, Netherlands (GER I) studying
by 1934 at Aberdeen, Hong Kong - Regency
Second World War Chaplain
◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father R. Kennedy, S.J.
Father Richard Kennedy, S.J., of Wah Yan College, Kowloon, died of cancer in St. Teresa’s Hospital on Friday, 22 August 1986, aged 79.
Father Kennedy was born in Ireland on 8 November 1906. He joined the Jesuit noviciate in 1924 and spent the years 1933-36 in Hong Kong as a scholastic. He returned to Ireland for theology and ordination. World War II delayed his return to Hong Kong, so he took up work as a British Army chaplain in 1941.
Within a few months he was a prisoner of war - in Singapore first, and later in Japan and Manchuria. In later life he spoke little of this period, but that little showed clearly that he retained throughout all difficulties a high spirit, veering at times towards reckless courage.
After the war he went to Canton for language study and pastoral work. After the Communist take-over his high spirit got him into trouble with the authorities. He spent a short-time in prison and was expelled form China. Thus he returned to Hong Kong.
He taught in Wah Yan College, Kowloon, until he reached the official age for retirement. After that he taught in Newman College until the last remnants of his strength had gone. When he could no longer face a classroom he stayed on as spiritual guide to the students.
About two years ago, doctors in Ireland diagnosed cancer and advised him to remain in his native country, but Hong Kong had become his home and he insisted on coming back to do his last work here and to die here.
Archbishop Dominic Tang, S.J., led the concelebrated Mass of the resurrection in the chapel of Wah Yan College, Kowloon, and officiated at the graveside at St. Michael’s Cemetery, Happy Valley, on Tuesday, 26 August.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 29 August 1986
◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
Note from Tommy Martin Entry
He first arrived as a Scholastic for regency in Hong Kong in 1933. He was accompanied by Frs Jack O’Meara and Thomas Ryan, and by two other Scholastics, John Foley and Dick Kennedy.
◆ Irish Province News
Irish Province News 16th Year No 2 1941
General News :
The Irish Province has to date sent 4 chaplains to England for home or foreign service for the duration of the war. They are Frs. Richard Kennedy, Michael Morrison, Conor Naughton and Cyril Perrott. The first three were doing their 3rd year's probation under Fr. Henry Keane at the Castle, Rathfarnham, while Fr. Perrott was Minister at Mungret College. They left Dublin on the afternoon of 26th May for Belfast en route for London. Fr. Richard Clarke reported a few days later seeing them off safely from Victoria. Both he and Fr. Guilly, Senior Chaplain to British Forces in N. Ireland, had been most helpful and kind in getting them under way.
Irish Province News 16th Year No 4 1941
Seven more chaplains to the forces in England were appointed in July : Frs Burden, Donnelly, J Hayes, Lennon and C Murphy, who left on 1st September to report in Northern Ireland, and Fr Guinane who left on 9th September.
Fr. M. Dowling owing to the serious accident he unfortunately met when travelling by bus from Limerick to Dublin in August will not be able to report for active duty for some weeks to come. He is, as reported by Fr. Lennon of the Scottish Command in Midlothian expected in that area.
Of the chaplains who left us on 26th May last, at least three have been back already on leave. Fr. Hayes reports from Redcar Yorkshire that he is completely at home and experiences no sense of strangeness. Fr. Murphy is working' with the Second Lancashire Fusiliers and reports having met Fr. Shields when passing through Salisbury - the latter is very satisfied and is doing well. Fr. Burden reports from Catterick Camp, Yorks, that he is living with Fr. Burrows, S.J., and has a Church of his own, “so I am a sort of PP”.
Fr. Lennon was impressed very much by the kindness already shown him on all hands at Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh and in his Parish. He has found the officers in the different camps very kind and pleased that he had come. This brigade has been without a R.C. Chaplain for many months and has never yet had any R.C. Chaplain for any decent length of time. I am a brigade-chaplain like Fr Kennedy and Fr. Naughton down south. He says Mass on weekdays in a local Church served by our Fathers from Dalkeith but only open on Sundays. This is the first time the Catholics have had Mass in week-days
Irish Province News 23rd Year No 1 1948
Fr. R. Kennedy supplied in the Church for some weeks before leaving for China on October 8th. Fr. Brian Kelly has been at work with us since September. He preached on Mission Sunday.
Irish Province News 61st Year No 4 1986
Fr Richard Kennedy (1906-1924-1986) (Macau-Hong Kong
The 8th November 1906: born in Co Dublin. 1917--21 Belvedere, 1921-24 Clongowes.
1st September 1924: entered SJ. 1924-26 Tullabeg, noviceship. 1926-30 Rathfarnham, juniorate (1926-27 home studies, 1927-30 at UCD: BA in English language and literature). 1930-33 philosophy: 1930-31 at Tullabeg, 1931-33 at Valkenburg, Netherlands.
1933-36 Hong Kong, regency: Regional seminary, studying Chinese and teaching mathematics; Wah Yan, Robinson road, teaching.
1936-40 Milltown Park, theology (31st July 1939: ordained a priest). 1940-41 Rathfarnham, tertianship.
1941-47 chaplain to British army and prisoner of war: 1941-42 Singapore, which in Feb. 1942 was captured by the Japanese. Taken as prisoner to Changi, for six months; 1942-44 a mining camp in Taiwan (Formosa); Fukuoka, Japan, for two months; spring to mid-September, 1945, in Manchuria; then released. End of 1945: to Ireland for recuperation. Feb. 1946-Mar, 1947: chaplain to British army of the Rhine; then demobilised. Six months furlough.
1947-48 Wah Yan, Hong Kong, teaching. 1948-53 Canton (under Communist government from 1949), teaching in university/Shing Sam/ Sacred Heart college. 11th August-25th September 1953: imprisoned, then expelled to Hong Kong, where he under went an operation. A year's rest and recuperation in Ireland.
1955-86 Wah Yan, Kowloon: teach ing: 1955-71 in WYKL (1955-64 directing boys' club), 1971-85 in Newman College (1985-86 spiritual counsellor there). 22nd August 1986: died.
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Documents relating to Fr Richard Kennedy SJ as a Japanese prisoner of war in Taiwan. Includes:
– cutting from The Times listing Fr Richard Kennedy SJ as a POW (1 December 1942, 1p.);
– postcard from Fr Richard Kennedy SJ in a POW camp in Taiwan to Fr Provincial (1943);
– letters from Fr Kennedy’s brother, Denis P. Kennedy SJ to Irish Fr Provincial, informing him of letters received by Fr Kennedy’s family (13 July, 30 September 1944, 2 items).
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The Irish Jesuit Archives are open only to bona fide researchers. Access by advance appointment. Further details: [email protected]
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Maddie Ball, July 2020