Robinson Road

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Robinson Road

BT Kowloon

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Robinson Road

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Robinson Road

7 Name results for Robinson Road

Birmingham, Alan, 1911-1991, Jesuit priest and chaplain

  • IE IJA J/642
  • Person
  • 02 January 1911-03 October 1991

Born: 02 January 1911, Ballinrobe, County Mayo
Entered: 01 September 1928, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 13 May 1942, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final vows: 08 December 1976
Died: 03 October 1991, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong - Macau-Hong Kong Province (MAC-HK)

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

by 1937 at Aberdeen, Hong Kong - Regency

Second World War Chaplain

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Alan Birmingham, S.J.
Former editor of “Sunday Examiner” dies in Hong Kong
R.I.P.

Father Alan Birmingham, a long-time editor of the “Sunday Examiner” died here after a brief illness on 3 October 1991.

Father Birmingham, a Jesuit, had lived in Hong Kong for almost 50 years, having first arrived here in November 1936.

Born in Co. Mayo, Ireland, in 1911, he joined the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1928 after secondary school and went on to take an honours degree in mathematics in the National University of Ireland.

After his arrival in Hong Kong in 1936 he studied Cantonese and then taught for a year in Wah Yan College, then in Robinson Road, before returning to Ireland a few months before the outbreak of the Second World War to complete his Jesuit training.

Ordained a priest in Dublin on 13 May 1942, he became a Catholic chaplain, with the rank of Captain, in the wartime British Army, thus delaying his return to Hong Kong.

Having served in England and Northern Ireland, he was assigned to land with the Allied forces sea and air assault on the north coast of France on “D-Day”, 6 June 1944.

He afterwards said that his main task on those fateful first days ashore was burying the dead on the beaches where they had landed.

He stayed with his soldiers in France, Belgium and finally Germany until mid-August 1945.

He was then re-assigned to India from where he was “demobbed” (returned to civilian life) in October 1946.

After returning to Hong Kong in February 1948, he was sent for some months to Canton (Guangzhou) where a Jesuit colleague, Father John Turner, was lecturing at Chung Shan University.

That summer he moved back to Hong Kong, becoming a professor of Dogmatic Theology and later of Sacred Scripture at the then Regional Seminary in Aberdeen where Chinese priests from many dioceses in South China received their professional training. He held these posts for nine years.

During those years he also lectured briefly on philosophy and English literature at the University of Hong Kong.

In 1957, he was appointed editor of the “Sunday Examiner.” He was by far the longest-serving editor of the paper, remaining in the position for 33 years until his 80th birthday on 2 January this year.

On the death of Father Fergus Cronin SJ, Father Alan took over as rector of the busy Catholic Centre Chapel.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 9 November 1990

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
Having graduated from UCD with an Honours degree in Mathematics he was sent to Hong Kong in 1936.
He studied Cantonese in Hong Kong and then did some years of teaching in Wah Yan Hong Kong.

After Ordination in 1942 he was appointed Catholic Chaplain with the rank of Captain in the wartime British Army. He was assigned to land with the Allied force on “D-Day”, June 6th 1944. He remained with his soldiers in France, Belgium and finally Germany until mid August 1945. He was then reassigned to India until October 1946, when he returned to civilian life.

He returned to Hong Kong in February 1948and took up a post as Professor of Dogmatic Theology, and later Scripture at the Regional Seminary in Aberdeen. He also lectured in Philosophy and English Literature at the University of Hong Kong.

He was the Editor of the “Sunday Examiner” for almost 33 years (1957-1991). For more than twenty years he edited the English writings of László Ladányi in the “China News Analysis”. He also celebrated Mass regularly at St Joseph’s Church on Garden Road for over thirty years.

Cronin, Fergus, 1909-1990, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/651
  • Person
  • 29 March 1909-08 December 1990

Born: 29 March 1909, Roscommon Town, County Roscommon
Entered: 01 September 1926, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1940, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 08 December 1944
Died: 08 December 1990, Canossa Hospital, Old Peak Road, Hong Kong - Macau-Hong Kong Province (MAC-HK)

Part of the Wah Yan College, Hong Kong community at the time of death

Transcribed : HIB to HK 03/12/1966

Early Education at O’Connell’s Schools, Dublin
Tertianship at Rathfarnham

WW2 Chaplain 1943-1947

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966
Mission Superior of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Hong Kong: 10 August 1965-03 December 1966
1st Vice-Provincial of the Irish Jesuit Mission to Hong Kong: 03 December 1966-1972

by 1935 at Aberdeen, Hong Kong - Regency
by 1936 at Wah Yan, Hong Kong - Regency
Hong Kong Mission Superior 10/08/1965
VICE PROVINCIAL 03/12/1966

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Death of Father Fergus Cronin, S.J.
R.I.P.

Father Fergus Cronin, SJ., of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, priest in charge of the Catholic Centre Chapel, died at Canossa Hospital on Saturday, 8 December 1990, aged 81.

In the course of his long life here he won distinction both as a priest and as a voluntary servant of the public. Yet he will be remembered most vividly for his almost unrivalled power of making personal friends and giving wise and sympathetic personal advice.

Father Cronin was born in Co. Roscommon, Ireland, in 1909, the youngest of three children of an early-widowed mother. His only sister became a Dominican nun. His elder brother became a Vincentian priest. He himself joined the Jesuits in 1926.

He first came to Hong Kong as a Jesuit scholastic in 1934, and spent three years studying Cantonese and teaching in Wah Yan College, then housed in Robinson Road. He returned to Ireland in 1937 to complete his Jesuit training and was ordained priest in 1940.

In 1942 he became a chaplain in the British army, serving in the U.K., the Faeroes and Iran and Iraq. In 1944, he had the rather gruesome task of organising replacements for Catholic chaplains who were wounded or killed in the allied assault on Europe.

He was demobilised in 1946 and, apart from one year in India, spent the rest of his years serving the Church and the people of Hong Kong.

The posts he held testified to his gifts as an administrator and a leader - Warden of Ricci Hall, University of Hong Kong; Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in Macao, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia; Rector, first of the Jesuit community of Wah Yan College, Hong Kong, and later of the Ricci Hall Community; Director of the Hong Kong Catholic Centre; Bishop’s Delegate for Charismatic - the list is incomplete. In 1964 the Jesuit Superior General sent him to India for a year to make a survey of the intellectual resources of the numerous Indian Jesuit Provinces. The gifts that drew these offices to him were apparently family characteristics his elder brother revived the C.B.E. for his work as head of the Teacher’s Training College in Strawberry Hill, London, his sister became Prioress in one of the chief girls' schools in Dublin.

For many years he was lecturer on Logic in the University of Hong Kong. For decades he acted as a Justice of the Peace and was a member of the Hong Kong Housing Society. He took these tasks very seriously and was awarded the O.B.E. in recognition of his services.

All this may seem to add up to a very full life. Yet to those who valued him most, lists of posts held and of work done seem almost irrelevant. The Father Cronin they mourn was the adviser who guided them and the friend who sustained.

He spent his life forming and keeping friendships - men whom he taught as boys in the 1930s, men and women to whom he lectured in the 1950s, former students of Ricci Hall, hosts of those with whom his busy life brought him into contact, have cherished his affection through decades and are permanently grateful for his wise counsel.

His advice was always personal and was often unexpected. It could be bracing, astringent or gentle as the occasion offered. Always it was based on a sympathetic and intelligent assessment of the person he was advising.

Since the vast majority of the people of Hong Kong are Chinese, the vast majority of his friends were Chinese, but there were no national limits to his friendship. Recent years had brought many Filipinas within its scope. Other Asians, Europeans, Americans and Australians in great numbers will be saddened by the news of his passing. Only lack of opportunity robbed him of African friends.

These friendships were independent of social and economic status. He will be mourned equally by Sir Philip and Lady Haddon Cave, the Frequenters of the Catholic Centre Chapel, the members of the Catholic Women’s League, the members of the Little Flower Club, and Pak Ching and A Chau, two former number on servants of Ricci Hall. He valued people, not for what they possessed or what they had achieved, but for what they were - as he might have said, “because of the love that I bore them.”

We shall not see his like again.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 14 December 1990

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013.

Note from Alan Birmingham Entry
On the death of Father Fergus Cronin SJ, Father Alan took over as rector of the busy Catholic Centre Chapel.

Note from Thomas Fitzgerald Entry
A Solemn Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul was celebrated in the chapel of Wah Yan College Hong Kong, on Monday, 17 July, by Father F. Cronin, S.J., Regional Superior.

Note from Jimmy Hurley Entry
Martin Lee Chu-ming, former legal advisor to The Justice and Peace Commission :
Lee said that he could find many similarities between Father Hurley’s life and his own. They were both inspired by Father Fergus Cronin in the fight for people’s rights. Lee recalled how Father Hurley sought clearance before attending a press conference to speak for the students and Father Cronin, the then-Jesuit superior in Hong Kong, told him: “Go James, attend! This is where you must be.” Father Hurley said he could not forget such a clear instruction and was grateful for the support. Lee recalled that when he started in politics, he also visited Father Cronin, who was then seriously ill, and asked what he could do for the Church. Father Cronin told him to follow his conscience and do what he thought he should do.

Note from Terry Sheridan Entry
The chief celebrant, Father Fergus Cronin, Provincial Superior of the Hong Kong Jesuits and one of Father Sheridan’s oldest friends in Hong Kong, paid the following tribute. I suppose all of us here are people who knew Father Terence Sheridan so it is not necessary for me to say who he was nor to mention many of the things he did....

Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
1st Vice-Provincial of Hong Kong (1967-1972)

His older brother was a Vincentian Priset and was awarded a CBE for his work at the Teachers Training ollege at Strawberry Hill London. His sister was a Dominican sister who became Prioress at one of the chief Dublin Girls School.

1928-1931 He studied Histroy at UCD graduating BA (Hons)
1931-1934 He was sent for Philsophy to Tullabeg
1934-1935 He was sent teaching to Hong Kong and the Regional Seminary at Aberdeen for Regency
1935-1937 He moved to Wah Yan Hong Kong
1937-1940 He was back in Ireland for Theology at Milltown Park
1941-1942 He was at Rathfarnham making Tertianship
During 1962-1964 he toured the Asian Provinces to assess what kind of Provincial cooperation might be possible in the intellectual level.
1963-1965 He was Superior at St Joseph’s, Wise Mansion
1972-1974 After finishing as Vice-Provincial he was in charge of St Joseph’s Church and the Catholic Centre for the Diocese of Hong Kong
1980-1986 He was Superior of Ricci Hall
1986-1990 He was Director of the Catholic Centre.

He was in Hong Kong for over 40 years. He was a gifted administrator and leader as Vice provincial in Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia and Singapore.He pursued the expansion of the Province and was very keen for inter Provincial cooperation in east Asia. He was once the Bishop’s Delegate for Charismatics and also a lecturer in Logic at HKU (1946-1962). He was appointed by the Hong Kong Governor as a member of the Board of Education, a member of the Education Appeals Board, the Council for Social Services and the University of Hong Kong Council.
He was also active in the Catholic Women’s League, Catholic Marriage Council and American Sailors Catholic Service. He served as Rector at the Catholic Centre, the English Catholic “public relations” and a member of the HK Housing Society.
He was awarded a “Justice of the Peace” in Hong Kong as well as an OBE in recognition of his services.

◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947

Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong Kong

Foley, John J, 1907-1991, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/663
  • Person
  • 08 December 1907-14 December 1991

Born: 08 December 1907, Dublin/Tralee, County Kerry
Entered: 21 September 1925, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 31 July 1939, Milltown Park, Dublin
Professed: 02 February 1942
Died: 14 December 1991, Wah Yan College, Kowloon, Hong Kong - Macau-Hong Kong Province (MAC-HK)

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966

Early education at Belvedere College SJ, Dublin; Tertianship at Rathfarnham

by 1934 at Hong Kong - Regency

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father John Foley S.J.
1907-1991
R.I.P.

Father John Foley SJ, died at Wah Yan College, Kowloon, on 14 December 1991. He was 84 years of age.

Cardinal John B. Wu presided over the funeral Mass, held in St. Ignatius Chapel, Kowloon, on 20 December and the burial was at Happy Valley Cemetery.

Father Foley was born in Tralee, Ireland, on 8 December 1907. He entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1925. He took a B.A. degree at the National University of Ireland and then went through the usual course of studies in philosophy and theology in Dublin.

In 1933, while still a scholastic, he came to Hong Kong. He began the study of Cantonese and taught English and Latin at the then Regional Seminary in Aberdeen.

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1939 and for the rest of the Second World War did teaching and administrative work in Ireland.

In 1946 he returned to Hong Kong and returned to the Regional Seminary where took charge of day-to-day administration.

Two years later he moved to Wah Yan College, Kowloon for 11 years as minister to the community and spiritual father to the students.

In 1959 he was back in the seminary as administrator and teacher of English and History of the Missions. When the Regional Seminary was handed over to the diocese, Father Foley was the Acting Rector.

He then returned to Wah Yan College, Kowloon, in 1964 and spent the rest of his life in that community. Until his retirement he was a teacher and spiritual father to the students.

He was the spiritual adviser to the Christian Life Community in the school and later was director of the CLC for the whole of Hong Kong.

On his retirement Father from the school, he gave much of his time as hospital chaplain. At one time he was regularly visiting three hospitals: Maryknoll Hospital, Kowloon Kwong Wah Hospital and the British Military Hospital. His work at the Maryknoll Hospital where he went regularly for many years is remembered with great appreciation.

But he was also remembered for his work with refugees at the North point Camp after the Second World War. Forty years later they still came faithfully to visit him. They celebrated his birthday for the last time with him on 8 December, just six days before he died.

Father Foley’s favorite recreational activity was gardening and the grounds of Wah Yan Kowloon are a lasting remembrance to his great love for trees and flowers.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 16 August 1991

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He entered the Society in 1925.
After First Vows he was sent to University College Dublin, graduating BA. On 1933 he was sent for Regency to Hong Kong, where he studied Cantonese and taught at the Regional Seminary in Aberdeen. He then went through the usual course of Philosophy and Theology studies at Milltown Park Dublin, being Ordained in 1939.
After Ordination, because of the war he did teaching and administrative work in Ireland.

1946-1948 He returned to Hong Kong and the Regional Seminary as the Administrator.
1948-1959 He went to Wah Yan College Kowloon as Minister and Spiritual Father in the College.
1959 He returned to Aberdeen doing teaching English and the History of the Mission and administration.

When the Regional Seminary was handed over to the Diocese he was the Acting Rector. So, in 1964 he returned to Wah Yan Kowloon and spent the rest of his life in that community. He was the spiritual advisor for the CLC in the school and later became the Director of CLC for the whole of Hong Kong.

When he retired from school he enjoyed working as a hospital Chaplain. At one time he was regularly visiting Maryknoll Hospital, Kwong Wah Hospital and the British Military Hospital. His work at Martyknoll was remembered with great appreciation. He was also remembered for his work with refugees at North Point Camp after WWII. Forty years later they still came faithfully to visit him. They celebrated his birthday with him for the last time in 1991 6 days before he died.

His favourite recreation was gardening and the grounds of Wah Yan College Kowloon are a lasting remembrance to his great love for trees and flowers.

Note from Herbert Dargan Entry
He freed Fr John Collins for fulltime social work, set up “Concilium” with Frs Ted Collins, John Foley and Walter Hogan. he also set up CMAC in 1963. He sent Fr John F Jones for special training in Marriage Life. He also sent Fr John Russell to Rome for training in Canon Law. he was involved with rehabilitation of discharged prisoners and he visited prisons.

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 22nd Year No 1 1947
Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong Kong

Mateos, Fernando, 1920-2015, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/1680
  • Person
  • 25 July 1920-11 April 2015

Born: 25 July 1920, Cilleros, Extremadura, Spain
Entered: 02 September 1938,
Ordained: 11 March 1953
Final vows: 02 February 1956
Died: 11 April 2015, Taipei, Taiwan - Sinensis Province (CHN)

by 1966 came to Wise Mansion, Hong Kong (HIB) working 1965-1967

McCarthy, Jeremias, 1894-1968, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/728
  • Person
  • 30 April 1894-27 July 1968

Born: 30 April 1894, Stourport, Worcestershire, England
Entered: 07 September 1910, Roehampton, London - Angliae Province (ANG)
Ordained: 31 July 1926, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1930
Died: 27 July 1968, St Joseph’s, Robinson Road, Hong Kong - Angliae Province (ANG)

by 1926 came to Milltown (HIB) studying
by 1940 came to Hong Kong (HIB) working 1940-1967

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father McCARTHY Jeremias
R.I.P.

At noon every Saturday for the past eleven years the Editor of this paper lifted the phone and spoke for a few minutes to a voice coming from a flat in Robinson Road. On the following Monday morning with unfailing regularity a typewritten page was delivered to the Sunday Examiner office; the weekly editorial had arrived.

To the deep regret of the staff of the Sunday Examiner and of its readers this time-honoured procedure will never be repeated: for Father Jeremiah McCarthy, S.J. our editorial writer died at 2:45pm last Saturday afternoon at the age of seventy-four.

Father McCarthy was a man of many talents; a distinguished theologian, he began his missionary work in Hong Kong twenty-nine years ago as Professor of Dogmatic Theology in the Regional Seminary for South China at Aberdeen; he held a Master’s Degree in Chemistry form Oxford University and as a war-time refugee in Macao he turned his knowledge to good use by devising substitute fuels to keep the local power supply in operation.

When the war was over Father McCarthy returned to his post at the Seminary and began his connection with the Agricultural and Fisheries Department with whom he developed a method of drying and preserving fish and experimented in the increased use of natural and artificial fertilisers.

After some years in Cheung Chau Island as Superior of the Jesuit Language School he returned to Hong Kong, joined the staff of the China News Analysis and began the long association with the editorial page of this paper which despite declining health continued up to the week of his death.

Father McCarthy wrote over five hundred editorials for this paper; and as we look through the files at the variety of subjects covered we can only marvel at the range of intelligent interest of which this one man’s mind was capable. Moral, liturgical, social, political, international and local problems were subjected in turn to his keen analysis and the conclusions recorded in the elegant, economical prose of which he was a master. Freshness of approach, clarity of though and expression, and a deeply-felt sympathy for the poor, the suffering and the oppressed - these are the marks of the writer, as well as of the man and the priest, whose comments on the passing scene stamped this page with a character of its own.

The staff of the Sunday Examiner, and of the Kung Kao Po where Father McCarthy’s editorials appeared in translation, has lost a most valued and faithful collaborator and friend.

May God reward his earthly labours with the blessing of eternal refreshment, light and peace.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 2 August 1968

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He arrived in Hong Kong from the English Province in 1939 and went to teach Dogmatiuc Theology at the Regional Seminary in Aberdeen.

During WWII, as a refugee in Macau, his Masters Degree i Chemistry enabled him to devise substitute fuels to maintain the local power and water supplies going.
After the War he returned to Aberdeen and began an association with the Agriculture and Fisheries Department, developing methods of drying and preserving fish.
Later he joined “China News Analysis”, enhancing its reputation. During these years he alo wrote weekly editorials for the “Sunday Examiner”, over 500 of them, on a wide range of topics. His comments on local affairs especially were often quoted at length in the Hong Kong daily press.

◆ Jesuits in Ireland

Irish Province News 22nd Year No 1 1947
Departures for Mission Fields in 1946 :
4th January : Frs. P. J. O'Brien and Walsh, to North Rhodesia
25th January: Frs. C. Egan, Foley, Garland, Howatson, Morahan, Sheridan, Turner, to Hong Kong
25th July: Fr. Dermot Donnelly, to Calcutta Mission
5th August: Frs, J. Collins, T. FitzGerald, Gallagher, D. Lawler, Moran, J. O'Mara, Pelly, Toner, to Hong Kong Mid-August (from Cairo, where he was demobilised from the Army): Fr. Cronin, to Hong Kong
6th November: Frs. Harris, Jer. McCarthy, H. O'Brien, to Hong Kong

◆ Irish Province News 23rd Year No 4 1948

Fr. Jeremiah McCarthy of the Hong Kong Mission writes from the U.S.A, where he is examining possibilities of setting up an Institute of Industrial Chemistry in Hong Kong :
New York, 23rd September :
“I have spent some time at Buffalo and Boston and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Professors there were most kind, and I learnt a good deal. I expect to be here for a month or six weeks, visiting factories and Colleges in New York. I met Fr. Ingram at Boston. He was doing some work at Harvard. I have heard from several sources that he had a great reputation at Johns Hopkins. I went yesterday to the Reception for Mr. Costello at Fordham and the conferring of an Honorary Degree. Cardinal Spellman was there. In his speech Mr. Costello avoided politics, except to say that the Government would stop emigration altogether, save that they would still send priests and nuns wherever they might be required. Most of the speech was taken up with a very graceful tribute to the Society and its work. He referred to the debt of Ireland to the Society in times of persecution, and again in modern times, and hoped to see an extension of our work in schools and Colleges in Ireland. The address was broadcast”.

Irish Province News 24th Year No 1 1949
Fr. Jeremiah McCarthy arrived at Cobh from New York on 7th December and is spending some time in the Province, before resuming in England, his study of technological institutes, prior to his return to Hong Kong.

Irish Province News 43rd Year No 4 1968
Obituary :
Fr Jeremias McCarthy SJ (1893-1968)
Fr. Jeremias McCarthy, a member of the English Province who to the joy and lasting advantage of all Jesuits working in Hong Kong was ascribed to the Irish Province in 1939 for work in Hong Kong, died in Hong Kong on 27th July, aged 74.
He was born on 3rd April 1893 at Stourford, Worcestershire, where his father, a civil servant, was then stationed. Some of his early years were spent in Co. Cork, Ireland, but he returned to England and was educated at St. Francis Xavier College, Liverpool. He entered the English Province noviciate in 1910. (Two of sisters later became Columban Sisters.) After philosophy in Stonyhurst, he taught for four fondly remembered years in Beaumont. He also spent three years at Oxford, taking an M.A. degree in Chemistry and thus equipping himself for unforeseeable work, valuable but bizarre. After two years of theology in St. Bueno's, he transferred to Milltown Park, Dublin, where he was ordained on 31st July 1926. After his tertianship he taught in various schools in the English Province for eleven years and was solemnly professed in 1930. In 1939 he applied to the General for work in a mission country and Fr. Ledochowski ascribed him to the still small Hong Kong mission in April of that year. He was warmly welcomed in Hong Kong, where several of the little band of Jesuits had known him in his scholasticate days. His unmistakable intellectual distinction and originality made him a very valuable addition to the mission; but he looked so frail that many must have wondered how long he could stand up to the strain imposed by the Hong Kong summers. He was thin, looked older than his years and was bent forward by a spinal affliction. Time was to show that this apparent physical frailty was largely an illusion. He may have suffered but he made no show of it. For almost three decades he was to labour at an astonishing variety of tasks, defying not only the Hong Kong summer, but the hardships of the Japanese capture and occupation of the colony and, in his last years, a complication of organic ills. Three days before his death he was still vigorously doing work that would have appalled many a younger man. For his first three years in Hong Kong he taught dogmatic theology in the Regional Seminary for South China. In 1942 he went to Macao, where the Hong Kong Jesuits were opening a school for Portuguese boys whose families had fled from occupied Hong Kong. This school won a special place in Fr. McCarthy's affection : the boys were, and have always remained, grateful for the help given them in a time of great hardship. The school did not occupy all his energies. Macao, cut off from the rest of the world, was short of nearly everything, so Fr. McCarthy, the best qualified and most ingenious chemist in the territory, quickly set about providing ersatz substitutes for the ungettable imports - everything from petrol to cosmetics. As a mark of appreciation, the Governor of Macao decreed that vehicles using the evil-smelling McCarthy substitute for petrol should not pass within nose-shot of the Jesuit school. In later years new arrivals in Hong Kong would be shown a lump of the McCarthy soap substitute, hard and gritty but beyond price in days when no other soap was to be had. Morale had to be kept up in Macao, so Fr. McCarthy and the other Jesuits joined the more vigorous citizens in organising debates and lectures and helping to provide through the local press a substitute for the intellectual sustenance normally fetched from abroad. Macao in those years of isolation was a little world on its own where every local crisis and dispute was avidly discussed by the whole population. In post-war years Fr. McCarthy had an inexhaustible fund of stories of the strange doings of those days including the great debate on the use of Chinese or Western style in the rebuilding of a church lavatory, and his own five-minute suspension for publishing an article expounding the views on evolution later contained in Humani Generis - as he was leaving the episcopal chamber the bishop said “I lift the suspension”. After the war he returned for a year to his work in the seminary, after which he went to Europe for a much needed rest. He was next asked to explore the possibility of setting up an institute of industrial chemistry in Hong Kong. This scheme proved abortive, but his next venture was fruitful. At the request of the government of Hong Kong he toured Europe and America investigating methods for making compost from what is politely described as night soil. It is scarcely necessary to say that the more ribald Jesuits of the many countries he visited were less mealy-mouthed in describing this novel form of apostolate. Fr. McCarthy's rather donnish appearance and fastidious diction added to the joke.
Having completed his work on nightsoil, he was asked by the government to act as technical adviser on fish-drying part of a large-scale reorganisation of fisheries, which was one of the most valuable works undertaken by the government in its post-war effort to rebuild and enrich the life of the colony. This work brought him into close contact with probably the ablest young government servant in Hong Kong, Mr. Jack Cater, who became one of Fr. McCarthy's closest friends, visited him frequently, sought his advice on such matters as the organisation of co-operatives, and was to rank almost as chief mourner at Fr, McCarthy's funeral.
About this time Fr. McCarthy was appointed rector of the language school. Surprisingly enough this appointment did not prove altogether happy. It was known that he had been an independent minded scholastic and, though in his late fifties (and looking older), he was on terms of unforced equality with most of the younger priests in the mission; yet he found himself unable to make easy contact with those in their twenties. There was relief on both sides when his rectorship was terminated after a couple of years. On their return to Hong Kong after ordination, those who had failed to understand him in their scholastic years came to cherish his rewarding friendship.
From his earliest days in Hong Kong, he had been known as a writer of concise, lucid and pointed English. Bishop Bianchi of Hong Kong was always eager to make use of this gift, frequently asking him to draft pastorals, messages to his diocese and other important documents. The bishop always showed great trust in Fr. McCarthy's judgment knowing that this faithful scribe would nearly always convey his ideas exactly and in a form palatable to and easily assimilated by the recipients. The bishop also had the happy certainty that Fr. McCarthy would not repine if on occasion his drafts were not used.
Another seeker of his pen was Fr. (now Mgr.) C. H. Vath, then editor of the Sunday Examiner, the Hong Kong diocesan weekly. At Fr. Vath's request, Fr. McCarthy wrote a long series of articles on Christian doctrine, which were studied eagerly by teachers of religious knowledge. Fr. Vath also invited Fr. McCarthy to become the regular leader writer for the Sunday Examiner. This task out lasted Fr. Vath's editorship. For over a dozen years-right up to the last week of his life-Fr. McCarthy wrote a weekly editorial, often pungent, always carefully pondered and lucidly expressed. The secular papers frequently reproduced and commented on leaders dealing with economic or sociological topics, and echoes of these leaders could often be discerned in later discussions or in government action. At least one was quoted in the House of Commons, These leaders gave the paper an influence out of all proportion to its circulation. The McCarthy touch will be sadly missed. It will probably be impossible to find anyone able to combine the patience, readiness, skill and erudition that went into his leaders week after week, year after year.
For the last eleven years of his life he was mainly engaged in work for the China News Analysis, (the authoritative and highly expensive) weekly analysis of the Chinese Communist press and radio published by Fr. L. Ladany, a Hungarian member of the Hong Kong Vice-Province. Fr. McCarthy acted as procurator, relieved the editor of the difficulties inseparable from writing in a foreign tongue, and wrote articles based on the editor's research. This was not glamorous work - the days of the nightsoil apostolate were over but it was essential work and was done with unfailing exactness and punctuality.
The large number of religious at his funeral was a tribute to spiritual help given by Fr. McCarthy. In community life he was not ostentatiously pious, but he was exact in religious observance, as in all other things, and he was notably kind. His admirable book Heaven and his domestic exhortations were the most striking manifestations of spirituality that his fundamental reserve allowed him to make. These exhortations were revealing, deeply interesting, full, original without striving for originality and provocative of further thought. He was frequently urged to publish them, a suggestion that he seldom or never accepted. Enthusiasm for one's domestic exhortations is a tribute rarely paid in the Society. It was paid to Fr. McCarthy.
Frail as he looked, he was very seldom ill. Early this year, how ever, he had to go to hospital and was found to be suffering from grave heart trouble and certain other ills. He resumed work as soon as possible. On Thursday, 25th July, having completed a day's work, he fell and broke a thigh while saying his Rosary in his room, and it was some hours before he was able to call the attention of another member of the small community in which he lived. He was suffering grievously and an immediate operation had to be carried out, despite the precarious state of his heart. He never recovered consciousness and he died on Saturday, 27th July.
The funeral Mass was concelebrated by his Provincial, Fr. F. Cronin, his Superior, Fr. Ladany, and one of his closest friends.

O'Meara, John, 1898-1991, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/582
  • Person
  • 23 February 1898-14 November 1991

Born: 23 February 1898, Mallow, County Cork
Entered: 31 August 1915, St Stanislaus College, Tullabeg, County Offaly
Ordained: 24 August 1930
Professed: 08 December 1976
Died: 14 November 1991, St Joseph’s Home, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Part of the Wah Yan College, Kowloon, Hong Kong community at the time of death.

Eldest brother of Michael - RIP 1998; Tommy - RIP 1993

Early education at Clongowes Wood College SJ

Transcribed HIB to HK: 03 December 1966

by 1928 at Leuven, Belgium (BELG) studying
by 1932 at St Beuno’s, Wales (ANG) making Tertianship
by 1934 at Catholic Mission, Ngau-Pei-Lan, Shiuhing (Zhaoqing), Guandong, China (LUS) - language
by 1935 at Aberdeen, Hong Kong - working
by 1943 at Campion Hall, Oxford, England (ANG) studying

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father John O’Meara S.J.
R.I.P.

Father John O’Meara SJ, Hong Kong’s oldest priest, who did missionary work in Hong Kong and southern China for almost 60 years, died on 14 November 1991 after a brief illness.

Father O'Meara was born in Mallow, Ireland, on 23 February 1898, into a large family. He was educated by the Irish Christian Brothers and later by the Jesuits.

He join the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1915 and followed the usual course of studies of the time, which, in his case, included an honours degree in history at the National University of Ireland.

He did his philosophical studies in Dublin and went to Louvain in Belgium for theology. He was ordained priest in 1930.

Father O’Meara arrived in Hong Kong for the first time in September 1933 with four companions. Within three days of landing here he was told to proceed to Zhaoqing (Shiu Hing), the Portuguese Jesuit mission on the West River, to study Chinese.

In the following year he moved to the river island mission station of Tianshuisha (Tin Shui Sha), where he gained an intimate knowledge of working in a rural mission.

Later in 1934 he was recalled to Hong Kong and began an important period of his life at the then South China Regional Seminary in Aberdeen. He was first named Vice-Rector, a post he held until 1937 when he was appointed Rector.

In 1935 the seminarians from Fujian Province left Aberdeen when a new regional seminary was opened by the bishops of that region. Their loss was more than compensated for by a large influx of students from Guangdong and Guangxi, as the minor seminaries of those two provinces began to show the results of 10 years patient labour.

With the Japanese invasion of South China, travel to and from Hong Kong became difficult and from 1940 no new students came to Aberdeen.

With the Japanese attack on Hong Kong in December 1941, a very difficult period began for the seminary and for its Rector, Father O’Meara.

The building was shelled and bombed for three days during the siege of Hong Kong and so severe was the firing that the students and some refugees who had gathered there for shelter were forced to leave on Christmas morning. (Hong Kong surrendered on Christmas day).

During the succeeding three and a half years the seminary teaching staff, under Father O’Meara’s leadership, continued to train priests in spite of persistent visits from suspicious gendarmes.

The feeding of such a large community was a problem solved only by repeated interventions of Divine Providence.

For months there was no wheeled traffic other than military on the only road leading to the city. Food supplies had to be brought by hand, on battered bicycles.

In May 1945, Father O’Meara decided that the seminarians who had not finished their studies should go with their professors to neighbouring Macau, which, being Portuguese, was considered neutral.

The main reason was that it had become impossible to find food. Father O’Meara himself remained with an ex-seminarian and a servant to guard the seminary building from looters.

The war came to an end on 15 August 1945, and in November of that year Father O’Meara welcomed the first new students to arrive since 1940 and those in Macau were recalled.

In October 1947, Father O’Meara was relieved of the heavy burden he had carried for 12 years. He was sent to the newly-founded Jesuit mission in Guangzhou (Canton). There he taught at the Sacred Heart School and did missionary work in Dongshan (Tung Shan) as well as being director of the Legion of Mary in the diocese.

In 1953, four years after the establishment of the People’s Republic, he and the other Jesuits were forced to leave the country.

Back in Hong Kong, he taught at Wah Yan College, Kowloon, for five years until his appointment as Master of Novices in 1958 at the newly opened Jesuit novitiate at Xavier House in Cheung Chau.

He was extremely pleased to have been given such a responsible post in forming new Jesuits at the age of 60. He held the position for 10 years when, in 1968, he began a period of parish ministry.

He was first assigned to the Holy Rosary Parish in Kennedy Town and, four years later, transferred to Christ the Worker parish in Ngautaukok.

He was still vigorous in his 80s when he became chaplain to the St. Joseph’s Home for the Aged in Ngauchiwan. In the final years of his life, when he could no longer continue this ministry, he became himself one of the old folk in the home.

Father O’Meara had one final ambition, which he did not get to see - to live until the year 2000 and say he had touched three centuries.

The funeral Mass, presided over by Cardinal John Baptist Wu, Bishop of Hong Kong, and assisted by Archbishop Dominic Tang of Canton (Where Father O’Meara spent some of the happiest years of his life), was held at St. Ignatius Chapel, Kowloon, on 18 November at 11am.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 22 November 1991

◆ 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 22nd Year No 1 1947

Frs. Bourke and John O'Meara returned from Hong Kong on 25th November for a rest. Fr. Joseph O'Mara, who had returned to the Mission some time ago after a stay in Ireland, was forced by ill-health to come back to the Province. He reached Dublin on 13th January, and is now teaching philosophy at Tullabeg.

Valentin, Heinrich, 1921-1981, Jesuit priest

  • IE IJA J/2200
  • Person
  • 15 July 1921-23 May 1981

Born: 15 July 1921, Abtei (Badia), Südtirol, Italy
Entered: 09 October 1951, Austriae Province (ASR)
Ordained: 29 June 1947
Final vows: 02 February 1966
Died: 23 May 1981, Innsbruck, Austria - Austriae Province (ASR)

by 1965 came to Wise Mansion Hong Kong (HIB) working