Shields, Bernard Joseph, 1931-2005, Jesuit priest

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Shields, Bernard Joseph, 1931-2005, Jesuit priest

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  • Joe Shields
  • 施惠淳神父
  • Shields, B Joseph

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Dates of existence

25 March 1931-03 April 2005

History

Born: 25 March 1931, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1948, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 31 July 1962, Milltown Park, Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1966
Died: 03 April 2005, Wah Yan College, Hong Kong - Sinensis Province (CHN)

Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966; HK to CHN : 1992

by 1957 at Cheung Chau, Hong Kong - Regency studying language
by 1965 at Rome Italy (ROM) studying

◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Father Bernard Joseph Shields S.J.
R.I.P.

Father Joseph Shields of the Society of Jesus, died in his sleep on 3 April 2005, he was 74.

Father Shields was born on 25 March 1931 in Dublin, Ireland and was a much-loved volunteer staff member of the Sunday Examiner. He will be sorely missed. He was ordained a priest on 31 July 1962 in Dublin.

There will be a Requiem Mass to be celebrated by Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun at Christ the King Chapel, Causeway Bay, on 16 April at 10am with vigil prayers on the previous evening at the Hong Kong Funeral parlor, North Point. The Jesuit community will welcome visitors from 5:30pm. He will be buried at St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery, Happy Valley.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 10 April 2005

Mourning a quiet Jesuit

“I first met ‘Father Joe’, as we fondly called him, in the early 1980s at Holy Spirit College,” reminisced Chan Sui-jeung. “I was looking for research materials on Judaism and he directed me to Matteo Ricci’s dairy, a copy of which was in the college library.” Chan said that their common interest in classics and Chinese history led them into the first of many long conversations.

Chan related that he next came into contact with the Irish-born Jesuit, Father Bernard J. Shields, about 10 years later at the office of the Sunday Examiner. Father Joe did the proofreading and I came as a volunteer,” said Chan. “Office space was at a premium. At times we even shared the same desk!” He said that the always thorough and meticulous “gentle priest with the unusual turn of phrase” was a great asset to the editorial staff, especially when the chase was on for the “right turn of phrase.”

Chan said their quiet moments together produced stories about Father Joe’s student days under the late Father Edward Collins SJ, how he had assisted in sorting Father Turner’s manuscript on Tang Dynasty poetry and his three or so years in Taiwan at the Fu Jen University, where he had met distinguished Jesuit scholars like Father Fang Chi Yung and Father Simon Chin. Chan also noted that he learned to complement his Cantonese language skills with a “quite acceptable Putonghua.”

His long-time friend pointed out a little known fact about Father Joe. “He was a considerable authority on history and the works of Giuseppe Castiglione. When one of the animal heads of the Yang Ming Garden in Beijing went on sale in Hong Kong, it was Father Shields who informed the auctioneer that their historical write up was inaccurate.”

Born on 25 March 1931, he attended Christian Brothers and Jesuit schools in Ireland and joined the society in 1948, taking first vows in 1950. Three years at University College Dublin gave him a first class honours degree in Latin, Greek and ancient history. He came to Hong Kong in 1956 and returned home for theology studies and later ordination in Milltown, Dublin, on the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, 31 July 1962. He then studied Sacred Scripture in Rome and returned to Hong Kong in 1973. He taught at the diocesan seminary in Aberdeen, the Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Anglican Theological Seminary.

He was also a mentor in Hebrew at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and took students to visit the synagogue in the Mid-Levels on more than one occasion. Chan said,

“I had plans to introduce him to the well-stocked library at the Jewish Community Centre.”

He recalls him as humble, soft-spoken with a gentle smile, popular and loved. Shy and retiring by nature, Father Shields nevertheless stood up and spoke boldly when interviewed on television while participating in a street rally in Hong Kong, on 11 April last year, in defence of his much loved brother and sister Catholics on the mainland.

Chan has fond memories of wine, beers and cheese in the newspaper office at the end of a hard day, when the then editor, Maryknoll Father John Casey, would jokingly accuse Father Shields of being “un-Irish” for taking “water only” during the sacred office ritual.

Father Bernard Joseph Shields died in his sleep on Sunday, 3 April. His three sisters came from Ireland to attend his funeral, celebrated by Bishops Joseph Zen Ze-kiun and John Tong Hon with some 35 priests, at Christ the King Chapel, Causeway Bay, on 16 April. Approximately 400 people came to celebrate his life and mourn his passing. Fellow Jesuits, Fathers Robert Ng and John Russell paid tribute to him at the Mass. He was buried in St. Michael’s Cemetery in Happy Valley.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 24 April 2005

◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013 ISBN 978 9881223814 :
He was born in Dublin in 1931 and educated at Belvedere College SJ. His father was Professor of Economics at University College Dublin, bequeathing to his son a love of scholarship and books.

He joined the Society in 1948 and followed the usual course of studies, including a Degree in Classical Latin and Greek, and he was sent to Hong Kong for Regency in 1956.

He wanted to master Cantonese spending two years at Cheung Chau and was then sent to Wah Yan College Hong Kong, teaching for a year before returning to Ireland for Theology at Milltown Park, and he was Ordained by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid in 1962. He then made Tertianship, and after that was sent to Rome for a Doctorate in Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute.

The intention was that he would remain in Rome to teach, but then he was invited by the Chinese Provincial Frank Borkhardt to teach instead at the Theology Faculty of Fujen Catholic University in Taiwan. To prepare for this he undertook Mandarin studies at the Jesuit language school of Hsinchu for 18 months.

1973 He returned to Hong Kong teaching Scripture at the Regional Seminary at Aberdeen, and he also became its librarian for many years. On return he was also briefly Master of Novices in Cheung Chau.
1977 He was invited to teach Theology at Chung Chi College where he taught New Testament Greek and Studies.

Over his time in Hong Kong he also taught at Lutheran Theological Seminary, Shatin, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, SKH Ming Hua Anglican Theological College.

He also served as Socius to the Regional Secretary for Macau-Hong Kong, William Lo (1991-1996).

Light-hearted and willing to help in any way he could, he also proof-read the Sunday Examiner, as well as normal priestly ministries, such as the Adam Shcall residence once a month.

He was scholarly and keen on accurate information. He was also modest and well mannered, eschewing argument or controversy, preferring to be a conciliator, seeking understanding and peace.

He was especially dedicated to the Church’s Mission in China and its people.

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

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hierarchical

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

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Shields, Bernard Joseph, 1931-2005, Jesuit priest

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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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Shields, Bernard Joseph, 1931-2005, Jesuit priest

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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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Shields, Bernard Joseph, 1931-2005, Jesuit priest

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IE IJA J/722

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IE IJA

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