Born: 04 October 1931, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1949, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 25 March 1963, Wah Yan College, Kowloon
Final Vows: 22 April 1977, St Francis Xavier, Kulala Lumpur, Malaysia
Died: 17 March 2011, Arrupe, Quezon City, Manila, Philippines - Sinensis Province (CHN)
Part of the Gonzaga College, Dublin community at the time of death.
Transcribed HIB to HK : 03 December 1966; HK to CHN : 1992
by 1958 at Cheung Chau, Hong Kong - Regency studying language
by 1961 at Bellarmine , Baguio City Philippines (ExOr) studying
◆ Hong Kong Catholic Archives :
Former editor dies
A former editor of the Sunday Examiner and the first Jesuit to be ordained a priest in Hong Kong, Father Frank Doyle, died in Manila, The Philippines, on 17 March 2011, after suffering a stroke on 6 February 2011. He was treated at the Medical City in Manila, but his condition continued to deteriorate.
He was farewelled from the Loyola House of Studies on the campus of Ateneo de Manila University on 23 March 2011, with Father Mark Raper as the main celebrant at his requiem Mass, and buried at the Jesuit novitiate in Quezon City.
Born in Ireland on 4 October 1931, he entered the Society of Jesus on 7 September 1949. His ordination at Wah Yan College Chapel in Kowloon on 25 March 1963 is described as being a big moment in the history of the Jesuits in Hong Kong, receiving headlines in the newspapers and on the radio news.
The newly ordained priest did interviews for the radio and historian, Father Thomas Morrissey, described it “a widespread manifestation of friendliness towards the Church and the society,” in his book, The Jesuits in Hong Kong, South China and Beyond.
He is described by Paul K. B. Chan, as “as a very friendly teacher and a good spiritual director.”
During his years in Hong Kong, Father Doyle was at the forefront of many activities and was particularly active in the push for direct elections from 1988 into the early 1990s. He addressed a forum of 10,000 people, along with the Democratic Party champion of the cause, Martin Lee Chu-ming, and on 21 May 1989 was present at a prayer meeting in St. Margaret’s Happy Valley at the end of a day when an estimated crowd of between 400,000 and one million people walked the streets of Hong Kong in support of the issue.
Father Doyle also worked in the Jesuit Centre of Spirituality at Cheung Chau, as well as among the students at Ricci Hall, and was among the first group to go from Hong Kong to the East Asia Pastoral Institute in Manila to study.
After an initial stint teaching at Wah Yan College, Father Doyle went to Singapore, where his career with newspapers began, working on the diocesan publication, Catholic News. He later became the founding director of the Pastoral Institute in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he stayed for the full 10 years allowed to a foreign resident by the government at that time.
Back in Hong Kong, he continued his writing at UCA News, before coming to the Sunday Examiner. He is remembered from his years at the editor’s desk (1991 to 1993) as an extremely good speaker of Cantonese, as well as a joyful and enthusiastic person.
“He would sing as he worked,” one of the staff said, “adding that he seemed to be able to do almost everything from writing articles to designing advertisements and doing the artwork himself.”
He is also remembered for giving a job to a hearing impaired woman. Staff who go back that far, say that he was patient and took time to teach her how to cut and paste to set out a page for the printers. They say that he continually encouraged her and, gradually her self-confidence grew and she began to speak more freely. Eventually, even, her hearing appeared to improve and in the end, she could talk quite fluently.
Father Ciaran Kane, from Xavier House in Cheung Chau, studied with him in high school in Ireland and they were again together in the Jesuit formation programme, coming to Hong Kong at about the same time.
Father Kane described his old friend as charming and a man who made friends easily, although in many ways he could be called a loner, as he liked to do his own thing in his own way. Father Kane said that something changed in him in later years. In describing him as dapper, he noted that in his later years he become really casual and even grew a beard.
“But he really loved writing,” Father Kane said, “and he was good at it. For many years after he went back to Ireland, he would return to Kuala Lumpur and do a month at the Catholic paper each year. He wrote many things.”
Father Doyle left Hong Kong when he finished at the Sunday Examiner and returned to Ireland where he worked in high school ministry and also retreat work.
Father Kane said, “He never forgot his Cantonese though and kept contact with Chinese people in Ireland and England, as well as in Vancouver and New York for many years.”
Father Doyle finished his days in Manila among the Jesuit scholastics as a spiritual adviser. He is also remembered as an author of prayers and reflections.
He once wrote, “Perhaps I haven’t seen things from this perspective, or have forgotten it, but it is the truth of my life: I am called by name, journeying along a unique path, God with me, God before me, all along the way that is mine.”
Tributes to him have poured in from every country in which he worked. May he rest in peace.
Sunday Examiner Hong Kong - 3 April 2011
◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013.
◆ Jesuits in Ireland :
Frank Doyle, an Irish Jesuit priest of the Chinese Province, died on Saint Patrick’s Day 2011. After some years working in Ireland, Frank had returned to Asia in 2010, undertaking
work as a spiritual director in Manila. For many years he wrote the Living Space commentaries – reflections on readings and saints – on the Sacred Space website. His requiem and burial took place in Saint Ignatius Oratory, Loyola House of Studies, Manila on 22 March. Messages sent on news of his illness and other more general comments indicate how meaningful his apostolate had become to so many whom he had helped in their search for the Lord. The text of the homily delivered at his funeral can be read at Living Space, courtesy of Mark Raper SJ, President of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific. The text of the homily (http://sacredspace.ie/livingspace/funeral-homily/)
Frank Doyle SJ (left in photo) recently exchanged the green and leafy delights of Gonzaga for the humid heats of Manila, where there has been no rain for a long time and it is extremely hot, exceeding 30C and going up to 36, with humidity to match. After years in Hong Kong, Frank served Chinese exiles in many parts of the world, including Dublin. His ease with groups of diverse languages and cultures will stand to him in his new job as spiritual director to Jesuit students from at least twelve different countries. On arrival he joined a team directing the spiritual exercises in an upcountry retreat house. He lives on the large (Belfield-size) campus of the Jesuit university, Ateneo de Manila, and is praying for some cool rain
◆ 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 Paddy Finneran Entry
Among his students were Ciarán Kane and Frank Doyle in Belvedere
Interfuse No 145 : Summer 2011
Fr Frank Doyle (1932-2011) : China Province
Obituary by Myles O'Reilly
Who is Frank Doyle? He had so many lives within one life that no one seems to know the whole Frank. On top of that, he was quite a private person and very self-sufficient. No wonder the editor found it so hard to find someone to write his obituary and the lot falls to me, being his last Rector in Ireland. Outwardly Frank was an exemplary novice like monk who never wasted a minute of his time. He rose at six in the morning, faithfully meditated for an hour, had breakfast in silence on his own, dutifully sat at his desk dealing with emails, researching, reading and writing for his Sacred Space contributions, celebrated Mass once weekly in Gonzaga school, and for the rest of the week at 10 30 a.m. with the Cherryfield community, for whom he had great affection, continued his morning desk-work until lunch to which he went with a certain reluctance (Frank was strongly one-to-one in preference).
After a short friendly chat in the kitchen with Linda the cook, he went to his room for a siesta, continued his reading and writing but interlaced it with listening to the radio, listening to his favourite music, usually jazz, and getting some physical exercise. This brought him to a late supper where he was careful to eat a healthy diet. After this, he played the piano for half an hour, relaxed in the library, having a chat with Kennedy O'Brien, whenever he was there, and then went off to bed. He was usually cheerful, had a great hearty laugh, loved a joke, passed many a one by email to his friends (including blue!!). He wore simple clothes, always wore a ring as a sign of his commitment to Christ, and always kept his room simple and uncluttered.
Yet he was also deeply serious and reflective and could be easily drawn into a theological discussion, usually taking a liberal line but in a gentle, non-aggressive way. Despite being wedded to his routine, he was always ready to drop it at the request for some help of any nature. He was also generous with his time for directees or friends that came to visit him. On Sundays he joined the Dublin Chinese community for Eucharist, after which he would join his brother Philip and his family for lunch, where he was a great hit with his nephews and nieces, and their children, all of whom he baptized and with whom he would watch television (only time in the week he permitted himself such an indulgence!). . For some of his summer, Frank became a curate in an all-Chinese community in New York, In September he offered himself as chaplain to a group that went to Lourdes every year. Occasionally throughout the year he would give a preached retreat, usually to nuns in the Loreto retreat centre in Linsfort, Co Donegal. He also loved to stand in as chaplain in St Vincent's private hospital in Dublin when required. So far this is only a brief external description of Frank in his Gonzaga incarnation
From his outer conformity to routine, you could be forgiven for thinking that Frank could just as easily have been a Cistercian as a Jesuit, but when you read his retreat reflections from the early 90's you realize that nothing could be further from the truth. True to Ignatian spirituality, we are defined by what is our deep heart's core. Even the ancient spirituality of the Upanishads recognized this. “You are what your deepest driving desire is; as your desire is, so is your will, as your will is so is your deed” The following is how Frank expressed his deepest desire.
“My deepest desire is
to work for the kingdom of God
in whatever place
and in whatever work
to which I believe God is calling me
In the spirit of the beatitudes
especially in companionship with Christ today
in the poor and the discriminated against
even if it means suffering and rejection
using only the weapons of compassion, justice and freedom”.
We can easily hear the call of Christ the King, and the “Two Standards” in this deepest desire. True to it, throughout his reflections in his diary and his retreat notes, Frank is always questioning himself as to whether he is in the right place or doing the right work in terms of promoting God's kingdom. Could he be more effectively employed elsewhere? Even though the Chinese left the deepest imprint in his heart, it did not stop him from wondering whether it would be best for the Hong Kong mission that he leave, as a more indigenous Church would be more acceptable to mainline China when they would take over Hong Kong in 1997. Ought not the Hong Kong Church stand on its own feet, and best evangelize its own people? A combination of external circumstances and internal discernment led Frank to switch his missionary life to Malaysia where he put down fruitful roots for 10 years, enhanced by his willingness to learn the Malay language. He was deeply impressed by the strength of the indigenous church there, which gave him the freedom to consider turning the last quarter of his life to the Western world. The first part of this was spent in Canada where he was confronted with the challenge of making a stand for the gay community on what he saw as a human rights issue. This led to his having to leave ministry there and come back to Ireland as chaplain to Gonzaga school, which he undertook for three years.
Inwardly Frank was always chiding himself for writing just for himself alone. He saw it as too self indulgent. “Did not Ghandhi write solely for the edification of people? And Jesus did not write at all!!” But somehow he knew his vocation was to write. He had been editor of the “Hong Kong Examiner” and he had ambitious writing goals to fulfil. He longed to write about the Eucharist, the Beatitudes, New Testament syllabi for Hong Kong schools, sermon notes, Discernment of Spirits, and the use of “eros”, “philia”, and “agape” in the New Testament.
Late in his life he got his opportunity, a chance to channel all his in-depth reflections over the years on these topics through “Sacred Space”, which had an outreach to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world. He was asked to provide reflections on the liturgical readings of each day in the year and on the lives of the saints. He thrived on this mission and even found time to write a book on “A New Sexual Ethic” in his spare time, that I hope the Jesuits will find in his computer in the Philippines. The quality of the responses that Frank got from all over the world from his readers, when they heard of his stroke, was amazing. Emails came flooding in from Italy, Canada, India, Scotland, Brazil, Norway, USA, England, Portugal, Philippines, Malta, Korea, Honk Kong, Malaysia, Australia, Ireland and Spain in their hundreds. I quote a few just to give the reader a flavour of the remarks.
“You communicate the message of Christ convincingly to contemporary culture”...
“You touch, inspire and challenge me, I relish the Jesuitness that oozes out from your deep integrated life” ...
“On many occasions, I felt like the disciples on the way to Emmaus having the scriptures opened to them”...
“You are like St Paul, Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” etc
When Frank was riding high apostolically at the age of 77, his deepest desire, the guiding principle of his life, did not leave him. It led him to agreeing to go back to Manila in the Philippines, to where he did his theology as a scholastic, as chaplain to 40 Chinese students. There was a feeling of St Paul leaving one of his missionary communities, never to return, as we said good bye to him on the steps of Gonzaga community two years ago, as he headed off to the East yet again to fittingly die among the people that struck the deepest chord in his heart, the Chinese on, of all days, St Patrick's Day!! St Francis Xavier will surely gladly be among the welcoming party for Frank, but might be a little envious that Frank got to work and live among the Chinese, spoke their language, and travelled his missionary 100,000 miles by plane and train!!! May he rest in peace.