Wednesday, 15 February 2017

An Irish Jesuit missionary project coming to a fruitful end and continuity in Hong Kong

It is quite amazing that a small island and Jesuit Province like Ireland sent 106 Irish Jesuit missionaries to Hong Kong.

They arrived here in 1926.  6 still live in Hong Kong and ranging from the ages of 79 to 104. In December they celebrated 90 years in Hong Kong.  The most obvious legacy of the Irish Jesuits in Hong Kong is the impact they have had in education with two established colleges of Wah Yan Kowloon and Hong Kong.  They have formed and still form many of the leaders of Hong Kong society and the devotion of the Alumni to their former Jesuit teachers is renowned.

What is less known of the Irish Jesuits' contribution is in the area of spirituality and social outreach.  St. Francis Xavier Spirituality Centre in Cheung Chau continues to share the spiritual riches of Ignatian spirituality  with many people from the different islands and also with mainland China.  Fr. Sean O Cearbhallain, the CLC Assistant for Hong Kong continues  his great work.  Fr.James Hurley and many others worked with the marginalised  and poor of Hong Kong and their friendship with the poor was outstanding and a real witness to the Gospel.

Now is a time for giving gratitude for the past and support a future that will be sustained by young Chinese Jesuits.  What the Irish Province can continue to do is to offer a partnership of support to the young men from the Province and  to build on the past and create a new future for the Society of Jesus and for the people of the China Province.   The Irish Jesuit missionary project comes to an end while  continuity and new beginnings is in the hands of the Jesuits from the Chinese soil. It is a time for giving thanks.

Hong Kong is an architectural and engineering feat of populating such a small space with over 7 million people. It measures half the total area of Co,. Cork. They build up since they cannot build out and the apartments look like shoe boxes.

Fr. Joe Mallin SJ the oldest Jesuit in Kong Kong and his Companion Fr. John Russell have been in Hong Kong for over 60 years.  He is pictured with the accolade and insignia as a free man of Dublin city which was presented  to him by the Lord Mayor of Dublin last year in Hong Kong.
Frs. Joe Mallin and John Russell of the Kowloon Jesuit Community.

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