Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

HUGHES Patrick né le 3 juillet 1903 à Hollymount
dans l’archidiocèse de Tuam, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 8 juillet 1925
prêtre le 9 juin 1929
décédé le 3 octobre 1964

1929-1952 missionnaire au Nigeria, Lagos
1953-1954 Ouest Nigeria, supérieur régional
1954-1958 Blackrock Road, Cork, vice provincial et supérieur
1958-1962 missionnaire au Nigeria, archidiocèse de Lagos
1962-1964 Irlande, soins

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 3 octobre 1964,
à l'âge de 61 ans

Father Patrick HUGHES (1903 - 1964)

Patrick Hughes was born at Hollymount, Co Mayo, in the archdiocese of Tuam, on 3 July 1903. He died, after a prolonged illness, at St. Joseph's home, Mount Desert, Cork, on 3 October 1964.

Patrick (Paddy) studied at the Christian Brothers school, Ballinrobe, Co Mayo, before entering the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, the S.M.A.'s preparatory secondary college in Co Mayo, in 1919. In the following year he went to St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork, the senior secondary college, and having matriculated, entered the novitiate and house of philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway (1923). He commenced his theological formation in the Society's seminary at Blackrock Road, Cork, in 1925, and completed it later at Dromantine, Co Down, to which the seminary was transferred in 1926. He was admitted to membership of the Society on 8 July 1925 and was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, in St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 9 June 1929. He was one of a group of fifteen ordained on that day.

After ordination Paddy was assigned to the vicariate of the Bight of Benin. This vicariate had been created in 1870 and extended over much of south western Nigeria, including the Lagos hinterland, Ijebu country, Ibadan, Oyo, Ondo, Ilorin, and Ekiti country. Two months before Paddy set foot in Nigeria in October 1929, the vicar apostolic, Bishop Ferdinand Terrien had died. In the following year Francis O'Rourke succeeded him as bishop and the vicariate was entrusted to the care of the Irish Province. Paddy's first appointment, given him by Louis Freyburger, the pro-vicar, was to Oshogbo where he was instructed to study the Yoruba language. After six months he passed his canonical examination permitting him to hear confessions in Yoruba. He was then appointed to Topo island, near Badagry.

Topo island had been given to the catholic mission in the early 1870's. Over the years a coconut farm had been grown which yielded a good copra crop (dried fruit of the coconut used for making soap and cosmetics) annually. There was also a boarding school for boys, an O.L.A. convent and orphanage, and a 'parish' with the usual church and outstations. Paddy served here for two years. In February 1932 he was transferred to Ondo district in the north east of the vicariate. A year later he returned to Lagos where he was appointed to Lafiaji mission, the 'second principal station' of Lagos district. Paddy went on home leave in June 1934. On his return to Nigeria a year later he was re-appointed to Topo.

He served there for two further years spending the next two years in Ebute-Metta mission, which was the 'third principal station' in Lagos district. Paddy's return from his next home leave was delayed because of the world war. However, eventually, in March 1941 he secured a sea passage to West Africa. He spent the whole of his next tour of duty (1941-1946) in St. Theresa's minor seminary, at Oke Are, Ibadan, where he was principal. This was one of the most important institutions in south-western Nigeria, providing secondary education for candidates for priesthood throughout the region. Paddy was one of a staff of three Irish missionaries and two Nigerian teachers, serving a student community of some 30 members. During this tour, in 1943, the Ondo-Ilorin region of the vicariate was erected as a separate jurisdiction and the remaining territory was renamed the vicariate of Lagos. Paddy continued to serve in the Lagos jurisdiction.

During his early missionary career Paddy demonstrated good administrative ability and sound judgement. He also shouldered responsibility easily. Inevitably he was to occupy important posts of responsibility within the Society. He was elected by his confreres from the Lagos vicariate as their delegate to the Provincial Assembly of 1946 and to the General Assembly of 1947. In May 1949 he was appointed 'regional superior' (Society representative on the mission in charge of the welfare of the members) for the Western Region the vicariates of Lagos, Asaba Benin and Ondo Ilorin with residence at Owo. He was delegate to the Provincial and General Assemblies in 1952, returning to Africa in 1953 as 'regional superior' for the Western Region which now included the newly erected diocese of Ibadan. In fact the residence of the Regional was soon to be transferred to Ibadan. In July 1954 Paddy was co opted to the Provincial council in place of John Reddington who had been appointed bishop of Jos diocese, also replacing Fr. Reddington as superior of the Blackrock Road house.

After the Provincial Assembly of 1958 Paddy returned to the archdiocese of Lagos (erected in 1950). Archbishop Leo Taylor who had succeeded Bishop O'Rourke in 1939, appointed Paddy 'administrator' of Holy Cross cathedral parish. This was the oldest mission in Nigeria, founded in 1868. In 1962 Paddy suffered a stroke while visiting England during his home leave. He was brought back to Ireland, first to hospital in Dun Laoghaire and then to Mount Desert hospital in Cork. Paddy was a brother of Thomas Hughes, founding bishop of Ondo diocese.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.