Société des Missions Africaines - Province d’Irlande

McANALLY Patrick né le 10 juin 1909 à Belfast
dans le diocèse de Down & Connor, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 19 juin 1932
prêtre le 21 décembre 1935
décédé le 29 juin 2001

1936-1943 préfecture de Jos, Nigeria
1944-1949 aumônier de la Royal Air Force, 
1949-1950 Blackrock Road, Cork 
1951-1952 archidiocèse de Lagos, Nigeria
1952-1965 diocèse d’Ibadan, Nigeria
1965-1968 diocèse de Lismore, Australie
1968-1969 paroisse de Beaconsfield, Australie
1970-1972 diocèse de Motherwell, Ecosse
1972-1978 diocèse de Down & Connor, Irlande
1978-1990 Manchester, animation missionnaire
et vocationnelle
1990-2001 Manchester, retiré

décédé à Manchester, Grande-Bretagne, le 29 juin 2001
à l’âge de 92 ans

Father Patrick Christopher Joseph McANALLY (1909 - 2001)

Patrick Christopher McAnally was born in Belfast, in the parish of St. Patrick’s, in the diocese of Down and Connor, on 10th June 1909. He died in the Royal Infirmary, Manchester, on 29th June 2001.

The youngest in a family of seven, Patrick (Pat) McAnally came from the Springfield Road in Belfast. He received his primary schooling at St. Malachy’s on the New Lodge Road. He then went to the Christian Brothers School at Hardinge Street. At the age of 15 he came to know John Levins SMA, who guided him to the Society’s junior secondary school, the Sacred Heart College, Ballinafad, Co Mayo, in 1925. A year later he was promoted to St. Joseph’s College, Wilton, Cork, the Society’s senior school. His secondary education complete Pat entered the Society’s novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co. Galway, in autumn 1930. On 19th June 1932 he was admitted to membership of the Society and three months later commenced his theological studies in the Society’s seminary, at Dromantine, Newry, Co Down. Pat was ordained a priest on 21st December 1935, by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, in St. Colman’s cathedral, Newry. He was one of a group of twenty-one ordained on that day. At the time of his death he was the last surviving member of this group as well as the oldest member of the Irish Province.

After ordination Pat was appointed to the Prefecture of Jos in Northern Nigeria. This jurisdiction had been erected in 1934 under the leadership of William Lumley, although the Catholic presence there went back to 1907 when missionaries had first come to Shendam. Mgr. Lumley had a staff of eight priests at his disposal when Pat and three classmates were sent to the jurisdiction. On arrival Pat was posted to Kafanchan for a period of six months. He was then assigned to Kwande mission station where John Marren, one year his senior, was superior. Kwande was a centre in Ankwe territory, where the population was indigenous and animist. It was a mission where the Church was in its infancy and which would require energetic and enthusiastic missionaries capable of enduring considerable hardship. John and Pat were selected for Kwande because both of them had these qualities. However, within a matter of months of their arrival, a great calamity was to befall them and the prefecture.

It is difficult to reconstruct the course of events with absolute accuracy but the following facts, based on an accounts written by Pat and by two priests who were close to the crisis, can be taken as true: John Marren fell sick with a high temperature on 24 September 1937 in the late evening. Pat gave him quinine and aspirin and sat with him for many hours. Pat then felt ill and, after taking some medicine, went to bed. He had a high temperature accompanied by severe pains in the joints, back and head. Next day both priests felt a little better and, after consulting a tropical medicine dictionary, decided that they were suffering from “sandfly” fever. Later that day both became ill once more and returned to bed, sending a messenger to Tony Dwyer at Shendam, some 20 miles distant, asking for help. Pat took heavy doses of aspirin before going into a coma which apparently lasted some days. He woke during the morning of September 29th to hear the sound of hammering. Although he did not know it at the time, it was the sound of Tony Dwyer and Philip the catechist, making a coffin for John Marren who had died at 10. p.m. on the previous night. Later that day, having dug a grave in the mission compound, John was buried by Tony Dwyer, in the presence of a doctor who had just arrived.

On the following day, 30th September, Tony Dwyer was ordered back to Shendam by the doctor. There had been heavy rain and much flooding; and to reach his mission he had had to swim a river on the way. On the next day, 1st October, he fell ill. Two days later his temperature was dangerously high, and on the following day, he was brought to Jos hospital accompanied by Fr. Peter Bennett, his colleague at Shendam. He died on the following day and was buried on October 6th. Meanwhile Pat’s condition improved, but the doctor, fearing a relapse, ordered him to Jos hospital. Pat was carried in a camp bed through several miles of swamp and stayed overnight in a village. On the next day, October 7th, he was carried in a chair to Shendam and travelled the remaining miles to Jos in a Government lorry. Here the diagnosis of Yellow fever was confirmed.

Pat’s survival of Yellow Fever was something extremely rare, so much so that the doctors attending him in Jos considered using his blood to make a serum. Whether this was done is unknown. Celebrating sixty years of priesthood in December 1995 Pat was to attribute his survival to the self-sacrifice of Tony Dwyer and the other priests, doctors and nurses who looked after him, and to the large doses of aspirin which he took at the height of his fever. Twenty years after the tragedy the Church in Kwande was strongly established, with over 3,000 Catholics, 1,800 catechumens, 22 catechists, 12 schools, and 11 secondary stations. Today Kwande district is home to three parishes, Kwande, Namu and Bakin Ciyawa, each with its own resident priest, parish house and church.

When Pat was sufficiently well to travel he was invalided home to Ireland. A year later, his physical health restored, he returned to Jos Prefecture, spending the next five years ministering variously in Nasarawa, Allogani, and Jos town. During these years he laid the foundations for what were later to become several thriving parishes. And in later life he looked especially fondly on his work in what is now Gitata parish. It must be said, however, that the experience of having survived Yellow fever while his colleagues perished, caused a trauma which surfaced from time to time during the remainder of Pat’s long life. He was particularly susceptible to strain and anxiety and on occasions this became severe and influenced his behaviour. Coming towards the end of his five-year tour of duty the signs of this trauma became evident, he was invalided home, and it was decided that henceforth he should seek a less taxing ministry, perhaps pastoral work in an English diocese. When efforts to secure a suitable post proved difficult his superiors had another suggestion. On the outbreak of the War in 1939 Pat had sought permission from Mgr. Lumley to volunteer as an Army chaplain and had been refused. Aware of this interest and aware that the R.A.F. was seeking chaplains, it was suggested that he should volunteer. Pat grasped the opportunity. The complete change of scene was to prove most beneficial to his health. He was to serve as a R.A.F. chaplain from February 1944-June 1949, during which he was based variously in Singapore, Batavia, Burma and England.

Pat was ‘demobilised’ from the Air Force at the end of 1949 and in the following year the Provincial Administration suggested he take up an appointment in a New Zealand diocese. However this fell through and the Provincial, Patrick M. Kelly – with considerable misgivings as to Pat’s capacity to return to the Africa – decided to solicit his feelings on the subject. With commendable courage Pat jumped at the prospect of returning to Africa. The Provincial thought it might be better for him to go to a different area and so, when he set foot on the continent once more on 1st January 1951, he was posted to Lagos Archdiocese, in the southwest of the country. He was to serve for the next fourteen years in this region. For the first five years he served in Lagos. Then he was assigned to the recently erected Prefecture of Ibadan, over 100 miles north east of Lagos, remaining on there when Ibadan was erected as a Diocese in 1958. During his years in the Ibadan jurisdiction he is particularly associated with cathedral parish of Oke-Padi (1952-1956) where, with the parish priest, Larry Dolan, he was responsible for constructing St. Mary’s cathedral. He also served in the parishes of Ikire, Mokola and Oke-Offa

By 1964 Pat’s health again had deteriorated and the signs of severe strain were evident to all. Clearly a less demanding appointment was now indicated and in October 1965, with the encouragement and support of the Provincial, he went to Australia to work in the diocese of Lismore, N.S.W. where he had several relatives. Pat never really settled into this new setting. In February 1968 he came to help in the SMA parish at Beaconsfield, Western Australia and in May 1969 returned to Ireland going to live with his family in the North Parade, Belfast. Six months later he went to work in the diocese of Motherwell where he spent two years in parish work. The last four years of his active ministry (1972-1976) saw him nearer home, working in the diocese of Down and Connor. Pat retired in November 1976 going to live with his family first in the North Parade and later at Glandore Avenue. Pat did not relish retirement and as he grew older his health appeared to settle and strengthen. In December 1978, after requesting a return to a semi-active ministry, he was seconded by the Irish Province to the SMA House in Manchester. Here he quickly settled in making a wonderful contribution to the many ministries run from that centre.

Pat was a man of robust physical health. His father was a seaman and perhaps something of that hardy profession rubbed off. He himself was an excellent boxer in his youth. It was this hardiness and capacity for endurance which brought him through Yellow fever in 1937. Nonetheless he did survive unscathed, the episode leaving a mark which remained with him throughout his life. Pat was known within the Society as a great gardener. He had first shown his skills when a student in Kilcolgan. In his latter years he was to be seen in all weathers tending to the garden in the SMA house in Anson road. In December 1995 he celebrated 60 years of priesthood in Manchester, England. He was to live a further five years. He died in the Royal Infirmary, Manchester, after a short illness. A Funeral Mass for the repose of his soul was celebrated in St. Edward’s Church, Manchester, on 4th July 2001. At his own wish, his remains were then cremated and brought to Dromantine on 13th August, where Mass was celebrated in the presence of Tom Ryan, Provincial of the British Province, the Dromantine Community and some members of Fr. McAnally’s family.

His ashes are buried in the family plot at Milltown Cemetery, Belfast.