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Société des Missions Africaines – Province d’Irlande

McEVOY James Edward né le 31 janvier 1909 à Belfast
dans le diocèse de Down & Connor
membre de la SMA le 4 juin 1930
prêtre le 11 juin 1933
décédé le 19 juillet 1972

1933-1936 missionnaire au nord Nigeria
1936-1937 Egypte
1937-1939 animation missionnaire et recherche de fonds
1940-1942 Cork, aumônier
1942-1944 malade
1944-1972 diocèse de Brentwood, Grande-Bretagne

décédé à Westcliff-on-sea, Grande-Bretagne, le 19 juillet 1972,
à l’âge de 63 ans


Father James Edward McEVOY (1909 - 1972)

James McEvoy was born in St. Paul's parish, Belfast, in the diocese of Down and Connor, on 31 January 1909. He died at Westcliff on Sea, Essex, England, on 19 July 1972.

Although James (Jim) was born in Belfast, his family resided at 5 Purbeck Road, Romford, Essex. James studied at the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (1923 24) and St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1924 1937) before entering the S.M.A. novitiate and house of philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in 1927. He went to Dromantine, Co Down, for his theological training in 1929 and on 4 June 1930 was admitted to membership of the Society. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern, of Dromore diocese, in St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 11 June 1933. He was one of a group on nine ordained on that day.

After ordination James was appointed to the prefecture of Northern Nigeria, reaching his mission in October 1933. This prefecture, erected in 1929, which had been originally established in 191l (with the inaccurate title 'prefecture of Eastern Nigeria') and whose boundaries were greatly enlarged in 1922, had its ecclesiastical capital in the great town of Kano. Muslim influence was strong although there were large populations which practised traditional religions. Christianity had as yet made few inroads, although many of the Igbo immigrants from the east who came north with the railway were Christian. William Porter, the prefect apostolic, appointed James to Kano where he served for six months. He was then appointed to Minna, one of the large railway line stations, which had been first visited by missionaries in 1918 and had subsequently become an outstation of Kaduna. Robert Stitt, who was the first residential missionary in Minna (he came there 1932/1933) was superior and together they ministered to a catholic community of 500 members and 100 catechumens, mostly Igbo immigrants from the east. In 1934 the prefecture was divided into two new jurisdictions, the prefectures of Jos and Kaduna. James was attached to the latter jurisdiction. Thomas P. Hughes, the prefect, appointed him to Argungu a rural district in Sokoto province, which was founded by Mgr. Hughes in 1934 as part of a drive to root the Church among the indigenous population.

In January 1936 James was invalided home to Ireland. During his year at Argungu he had been sick frequently and on a number of occasions he had gone into hospital. The doctors in Nigeria advised that he return to Europe for a long rest. After a period of convalescence in Ireland James' superiors re-assigned him to the vicariate of the Nile Delta, in Egypt, a country where the climate was less taxing on the confreres. Irish members of the Society had a long connection with Egypt. At the turn of the century many had studied in the Society's seminary at Choubra. Several had remained on in Egypt to teach English in St. Louis college, Tantah. In 1936 the Province had taken responsibility for staffing the vicariate's 'English-language' schools and it was to one of these, St. George's college, 8 Midan El-Afdal St., Choubra, that James was appointed. In June 1937 he returned to Ireland as delegate to the Provincial Assembly held in Cork. During his time in Egypt James suffered frequently from malaria and after the Assembly his superiors decided to retain him at home, appointing him to the promotion team. He worked in Ireland, from Blackrock Road, and in England, from the seminary of the Dutch Province, at 'Wilderness', St. Helen's Road, Hastings.

In 1939 James was diagnosed as having diabetes of a severe type and returned to Ireland, residing at Blackrock Road. He kept active, taking up a chaplaincy with the Brothers of Charity at Lota, in Cork city. He spent brief spells in London, Blackrock Road, Wilton and Kilcolgan between 1942 and 1944, before going to England on temporary supply work. Later, in January 1947, he became a chaplain to the sisters at St. Bernard's Convent, Milton Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. This chaplaincy was located in the diocese of Brentwood. His health was precarious and he was frequently hospitalised with thrombosis and diabetes, both in England and in Ireland. In 1970 he spent four months in the Bon Secours hospital, Cork, before returning to his chaplaincy in January 1971. His brother was living with him in the chaplaincy at this time, caring for him. Three other members of the family, living in Essex, two brothers and a sister, also helped to nurse him. James was to die there over a year later. His Requiem Mass was celebrated in St. Helen's Church, Westcliff-on-Sea. He was survived by four brothers and three sisters.

He is buried in the family plot, Hornchurch cemetery, Essex, England.