Société des Missions Africaines - Province d’Irlande

 hackett  Le Père John Patrick HACKETT
né le 24 mars 1924 à Liscloonadea
dans le diocèse de Ardagh & Clonmacnois, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 27 juin 1946
prêtre le 14 juin 1950
décédé le 26 décembre 1993

1951-1963 diocèse de Jos, Nigeria
1963-1965 diocèse de Benin City, Nigeria
1965-1970 diocèse de Warri, Nigeria
1971-1981 vicariat de Monrovia, Liberia
1982-1987 archidiocèse de New York, USA
1987-1993 Blackrock Road, Cork, retiré

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 26 décembre 1993
à l’âge de 69 ans

Father John Patrick HACKETT (1924 - 1993)

John Hackett was born at Liscloonadea, Lough Rynn, Mohill, Co Leitrim, in the diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois, on 24 March 1924. He died in the South Infirmary, Cork, on Sunday evening, 26 December 1993.

John (Johnny) came from farming stock. He studied at the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo and at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork, between 1939-1943. On obtaining his leaving certificate he entered the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in September 1944. Two years later he commenced his theological formation in the Society's seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down. During his last year in Wilton John had attended lectures in the arts faculty at U.C.C. He continued his studies at U.C.G. during his two years in Kilcolgan, and in 1946 was awarded a B.A. degree. John became a member of the Society on 27 June 1946 and was ordained a priest by Bishop Eugene O'Doherty of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 14 June 1950. He was one of a group of eleven ordained on that day.

After ordination John was appointed to Jos prefecture, in northern Nigeria. On his arrival, William Lumley, the prefect, appointed him to the staff of Mary Immaculate teachers training college, at Kafanchan. This college, known as C.M.I., which was founded by Mgr. Lumley in 1949, and supplied elementary school teachers for the ever increasing number of schools in the jurisdiction. Leo McNeill was principal when John joined the staff and there were about 100 students in training. John returned to Ireland on his first home leave in October 1954. Bishop John Reddington, who had succeeded Mgr. Lumley when Jos became a diocese in 1953, re-appointed John to C.M.I. when he returned from leave in September 1955. In 1958 Bishop Reddington opened St. Joseph's college, Vom, to cater for the catholic population from the north of Jos diocese. A year later he opened Blessed Murumba college, Jos town, which catered for Catholics from the southern part. John was appointed principal of Blessed Murumba's college in 1960. He continued to serve as principal of this prestigious boys secondary school until June 1963 when he went on home leave.

During his leave John asked his superiors for a change of mission and in September 1963 he was assigned to the diocese of Benin City, in mid-western Nigeria. Patrick J. Kelly, bishop of the diocese, appointed John founder-principal of St. Vincent's grammar school, Okwagbe. In 1964 the Warri district of Benin City diocese was erected as a separate jurisdiction under Lucas Nwaezeapu, one of the first Nigerian bishops. A year later John was appointed to the staff of Warri diocese, and Bishop Lucas confirmed John's principalship of St. Vincent's. Two years later he was assigned as principal of St. Kevin's grammar school, Kokori Inland. Finally, in 1969 he was appointed principal of St. Enda's grammar school, Agbadu.

In 1971 John took up a new mission in Monrovia vicariate, Liberia. His first appointment was to Gbarnga. Next he went to Yekepa in Nimba county, where he ministered with Tony Jennings and later John Brehony. In 1978 John was appointed parish priest of Christ the King parish, at Old Road, Monrovia. In 1981 after 30 years in Africa John asked his superiors for permission to take up pastoral work in the U.S.A. Between 1982-1987 he was attached to New York archdiocese, ministering in St. Paul's parish, Cassidy Place, Staten Island. He returned to the S.M.A. house at Blackrock Road, Cork, after a serious motor accident in 1987 and spent the remaining years of his life in that house.

A colleague wrote the following lines about John in the African Missionary, which captures much of his character and also, rather poignantly, the sadness of his last four years when he was no longer able to minister: 'It was with great sadness that I learned of my classmate Johnny Hackett's death. Along with Gerry Fergus and Tom Furlong, four of us soldiered together from Ballinafad to ordination. He is the first of our ordination class to die. Johnny was always good company, being ever cheerful with a shrewd and realistic outlook on life. There was little that escaped his notice in the relationships, minor intrigues and goings-on of college life. While he kept very much to himself he was ever willing to impart trustworthy information and advice if you needed it. In more recent times I admired him greatly for the courage with which he bore the disabilities that resulted from his car accident in the U.S.A. During his long recuperation period he used to write long chatty letters to me as a confrere, like himself no longer serving on the missions in Africa, but still anxious to continue serving the Lord. I continued to cherish the hope that he would improve and once again be able to work directly in the Lord's vineyard. Alas, it was not to be but I am sure that the Lord accepted his silent suffering and that he is now reaping the reward for his many years of service in Nigeria, Liberia and the United States.' John was one of those missionaries who made a signal contribution to the evangelization of Africans through the educational apostolate. However he was equally at home as a pastor in a parish.

John was an older brother of Gerard Hackett, who was ordained in the Society in 1956.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.