Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

McCarthy florence né le 13 avril 1908 à Kilsarlaught
dans le diocèse de Ross, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 2 juillet 1929
prêtre le 11 juin 1933
décédé le 1er février 1985

1933-1955 missionnaire au Nigeria
1933-1945, vicariat du Bénin
1946-1955, archidiocèse de Lagos
1956-1961 Doughcloyne, économe
1962-1980 au service de l’archidiocèse de Liverpool
1980-1985 Blackrock Road, Cork, retiré

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 1er février 1985,
à l'âge de 77 ans


Father Florence McCARTHY (1908 - 1985)

Florence McCarthy was born at Kilsarlaught, Aughadown, Skibbereen, in the diocese of Ross, on 13 April 1908. He died in the mother-house of the Irish Province, at Blackrock Road, Cork, on 1 February 1985.

Florence (Florrie) came from the parish of Aughadown which gave many missionaries to the Church and to the S.M.A. His own brother, Patsy, joined the Society while his niece Mairead Hickey became a member of the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles. Florrie was a cousin of Stephen and Peter Harrington, Jerome Sheehan and Jim Murphy all members of the Society.

Florrie spent a year in the Society's preparatory college, at Ballinafad, Co Mayo (1923 1924), before completing his secondary education at St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1924 1927). In the autumn of 1927, he entered the novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co Galway. Two years later, on 2 July 1929, he was admitted to membership of the Society. He studied theology in the major seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down, and was ordained a priest, by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 11 June 1933. He was one of a group of nine ordained on that day.

After ordination Florrie was assigned to the vicariate of the Bight of Benin, in south western Nigeria, serving there until 1945. His first appointment was to Ondo mission, established in 1916 (now the seat of a diocese), which had some 2,000 Catholics and six secondary stations. Florrie was appointed superior with James McAfee as his assistant. In 1935 Edward Ward, who later became a distinguished anthropologist, joined him, and in the following year, Benedict McBrearty came to Ondo. Florrie remained in charge of Ondo district until his first home leave in 1938. On his return, just before the outbreak of war, he was posted to Oshogbo district. Oshogbo station had been founded by Lambert Erkens in 1914 and with its 20 secondary stations had a Catholic community of almost 5,000 members. Florrie was to remain in charge of Oshogbo for five and a half years, until June 1944. He spent the last year of this long tour in Lagos, where he served in Holy Cross cathedral mission.

In 1943 some districts of the vicariate were detached from the Bight of Benin jurisdiction to form a new vicariate (Ondo-Ilorin) and the original jurisdiction was renamed the vicariate of Lagos. Florence remained attached to the latter vicariate which became an archdiocese in 1950. In September 1946, after a period of much needed home leave in Ireland, he returned to Nigeria, taking charge of the thriving mission of Yaba (Lagos) which had been founded a decade earlier. His assistant at Yaba was Julius Onih, one of a small handful of indigenous priests in Nigeria at that time. When the vicariate became a archdiocese Florrie was installed as first parish priest of Yaba. In 1955 Florrie was appointed superior of Ebute-Metta parish, the 'third principal station' in Lagos district, established in 1913.

A noted builder Florrie left many monuments to his skill, including Yaba parish church, Holy Child college Lagos, the teacher training college at Ife, the parish church at Ilesha and a school at Okitipupa.

In July 1956, after twenty three years in Africa, Florrie was appointed bursar of the Society's university hostel for African students, at Doughcloyne, Cork. He remained there until 196l. He then went to the archdiocese of Liverpool, ministering in Our Lady of Sorrows parish, and St. Francis de Sales parish, until 1980 when he retired. He spent his last years at Blackrock Road. Florrie always kept in close tough with his West Cork roots, wherever he was placed. He took great pride in the West Cork contribution to the evangelisation of Nigeria. His funeral in Wilton was marked by the very large number of his neighbours, young and old, who came to pay their respects.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.