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Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

McCARTHY Justin Anthony né le 24 mai 1915 à Cork
dans le diocèse de Cork, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 1er juillet 1934
prêtre le 19 décembre 1937
décédé le 29 juillet 1976

1938-1975 missionnaire au Nigeria
1938-1943, vicariat du Bénin
1944-1949, vicariat de Lagos, procureur
et secrétaire de l’évêque
1950-1975, archidiocèse de Lagos
cathédrale, Ebute, Abeokuta
1975-1976 Blackrock Road, Cork, malade et retiré

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 29 juillet 1976,
à l'âge de 61 ans


Father Justin Anthony Patrick McCARTHY (1915 - 1976)

Justin McCarthy was born in Cork (the family address was 13 Annmount, Friar's Walk), in the south parish of Cork diocese, on 24 May 1915. He died in the South Infirmary hospital, Cork, on 29 July 1976.

Justin studied in St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1929 1932) before entering the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in 1932. He was admitted to membership of the Society on 1 July 1934 and went on to the major seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down, for his theological training. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Edward Mulhern of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 19 December 1937. He was one of a group of fifteen ordained on that day.

After his ordination Justin returned to Dromantine for six months to complete his theological course. He was then appointed to the vicariate of the Bight of Benin, in south-western Nigeria. On his arrival in Nigeria, in October 1938, he was posted to Ondo district where he studied the local language, learned about African culture and undertook supervised pastoral work. Having passed his language examination and received faculties to hear confessions, in April 1939 he was appointed to Ilawe district where Willie Deeley was superior. Up to this time Ilawe had been an outstation of Ado-Ekiti, but because the people were exceptionally responsive the vicar apostolic, Leo Hale Taylor, decided to give them resident priests. After almost a year in Ilawe Justin was appointed to the staff of St. Gregory's college, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria's first catholic secondary school. At the time there were 170 pupils in the school and 50 students in a teacher-training department attached to the college. There were five priests on the staff with twelve African teachers. Justin was to spend almost four years in St. Gregory's before he was transferred to Holy Cross cathedral mission. This was the largest and oldest mission in the jurisdiction, with a staff of four missionaries, one of whom took charge of the thirteen schools in the district. Justin was assistant to the 'parish priest'.

Justin went to Ireland on his first home leave in September 1943. Delayed because of the war, it was May 1945 before he returned to Nigeria. In 1943 the vicariate had been renamed 'the vicariate of Lagos'. Justin was now appointed superior of Lafiaji mission, 'the second principal station' of Lagos district, which had been founded in 1915 under the patronage of St. Michael. After a year in Lafiaji Justin was appointed procurator of the vicariate, responsible, under the bishop, for its financial administration. He was also appointed secretary to Bishop Taylor. In April 1950 the vicariate was erected as an archdiocese. Justin was to serve for nine further tours of duty, until June 1975.

On his return after home leave, in May 1950 he was appointed to Ibonwon mission where Ned Rice was superior. After a year he was posted to Holy Cross cathedral parish where he was to stay for the next thirteen years. Between March 1962-March 1963 Justin was acting superior of Holy Cross parish. In September 1964 he came home to Ireland for medical treatment, spending most of the next two years in hospital in Waterford. He returned to Lagos in August 1966 taking up a curacy in Ebute-Metta parish. In 1971 he was appointed to Abeokuta district where he was to minister until he returned to Ireland, seriously ill, in May 1975. He spent a brief period in the South Infirmary Hospital, Cork, before taking up residence at Blackrock Road. However there was little hope of recovery and he entered hospital again on 2nd July just four weeks before his death.

Justin was a quiet and unassuming priest who served in many important capacities in the Lagos jurisdiction but would not have liked to see this commented upon. During his years at Holy Cross Cathedral, he became renowned for his knowledge of the sacred liturgy. As chaplain to Lagos General Hospital he must have walked those many long wards literally thousands of times. He was said to have an untiring 'ear' in the confessional. His obituary in the African Missionary records the following portrait: 'Those who knew Father Justin only superficially might regard him as just another pleasant priest, but underneath an unruffled exterior was a kind, generous soul. He carried that calm and dedicated spirit into everything he did both as priest, teacher and missionary. Those who knew him intimately saw in him what Jesus saw in Nathaniel:"a man in whom there was no guile"... His patient inherent kindness towards his adopted people won for him the respect and love of all.'

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.