Société des Missions Africaines – Province d’Irlande

Mc CAFFREY Michael né le 27 avril 1876 à Newmarket
dans le diocèse de Dublin, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 21 avril 1897
prêtre le 26 juillet 1899
décédé le 3 août 1940

missionnaire pendant deux ans au Ghana

décédé à Dublin, Irlande, le 3 août 1940,
à l’âge de 64 ans

Le père Michael Mac CAFFREY (1876 - 1940)

A Dublin (Irlande), le 3 août 1940, retour à Dieu du père Michael Mac Caffrey, à l'âge de 64 ans.

Michael Mac Caffrey naquit à Dublin en 1876. Il fit ses études à Wilton, puis au grand séminaire de Lyon. Il fit le serment en 1897 et fut ordonné prêtre à Cork en 1899. Le père Mac Caffrey resta à Wilton où il enseignait déjà depuis octobre 1898. En 1903, il partait pour le vicariat de la Côte-de-l'Or, d'où sa mauvaise santé l'obligea à revenir dès 1905.

Désormais, le père Mac Caffrey sera professeur au petit séminaire de Wilton de 1905 à 1911, professeur au grand séminaire de Blackrock et de Dromantine, avec des séjours à Ballinafad ou, comme "pastor", à Blackrock. Il fut professeur de morale et un assidu au confessionnal. Il fut aussi un excellent prédicateur. Le père Mac Caffrey avait un heureux tempérament jovial et plein d'humour, cela pour la grande joie de ses élèves et confrères. Plus d'un bon rire résonna dans les salles de classe au temps du père Mac Caffrey.

Malade en 1939, il dut être hospitalisé à Dublin. Il y resta jusqu'à sa mort.

Father Michael McCAFFREY (1876 - 1940)

Michael McCaffrey was born in Newmarket, Dublin, in the archdiocese of Dublin, on 27 April 1876. He died in a Dublin nursing home, on 3 August 1940.

Michael studied with the Christian Brothers at Synge Street. At the age of sixteen he decided to become a missionary priest and came to St. Joseph's college, Wilton, in September 1893. This college had been opened as a secondary school on 23 March 1889 when the students vacated their old school at Blackrock Road and carried their belongings across the city to the western suburb on hand carts. Having completed his secondary education Michael Two years later Michael went to the Society's major seminary at Cours Gambetta, Lyon, France. Michael was received as a member of the Society on 21 April 1897. He was ordained a priest in the Presentation convent chapel, Bandon, Co Cork, on 26 July 1899. We do not know the name of the ordaining prelate, but it is likely it was Bishop Thomas O'Callaghan, O.P., bishop of Cork, who was a close supporter of the Society. In his last year as a seminarian Michael taught English to the twenty five Alsatian and French priests of the Society who were resident in the house. They required a knowledge of English for their ministry in the Society's missions in British West Africa.

Michael's obituary in the African Missionary gives the following account of his first years as a priest. 'Michael was but 23 years when he was ordained. After ordination he stayed on in Wilton where he had already been teaching since the previous October. In September 1901 he set sail for the Gold Coast. A few short years sufficed to sap the strength of even the most resolute, and Michael came back to Cork a sick man in November 1903. He ever afterwards talked of his beloved Oro del Minna or modern Elmina.'

Michael's returned to Ireland at a time when efforts were being made to develop the Irish branch of the Society into an autonomous Province. Michael was to play an important role in this process. One of the necessary requirements for the concession of provincial status was the capacity of a branch to train its own students. Joseph Zimmermann, superior of the Irish branch, appointed Michael to this education apostolate in September 1904. He was first assigned to St. Joseph's college, Wilton, which provided secondary education for some thirty five young aspirants. Michael joined a staff which included Michael Rowan, William Butler, Tom Hurst and Maurice Curran. In addition to his teaching duties Michael took charge of the public church attached to the college. In 1911 the Irish branch received permission to develop its philosophical seminary, located at Blackrock Road, into a full theological seminary. This was a prelude to the erection of the Province in 1912.

Michael was appointed to the staff of the seminary, taking up his post in September 1911. Thomas Broderick was superior of the seminary and the other members of staff were Patrick Moylan, James McGettigan, John Corcoran. Michael taught moral theology and again, as in Wilton, he took charge of St. Joseph's church, attached to the seminary. In 1915 Michael was transferred to the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, which since 1907 had prepared students for the intermediate certificate. Two years later, in 1917, Michael returned to his two posts at Blackrock Road, remaining on as 'pastor' in the church after the transfer of the seminary to a new location, at Dromantine, Co Down, in 1926. Michael spent a year in Dromantine (1929 1930), before returning to Cork after the Provincial Assembly of 1931, as councillor to the new Provincial, Stephen Harrington. He was also appointed house bursar at Blackrock, and resumed his duties in the public church. After the Provincial Assembly of 1937 Michael was posted to Dromantine where he taught pastoral theology, elocution and book keeping. After a year he was invalided to St. John of God's hospital, in Dublin. He remained in hospital until the time of his death.

A small, alert man, noted for his good humour and pleasant disposition, he had a marked reputation as a confessor and preacher. In the classrooms of the Irish Province he was known by his students as 'Domine'. An obituary in the Cork Examiner noted that 'he was especially distinguished as a professor of moral theology, and from a vast store of observation was able to draw the aptest illustrations. He was a most convincing preacher, and during his long ministry at St. Joseph's church, Blackrock Road, he built up a great reputation in this field. It was during his years there, also, that he so endeared himself to a very wide circle of friends in the Blackrock/Ballintemple district. Father McCaffrey was a priest worthy of the finest traditions of the Irish priesthood'.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.