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Société des Missions Africaines –Province d'Irlande

O MALLEY John né le 22 juin 1918 à Cloonty, Louisburgh
dans le diocèse de Tuam, Irlande
membre de la SMA le 1er juillet 1941
prêtre le 17 décembre 1944
décédé le 20 septembre 1981

1945-1981 missionnaire au Nigeria
préfecture puis diocèse de Jos
Udeni, Alogani, Kwa
Shendam, Kafanchan, Jos
1981 Blackrock Road, Cork

décédé à Cork, Irlande, le 20 septembre 1981,
à l'âge de 63 ans


 Father John Francis O'MALLEY (1918 - 1981)

John O'Malley was born at Cloonty, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, in the archdiocese of Tuam, on 22 June 1918. He died at the Bon Secours hospital, Cork, on 20 September 1981.

John studied at the Sacred Heart college, Ballinafad, Co Mayo (1934 36) and St. Joseph's college, Wilton, Cork (1936 1939) before entering the Society's novitiate and house of philosophy, at Kilcolgan, Co Galway, in the autumn of 1939. He went to the major seminary, at Dromantine, Co Down, in 1941 where four years later he completed his theological training. He was admitted to membership of the Society on 1 July 1941 and was ordained a priest by Bishop Eugene O'Doherty of Dromore diocese, at St. Colman's cathedral, Newry, on 17 December 1944. He was one of a group of seventeen ordained on that day.

John served in the prefecture of Jos, in northern Nigeria for thirty six years (1945 1981). On his arrival, in November 1945, William Lumley, the prefect apostolic, posted him to Shendam, the oldest station in the North, which had been founded in 1907. After six months, during which he studied Hausa, passed an examination in that language and received faculties to hear confessions, he was appointed to Udei. This district had been founded in 1934, under the patronage of St. Patrick, with a view to establishing the Church among the Tiv people. Udei was home of the Tiv Training Centre also known as the Catechist Teacher Elementary Training Centre a boarding school for young men from the outlying villages and towns, who wanted to become teachers and catechists. After six months John was appointed to Alogani district where Denis Donovan was superior. Alogani was situated in a remote rural district, amidst the Mada hills. It was also the scene of a tragedy in April 1940 when one of the founding missionaries, Andy Geraghty, died as a result of a fall from a horse. John ministered in Alogani for eighteen months and was then appointed superior of Kwa district. Kwa, situated about 20 miles from Shendam, had become a residential station in 1931. During the course of 1949 John supervised the transfer of the vernacular training college from Shendam to Kwa. With him at Kwa was Francis Benedict (Ben) Sands, a young priest who had been ordained in 1941, and who took charge of the 'parish'. In October 1949 Ben died of malarial fever, which was a tremendous blow to the prefecture.

John came to Ireland on his first home leave in December 1949. He returned to the prefecture a year later, spending his entire second tour of duty as superior of Kwa district. In June 1953 he had joy of seeing the jurisdiction erected as a diocese. John was to remain in the jurisdiction for a further twenty eight years. He had an excellent relationship with Mgr. Lumley's successor, John Reddington who was nominated first bishop of Jos diocese in April 1954. John too gave faithful service to the first Nigerian bishop of Jos, Gabriel G. Ganaka, who succeeded Dr Reddington in 1974. John, with his talent for building construction, was responsible for many of the external signs of progress, the churches, mission residences and schools, in places like Shendam, Udei, Kafanchan, Alogani, Vom and Kwa. But above all he was the pastor of his people. Indeed when the news of his death became known in the diocese many thousands of people in the parishes of Kwa, Shendam, Pankshin, Akwanga, Kafanchan, and not least in his last parish, St. Michael's, Jos, mourned the loss of a man who was widely known and greatly respected in the whole of Plateau State. John's greatest achievement was his wonderful way with the local people. He was good at the language [Hausa] and after he left a parish his former parishioners travelled many miles to seek his advice and help. The Africans truly loved him. In June 1981 John returned to Ireland in poor health. Informed that the illness was incurable he faced the future with exemplary courage. He took up residence in the Province's motherhouse at Blackrock Road but had to be transferred to the Bon Secours hospital early in September.

He is buried in Wilton cemetery.