Rev. NEARY, John SJ
in Ireland (愛爾蘭): [20 August 1889]
Only a few septuagenarians and octogenarians in the Hong Kong public can have even faint memories of Father John Neary, who died in Ireland last week, aged 94. He has nevertheless his little niche in our history. He was one of the two Jesuits - Father George Byrne was the other - who came here on 2 December 1926, to start Jesuit work in Hong Kong. Their early decisions have influenced all later Jesuit work here.
He stayed here only five years. In 1931 his health broke down and he had to return to Ireland, where, as Master of Novices or as Instructor of Tertians, he played a large part in the formation of most of the Jesuits now in Hong Kong.
Memory of him lasted long even in this city of short memories. In my earlier years here, I was amazed to find a variety of people still asking for news about him many years after his departure. The late Father Andrew Granelli, P.I.M.E., spoke more and more of Father Neary as his own life neared its end. Their friendship had outlasted forty years of separation.
Father Neary never
forgot Hong Kong. When I visited him two years ago he was already 92, but he was
full of eager and probing questions about developments here. Streets and
buildings and people were still fresh in his memory. He had shortly before been
greatly cheered by a visit from Archbishop Tang, whom he remembered as a young
Jesuit Student. His thoughts were with us to the end. He deserves a few inches
of space in a Hong Kong Catholic Paper.
4 November 1983