Matthew Hugh MM
* Birth in New York,
USA: [8 June 1934]
Father Matthew Kelleher, M.M.
Father Matthew Kelleher died early in the morning of 4 June 2002 of pneumonia at St.
Paul’s Hospital in Hong Kong. He was 67 years old and a Maryknoll priest for 34 years
(four days short of his 68th birthday and one week short of 35 years a priest).
Matthew was born in New York City on 8 June 1934, the only child of Matthew and Mary Kelleher. He attended St. Luke’s Parochial School and graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School in New York City in June of 1952. He graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting in June of 1956 after which he studied law for one year at the Fordham University School of Law.
Since he had been a member of the officer training programme while a student at Fordham and had been commissioned in the U.S. Air Force at graduation, Matthew began his required thirty-six months service in the U.S. Air Force on 5 July 1957. He was honourably discharged with the rank of 1st Lieutenant on 4 March 1960.
After leaving the service he worked as an auditor with Price Waterhouse & Co. until 6 June 1961, when he entered Maryknoll College, Glen Ellyn, Illinois to begin his studies for ordination as a missionary priest. He was ordained a priest at Maryknoll Seminary in New York on 10 June 1967.
After ordination Father Kelleher was assigned to the Maryknoll Mission Region in Hawaii, where he served as assistant pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Honolulu and taught theology for one year at Chaminade College in Honolulu. Using his education benefits as a military veteran, in August of 1969 he began study for a Ph.D. degree in Theology at the University of St. Louis, Missouri. He returned to Honolulu in September of 1971 and was appointed assistant pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Hilo on the big island of Hawaii.
On 6 October 1972, he was assigned to the United States Region to be close to his ageing mother and to teach religion courses at Cardinal Spellman High School in New York City. He was awarded his Ph. D. in Theology by the University of St. Louis on 1 August 1974. While teaching religion in New York City he also studied techniques of teaching English as a second language and received a Master of Arts degree in that field from Hunter College in 1981.
After his mother’s death in 1980, Father Kelleher was assigned to the Maryknoll Mission Region in Hong Kong on 29 September 1981 where he remained for the rest of his life. After Cantonese language study, his first main area of work was in religious education. For several years he worked in the Kwun Tong Pastoral Centre where he prepared and conducted religious education programmes for secondary schools and for one term he taught English in Gwangzhou.
Over the years Father Kelleher taught English as a second language to Vietnamese refugees in the refugee camps, to young offenders in the Hong Kong prisons and to external students of the University of Hong Kong. At the same time he provided a number of needed services to others at various times including some theology teaching at the Holy Spirit Seminary College, the writing of a series of personal interviews for the Sunday Examiner and helping out when needed in various parishes of the diocese.
Until the time of his death, Father Kelleher lived at the Kit Sam Secondary School in Kowloon acting as chaplain to the Sisters community there.
Father Kelleher was an intensely private man. An excellent athlete, he was an avid swimmer who won many medals in various competitions here in Hong Kong, yet he never said much about these to others and indeed never said much about the state of his health which included bouts with skin cancer for which he was taking chemotherapy up to his death.
Wake and funeral services were held on 8 June - which would have held his 68th birthday - at the Maryknoll Chapel in Stanley. Bishop John Tong presided. Burial was the same day in the Happy Valley Cemetery.
16 June 2002
美 國 天 主 教 傳 教 會 (瑪 利 諾 神 父) 甘 耀 漢 神 父
， 於 二 ０ ０ 二 年 六 月 四 日 清 晨 因 肺 炎 在 聖 保 祿
醫 院 病 逝 ， 享 年 六 十 七 歲 ， 服 務 天 主 教 會 達 卅 四
甘 神 父 一 九 三 四 年 出 生 於 美 國 紐 約 市 ， 六 一 年 加 入 美 國 傳 教 會 ， 六 七 年 於 紐 約 晉 鐸 後 服 務 夏 威 夷 及 紐 約 ， 從 事 宗 教 教 育 工 作 ， 七 四 年 在 聖 類 斯 大 學 取 得 神 學 博 士 。
八 一 年 獲 派 來 港 ， 學 習 廣 東 話 ， 後 於 官 塘 牧 民 中 心 工 作 數 年 ， 任 教 中 學 宗 教 科 。 甘 神 父 曾 於 越 南 難 民 營 、 監 獄 及 香 港 大 學 校 外 課 程 任 教 英 語 ， 亦 在 聖 神 修 院 神 哲 學 院 教 授 神 學 ， 為 教 區 英 文 周 報 (Sunday Examiner) 撰 寫 人 物 專 訪 ， 以 及 協 助 堂 區 工 作 。 甘 神 父 一 直 居 於 潔 心 林 炳 炎 中 學 ， 並 為 聖 母 潔 心 會 修 女 每 天 主 持 彌 撒 及 聽 告 解 。
甘 神 父 擅 長 游 泳 ， 曾 多 次 在 本 港 的 游 泳 比 賽 中 獲 獎 ， 但 為 人 謙 虛 低 調 ， 甚 少 向 人 提 起 ； 甚 至 絕 少 透 露 其 健 康 狀 態 ， 包 括 他 罹 患 皮 膚 癌 ， 至 去 世 前 仍 接 受 化 療 。
甘 神 父 的 遺 體 已 於 六 月 八 日 (其 六 十 八 歲 生 辰) 在 赤 柱 瑪 利 諾 神 父 會 院 小 堂 出 殯 ， 守 靈 彌 撒 由 湯 漢 輔 理 主 教 主 禮 ， 同 日 下 葬 跑 馬 地 聖 彌 額 爾 墳 場 。
2002 年 6 月 23 日
◆ 先賢錄－－香港天主教神職及男女修會會士 (1841-2010), 天主教香港教區檔案處, 2010.
◆ Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in Hong Kong 1920-2010, Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, 2011.