Rev. FITZGERALD, Thomas SJ
* Birth in
Ireland (愛爾蘭): [8
Death of Father FitzGerald
Father Thomas FitzGerald, S.J., who worked in Hong Kong from 1938 to 1955 and in Malaysia or Singapore for the past twelve years, died in Singapore on Wednesday, 12 July 1967, aged 62.
Father FitzGerald was born in Ireland on 8 February 1905. He entered the Jesuit novitiate there in 1922 and was ordained priest in 1936.
He came to Hong Kong in 1938. After two years spent studying Cantonese, he went to the Regional Seminary, Aberdeen, where he taught philosophy and later theology. Towards the end of the war he went to Macao to teach in the College of St. Luis Gonzaga. After the war he taught English Literature in Wah Yan College, Hong Kong till 1955. For many years he combined this teaching with a vigorous chaplaincy to the R.A.F.
In 1955 he went to Singapore to lecture in the Teachers’ Training College. In 1958 he moved to Penang as chaplain to a very large complex of educational works run by the Sisters there. In 1964, with seriously impaired health of which he took singularly little notice, he returned to Singapore, still ready for hard work. In the last year of his life he took over the editorship of the Malaysian Catholic News and the wardenship of Kingsmead Hall.
The extraordinary variety of posts filled by Father FitzGerald - lectureship in philosophy and theology, secondary school teaching R.A.F. chaplaincy, convent chaplaincy, administration, editorship - and the success he achieved in them testify to his extraordinary power of concentration on the matter in hand, whatever it might be. In ordinary conversation this concentration amounted to and endearing eccentricity - he would concentrate fully on the subject under discussion if he was distracted from that subject; he was totally distracted and showed no memory of the original subject. In his work this was no eccentricity, but and astonishing power of focusing all his remarkable powers on whatever task lay before him.
Even the onset of very bad health could not rob him of this invaluable gift, He was a sick men, already in his sixties, when he started his highly successful editorship of the Malaysian Catholic News, but he greeted the work with all the enthusiasm with which he had greeted the first work that had fallen to him as a young priest.
A Solemn Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul was celebrated in the chapel of Wah Yan College Hong Kong, on Monday, 17 July, by Father F. Cronin, S.J., Regional Superior.
21 July 1967
◆ Biographical Notes of the Jesuits in Hong Kong 1926-2000, by Frederick Hok-ming Cheung PhD, Wonder Press Company 2013.
◆ 先賢錄－－香港天主教神職及男女修會會士 (1841-2016), 天主教香港教區檔案處, 2016.
◆ 一九二六年至二零一六年在香港的耶穌會會士影像回憶, 紀歷有限公司, 2016.