Hugh Regan WF 1933 - 2005
Taken from the WF / WS magazine, Issue No. 386 dated February
/ March 2006
Compiled by Fr Peter Kelly W.F.
|He was lovingly referred to by the many priests and
bishops he has taught as a 'moving encyclopedia'.
Fr Hugh Regan was born on 8th July 1933, in Tranent, East Lothian,
not far to the East of Edinburgh. He was the eldest of a family of
four children two boys and two sisters. His father worked in
the Co-operative hardware store in Tranent. The family moved to Galashiels
when his father became manager of the hardware department in the Co-op
there, and they lived there from 1938 to 1948.
One of Fr Hugh's sisters recalls how the Church, the faith and the
Mass were always very important in their lives. They always had night
prayers and the family rosary and kept the First Fridays. Fr Hugh
was bright and precocious and interested in everything that was going
on. He was an omnivorous reader, collected stamps and was keen on
athletics and rugby. Fr Hugh also picked up from his father an ability
to mend anything mechanical or electrical.
Fr Hugh felt called to the priesthood from a very early age and the
White Fathers from St. Boswells were well known in the area. He attended
the Catholic primary school and then he went to Galashiels Academy.
At end of the third year he had to decide which subjects to concentrate
on, in view of his future career. So he made enquiries at St. Boswells
and began studies there in 1948. From 1950 to 1952, he was at Broome
Hall, Surrey, for philosophy studies.
He got his first bike when he was twelve years old, and became a great
cyclist and on free days he cycled for miles around the local countryside
and persuaded others to go with him. On two occasions he cycled all
the way to Scotland and back again for his holidays.
Fr Hugh made his noviciate at 's-Heerenberg in Holland from September
1952 until September 1953 and then did three years of his theological
studies there. He was a good student and gifted at languages. The
students were not encouraged to learn Dutch, but Fr Hugh managed to
learn French and pick up quite a lot of Dutch, discovering it had
affinities with the old Scots language.
|He was ordained in 1957 at Galashiels, after which he
spent three years in Rome studying dogmatic theology at the Gregorian.
He was then appointed to Nigeria, where he first worked in three parishes:
1964 lnisha; 1965 St. Peter and Paul, Ile-Ife; and from 1967-68 in
St. Benedict, Oshogbo.
During these years in parish work he was able to learn the language
and get to know the people and their culture. In 1968, Fr Hugh was
appointed to Ss Peter and Paul Major Seminary in Ibadan, where he
spent the rest of his life, nearly forty years, on the staff of the
seminary, apart from two breaks for further study in order to enhance
his work in the seminary.
Fr Hugh always sought and worked to be as competent as possible for
his work in the seminary. He soon acquired skill in the use of computers,
when they became generally available and he had several in his room.
Not only did he have this one appointment for nearly forty years,
but for all that time, he occupied the same two rooms.
From 1975 to 1978 Fr Hugh was also the White Fathers' Regional Superior,
and combined this job with his work at the seminary. The seminary
was not in Oyo Diocese, where all the White Fathers were stationed,
which meant a lot of travelling for him, when the seminary was not
For the last four years of his life, Fr Hugh struggled with prostate
cancer and connected health problems. He came home each year to see
the doctor, but insisted that he could just as well take the medication
in Nigeria as in Scotland and continued with his work in the seminary.
He was still giving some lectures at the beginning of June 2005, but
had to come home on the 23rd June. He was so ill that he went straight
to hospital that day. He died two weeks later on the 7th. July. His
two sisters Catherine and Josephine were with him during his last
His funeral at Rutherglen was attended by his family, many relatives,
friends and White Fathers.
Here are some appreciations of Fr Hugh from people
who knew him in Nigeria.
|Fr ENGLEBERT BEYER, who was with him at
SS PETER & PAUL SEMINARY for 29 YEARS, writes
"Fr Hugh was very practical, he had tools to repair all that
could be repaired and to prepare works that could be done by himself.
He could do it in a meticulous way, carefully paying attention to
everything. Is his small, precise handwriting an indication of his
quality? He was devoted in his priestly life and ministry. What he
demanded from himself he also expected from others.
The training of the African clergy, to help young men to become competent,
reliable, faithful and holy priests, was his main task, which he tried
to perform wholeheartedly. He prepared his lectures well. He was strict
and demanding as regards the studies and the discipline.
He helped with the ministry outside the seminary. The Medical Missionaries
of Mary had perhaps the priority: they also helped him most in the
last weeks he spent in Nigeria."
An appreciation from Fr BENEDICT ETAFO,
the current rector of SS PETER & PAUL SEMINARY :
"The Rev. Fr Hugh Regan is our oldest member of staff in this
Seminary. He has been here since 1968. Fr Regan has trained over 1,200
priests and about twenty Bishops for the Church in West Africa, especially
Nigeria. Fr Regan also taught every Nigerian priest that is now on
the Staff of this Seminary.
He is like our father. His ability to still relate with us as a colleague,
even though he was our Professor and Mentor, is one of his gifts which
we always marvel at. As a colleague Fr Regan was very concerned and
solicitous about our good and our welfare. As a Professor, Fr Regan
had a sincere love for the students and the Church. Fr Regan has taught
almost every course in all areas of Theology. It was Fr Regan who
single-handedly developed our Library to its present enviable size
and standard. In this, as in other fields, he had an encyclopaedic
grasp of detail. He Was interested in everything. He never agreed
to lower his standards since his idea of the Catholic priesthood was
sound and lofty. Fr Regan was respected and loved by the students
for which he sacrificed his life right from a tender age. He shall
surely be missed by all Staff and Students."
|An appreciation from
a sister of THE SISTERS OF OUR LADY OF APOSTLES
"Fr Hugh was a wonderful priest, a friend and brother to all
the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles (O.L.A.). He made himself available
at all times to assist, support and encourage others. He was kind,
thoughtful, self-sacrificing, always ready to fulfil a need, not counting
the cost to himself. There was such a good rapport between him and
his students that he could make similar demands upon them.
He was one with his colleagues and a father to his students, concerned
that they become mature priests and working tirelessly to this end.
He lived a simple life and was quietly effective and gentle. The words
of Isaiah's first song of the servant of Yahweh: 'He does not break
the crushed reed nor quench the wavering flame' could well be
applied to Fr Hugh.
His homilies were always unique: they were short, interesting, based
on current, personal, real-life stories, demanding whole-hearted attention
and with a punch line which challenged us to a greater gift of self
to the Lord and to one another. Without doubt they reflected the demands
he made on himself.
Many times he could be seen making his way to class in the Seminary,
encircling his brief case with one arm, a stack of books on the other.
If one visited his office on business or to enjoy a cup of coffee
with him, one must expect firstly to pick one's way through the many
books on the floor or scattered on chairs, tables and every available
space! Not surprisingly his students named him affectionately the
In spite of Fr Hugh's busy life and complete dedication to the students,
he was always ready to have a chat and to give of his time if he was
not due in class.
His selfless dedication did not cut him off from his family and friends
in Scotland. He spoke of them with the greatest concern and affection.
Fr Hugh's passing leaves a deep void in the many lives he touched.
No doubt he will pray for all of us and never be far away from the
people he loved."
May He Rest in Peace
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Owen McCoy, M. Afr. (Bishop
Emeritus of Oyo)
The following is taken from a newspaper cutting, dated some
time in July 1988 kindly supplied by Andrew Rampling, a parishioner
Bishop Owen McCoy WF, the first Bishop
of Oyo, Nigeria, died suddenly in London last week, aged 81. He was
about to celebrate his Silver Jubilee as Bishop.
Born at West Derby, Liverpool, he entered the White Fathers in 1926
and was ordained in 1933.
His first appointment was to the White Fathers'
parish at Heston, west London. In 1937 he was sent to the missions
in northern Gold Coast (now Ghana). Six years later he was posted
to Western Nigeria where, in 1949, a new mission territory was carved
out by the Vatican department for missions (Propaganda Fide),
and was entrusted to the White Fathers. It comprised two-thirds of
the Oyo Province of Nigeria and was designated by Rome asa Prefecture,
the first stage in the development of a new mission territory. Fr
McCoy was appointed by Rome as its ecclesiastical superior.
At that time the new Prefecture, one-and-a-quarter times the size
of Wales, had only four mission stations and a total of 14,000 Catholics
in a population of upwards of four million. By 1963 things had developed
so well that the Prefecture was made into a diocese, with Bishop McCoy
as its first bishop.
Under Bishop McCoy, new mission stations were founded, hospitals and
rural clinics, mothercrafts and women's social training centres were
opened as well as a wide range of boys' and girls' schools, vocational
training units, agricultural settlements and self-help projects.
He opened a junior seminary with 125 places for Nigerian students
for the priesthood. Aware that the Church would only take permanent
roots if there was eventually an African bishop, in 1971 he obtained
from Rome the nomination of an auxiliary bishop, who, however, was
taken from him to be Bishop of Lagos two years later. But a second
Nigerian auxiliary succeeded Bishop McCoy in 1973.
Returning to England that year, Bishop McCoy offered his services
in several dioceses until his retirement to White Fathers' communities
in 1982, first at Rutherglen, Glasgow, and latterly at Ealing, West
London. He was buried at the White Fathers' corner, Kensal Rise Cemetery,
Information gleaned from the Catholic Hierarchy website
|27 Sep 1907
||West Derby, Great Britain
|29 Jun 1933
||Priest of Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers)
||Parish Priest at Heston, Middlesex
|1 Apr 1949
||Prefect of Oyo, Nigeria
|18 Jan 1963
||Bishop of Oyo, Nigeria
|28 Apr 1963
||Bishop of Oyo, Nigeria
|13 Apr 1973
||Bishop of Oyo, Nigeria
|28 Jun 1988
||Bishop Emeritus of Oyo, Nigeria
Bishop McCoy was parish priest at Heston from September
1935 to August 1937.
He was a priest for 55 years and a bishop for 25 years.
He Rest in Peace
Mrs June Briveau
Good friends to generations of
Source: the White Fathers website http://www.africamission-mafr.org/
|June died on 24th January 2006 in Barnet Hospital. The funeral
will took place on Wednesday 8th February 2006 at 10.00 a.m.
in Barnet followed by cremation. June was buried in the tomb
of Len her husband (+ 2000).
"We seem to give June back to you,
O God, who gave her to us.
Yet, as you didn't lose her in giving,
so we do not lose her by her return.
You do not give , as the world give, O Lover of souls. What
you give, you do not take away,
for what is yours is ours if we are yours.
And life is eternal,
and love is immortal,
and death is only an horizon,
and an horizon is nothing more save the limit of our sight.
Lift us up, Strong Son of God, that we may see further;
Cleanse our eyes that we may see more clearly;
Draw us closer to you that we may know ourselves to be nearer
to our loved ones who are with you.
And while you do prepare a place for us,
prepare us also for that happy place,
that where you are we may be also for evermore.
(According to a prayer found in Fr. Bede Jarrett's handwriting
in his prayer book)
MP for Chipping Barnet attends Barnet Hospital Fete
Tuesday 7th June 2005
Theresa Villiers MP,at the fete,
with organiser June Briveau
This Saturday, the newly elected MP for Chipping Barnet,
Theresa Villiers, joined the Friends of Barnet Hospital
for their annual fund raising fete.
Speaking just after the event Theresa said, "I was
very pleased to be able to join the Friends of Barnet Hospital
for their fete. The Friends do a fantastic job in raising
vital funds for the hospital. The fete had all the traditional
stands like the tombola and the coconut stall, but with
some more unusual attractions like reflexology and neck
massage. The fete organiser, Mrs June
Briveau, did a wonderful job. I'd like to take this opportunity
to pay tribute to the wonderful work done by June Briveau
and the Friends of Barnet Hospital.
The fete is just one of the many events the Friends organise
every year. All the money raised goes to improve services
at the hospital and to provide the best care for patients.
As MP for Chipping Barnet, I will do all I can to support
out local hospital."
Taken from the MP's website
| Fr John Sandom , M. Afr. 1930 -2006
The following information was taken from the White Fathers-White Sisters magazine (Feb/March 2007)
Fr John Sandom will always be remembered as a teller of stories.? He was too charitable for gossip.? Early on in a conversation, he would launch into a tale. It might be about some journey he had made, or about his beloved Kangaroo Point.? Mostly he told tales about the Africa that he had known.?
Ordained in 1958 for the mission in Africa, this man of Dartford in Kent soon arrived in Uganda.? His fellow missionary in Uganda, Fr Peter Kelly, says quite simply that he ‘did good work in Africa.’?? He worked in three different parishes and in the Ibanda and Kitabi Minor Seminaries.? During these years of hard graft, he stored in his mind the raw material for his stories, about eccentric colonial Europeans and wild animals.?
His love of the Mass and the breviary grew and shone out.? So did the ease with which he moved socially.? Not one to complain, when President Iddi Amin’s unstable regime failed to renew his visa, he willingly moved to what was then Upper Volta, now Burkina Fasso. It was not that he did not miss Uganda, for he truly loved his work in Uganda but he had a gift for adapting to new circumstances.? Teaching again in the seminary in Burkina Faso, he was meticulous in his work and quickly felt at home.?
There followed a period in which he took courses at L’Arbresle and Marianella and went to Jerusalem for a thirty day retreat.? Fortified again, he was sent to help the White Father mission in Australia.? This was a short-lived project to make the African mission of the Church better known in Australia.? The White Fathers took responsibility for the parish of Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, and set about making contacts and showing how the White Fathers work in communities, with a view to attracting young Australians to our missionary task.? Fr John laboured for eight happy years with that aim, in the mean time becoming an Australian citizen.
When he was appointed to Scotland after that, he fulfiled his duties and renewed his contacts.? He met up with people from his school days in Our Lady’s High School, Dartford, in the Salesian’s school in Burwash and in Cowley, Oxfordshire, with people from his home parish of St Anselm’s, Dartford, from his National Service days in the R.A.F. and elsewhere. His Christmas correspondence was legendary.?
Throughout his adult life, Fr John had managed his diabetic condition.? As the years passed, his health gradually declined.? His last years were spent in? London.? His old habits remained: writing letters, story-telling and collecting junk.? He loved to show White Father students of English round the sights of London, speaking with his wonderfully clear voice, forever tinged by Australia.? His habit of rescuing tools and, frankly, rubbish from tips (‘it might be useful some day’), became more acute as time passed. He had not been born wealthy and was appaled to see any waste.? It meant that throughout his life he was willing to offer his services for maintenance jobs.
It was fitting for a man who valued his contacts that when the time came, a friend from his youth, Bishop Frank Walmsley, Bishop Emeritus of the Forces, presided over his funeral and burial.? His heart had finally given up on 22nd October 2006.? He was buried, surrounded by his nephews and members of his family, his missionary brothers and others, in the White Fathers’ plot in St Mary’s Cemetery, Kensal Rise, London.
Eternal Rest give unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him.? May he rest in peace.
The following information was taken from the White Fathers' international website:
| Villa Cavalletti
|Session 3 mois
||London, Holland Vill
|London Oak Lodge
|Back to the Father (69)
May He Rest in Peace
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