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Fr Tom Conway - 18th July 1915-2009



Tom died this morning at 2am Thursday 27th August in St Francis Care Home, Glasgow.
Born on 18th July 1915, he was 94 years old
of which 62 of missionary life.
He was a faithful missionary in England and Scotland, in Tanzania and Zambia.

On Sunday 30th August, his body will be received into St Anthony's Catholic Church, Govan.
The Requiem Mass will be held there on Monday 31st August at 12.30pm

Let us keep him and his family in our prayers at this time.

Fr Tom's training for the Priesthood :

Osterley 1939-41, St Columba’s 1941-43, Rossington Hall 1943-44, Monteviot 1944-48, Ordained Jedburgh 1948)

Diocese:
Glasgow
Born:
Glasgow
18-07-1915
Spiritual Year:
SuttonColdfield
03-10-1944
Oath:
Rossington Hall
29-07-1947
Ordained:
Monteviot
24-06-1948

Date
Function
Places
Countries
28-04-1949
  St Boswells,Scotland
G.B.
05-09-1954
  Bishop's Waltham
 
13-12-1955
  Tabora Tanzania
22-09-1956
Seminary Itaga  
10-02-1961
Bursar Totteridge
G.B.
01-07-1962
Superior Rutherglen
 
23-05-1964
Grande Retraite Villa Cavalletti
Rome
01-06-1966
Superior Ratho
G.B.
26-02-1967
  Bishop's Waltham
 
01-06-1967
Superior Rutherglen  
01-01-1969
Professeur Seminary
Lubushi
Zambia
30-05-1974
Superior Sutton Coldfield
G.B.
01-06-1975
Conseiller Provincial    
01-08-1976
Superior Ratho  
07-09-1977
Superior Rutherglen  
01-06-1979
  London,Stormont Rd
 
01-09-1979
Conseiller Provincial
 
15-07-1980
  Rutherglen  
01-07-1982
First Cycle Totteridge  
01-09-1983
Ministry Rutherglen
 
30-10-2000
Residence Rutherglen
 
01-11-2007
Residence H.C. Rutherglen  
27-08-2009
Back to the Father (94)
Glasgow
G.B.
The above was taken from the White Father's International website,
contributed by the British Province.
Fr Tom's training details supplied by Peter Finn).

 

At his funeral Mass, a member of Tom? family read a moving tribute from family members who could not be present. In it, Tom was described as a person who was there for each of them at every moment of their lives, in good times and in difficult times. He was further described as someone who was able to interact with them at all stages of their lives: as children, as teenagers and as adults. Indeed, in the words of an English playwright writing of his namesake, St Thomas More, Tom was described as ? man for all seasons? This description of Tom was echoed, in another way, by a confrere reading the notification of his death on the Intranet. He remarked: ?hat a lot of appointments? and indeed there were, but it was precisely because Tom was so willing to be of service in whatever capacity asked of him, and because he was so easy in community that especially in his years in the Province, he accepted so many different appointments and lived them well.

Tom was born in Govan, Glasgow, on the 18th July 1915 and would have been extremely happy to know that he was buried from the very parish church in which his parents were married and where he received Confirmation. Times were hard and Tom grew up with a great sense of belonging to a large extended family that helped and supported each other and where each one pulled their weight. It was not surprising then that he left school in his early teens and began working as a grocer? assistant to help the family. This he did for ten years before responding to a persistent ?nner voice?calling him to the missionary vocation. Since he had left school at an early age, he was asked to spend two years (1939-1941) at the Jesuit-run Osterley Late Vocations College, London. Tom immediately felt at home in this environment and responded well to the extra schooling and responsibility of becoming the student dean in his final year. Already, it seems younger students admired and respected him, something that was to be remarked upon time and time again in his later years of study with the Society. Here, too, his musical talents continued to flourish and were much appreciated. He played the piano well and had a fine singing voice, well into his declining years.

Due of travel restrictions, Tom was to make all his studies for the priesthood at home, together with others from the Province, thus denying him an initial taste of international community life. On leaving Osterley, Tom began his studies for the priesthood in his native Scotland at St Columba? College in the Borders. He did his novitiate at Sutton Coldfield in Birmingham and finished with four years of theology at Rossington Hall, Yorkshire. Again, times were hard, but Tom often spoke of these years with fond memories of the great spirit of camaraderie he found. Those responsible for his training spoke of a man respected and liked by everyone, good-natured and kind, with a steadying influence over the younger, more exuberant confreres! He was ordained on the 24th June 1948 at Jedburgh, the parish closest to our Monteviot community and pictures of his and others?ordination are still proudly displayed in the parish history books and shown to any visiting Missionary of Africa.

After ordination, Tom was to spend a further seven years working in the Province before leaving for Africa. If these years were a disappointment to Tom, he did not show it and accepted a variety of appointments with grace. He initially spent time helping with the Brother? Novitiate at Monteviot before accepting an appointment as bursar to the junior seminary at St Boswell?. The management of finances and the practical affairs of a bursar did not rest easily on Tom? shoulders, though he showed himself to be a fine teacher and established a great rapport with the boys. Perhaps for this reason, he was transferred to become Director of Propaganda in Scotland at the end of 1953.

The Provincial wrote that he had every confidence in Tom and that he had only to ?o ahead with all the devotedness to which we are accustomed in you.?As always, Tom accepted willingly, though expressing some doubt about his abilities in this area. He need not have done so, as he proved a very able promoter of the missionary vocation and fundraiser for the Society. It was a base he was to build on in later years of service in the Province, so much so that the length and breadth of Scotland, the name of Tom Conway became synonymous in parishes and schools with the Missionaries of Africa, right up to the time of his death. Mention of his name opened the door to even the most wary of parishes. During this time, he was to co-found the house at Rutherglen, near Glasgow that has become the cornerstone of our presence in Scotland to this day. A final brief year, as bursar at the junior seminary in England, and Tom was happy to receive an appointment to Tanzania in late 1955.

On arrival, besides beginning his Swahili course, Tom was appointed secretary to the Archbishop and chaplain to the English-speaking community, including those from Goa. A hoped-for appointment to pastoral work did not materialise and on completion of his language course, Tom was appointed to Itaga seminary. Somewhat dismayed, he accepted the appointment reflecting that the training of diocesan clergy was a primary missionary concern and encouraged by the remark of the well-known Fr Johnny Brown, ?rders is orders.?At Itaga, he was, as always, very happy in his teaching and dealing with the students, but again found the work of bursar demanding.

During the holidays, he very much enjoyed the opportunity to do pastoral work and to promote vocations for the diocese, something he had done so well in Scotland. Regular written contact with the Provincial and visits from other confreres of the Province encouraged him greatly and it was only with some reluctance that he accepted to return to the Province in 1960.

Tom? second period of home service was to last until he returned to Africa in 1969. Once again, there is a list of appointments reflecting how ready he was to do whatever was asked of him. Initially, he spent a year as bursar at the Totteridge Scholasticate, where he had a great influence over the scholastics, impressed by his gentleness and his quiet, unassuming spirituality. Taking his duties as bursar seriously and struggling with them, he often stayed up late, to the detriment of his health. A much more suitable ap-pointment followed when he was reappointed to his beloved Scotland as superior of the house he had helped found and again became fully immersed in the promotional work of the Society. At that time, this involved not only missionary appeals, but many social events: dances, fundraising events, garden fetes, and the like. Tom proved himself able for any occasion and at ease with everyone. In speaking of their dealings with Tom, many have said that he was a real gentleman and a ?entle man.?His beautiful singing voice was much in demand on these occasions.

As Superior, he took his responsibilities seriously with a tendency, however, to overtax himself and worry, obliging him to take periods of rest at this time and later. Many of his worries were ill-founded, as he was well-liked and had an easy air of authority in the community. Particular praise was given to him by the then Provincials for recruiting more mature and serious candidates to the Society.

Exhausted by his work, Tom left for the Long Retreat at Rome in 1964, not sure he would, in his own words, survive the first week! It was, however, to be a time of great grace and peace for him, to which he often fondly looked back. Before returning to Africa in 1969, Tom helped to oversee the closing of the junior seminary system in the Province and the establishment of a hostel for Scottish boys in Edinburgh, where he was the first superior.

For his second tour, Tom was appointed to Zambia, where he went immediately to Lubushi Seminary to teach English. Once again, he was popular with the students and a fine teacher. Over the years, various conflicts over teaching methods and among the staff unsettled Tom and because of this, he anticipated his home leave so that he could take a good rest. After a rest and medical check-up, Tom again returned to Lubushi and with a new rector initially found the situation more relaxed. The presence of three young members of the Volunteer Missionary Movement was a great support to Tom and they appreciated his concern for them. He remained in touch with one of them for the rest of his life. Tensions, however, returned in the seminary and Tom returned home for good in 1974.

His return to the Province was welcomed by the Provincial team and once again there were plenty of appointments waiting for him. First, he helped with promotion in England and Wales and then returned to Scotland, again as superior at Rutherglen. Apart from a brief spell in charge of the First Cycle and at Provincial House, Tom was to remain in Scotland until his death. As Provincial Councillor on two occasions, he was to prove a great support to the then Provincial who did not enjoy good health. Tom? advice was always sound and well-measured.

In 1979, he handed over responsibility for the Rutherglen house while continuing to reside there. His long-term association with the house and its work was an invaluable asset to those who followed him, not to mention the treasury of stories and jokes he had to share! Retirement was not yet on the cards and Tom continued to make missionary appeals and help local parishes until his eighty-fifth year. He particularly enjoyed the social evenings, fundraising events, and dances by which the well-known ?arents and Friends Association? support the work of the Society. His long association with them meant that he counted many of them as close friends and he was often requested to attend family events and called upon for advice. Occasionally, as before, the work and the stress got the better of Tom and he was obliged to take extended breaks, either with his family or in a parish, but he always returned full of enthusiasm for the next task.

His first seven years of retirement in community were happy ones. He celebrated his Golden Jubilee and 90th birthday with great gatherings of the community, family and friends. In the quietness of his room, he enjoyed reading, classical music and he rediscovered his talent for painting. All his life, Tom had been a great letter-writer and the staff in the Promotion Office could always rely on him to help them write letters to benefactors who had suffered a great sadness. He did this with immense sensitivity and tact.

It was clear that he possessed a great gift of empathy and understanding with those who were suffering. Always close to his family, Tom was able to continue to offer them the support they needed at different times, to which they responded with great affection, including him in their holidays, celebrations and visiting him regularly. Throughout his life, from his early days in the seminary, it had been remarked that Tom possessed a deep and quiet spirituality and during these final years, he spent many hours praying in the chapel. His presence in the house was a calming and supportive one and he could always be relied upon for a quiet reassuring chat and word of advice.

Sadly, in 2000, he suffered a stroke and after a long and painful period of hospitalisation, he made his home with the Franciscan Sisters at their Govan Nursing Home in Glasgow. Initially, he found it hard to settle. Understandably, the effects of his stroke, in particular, caused some of his frustrations, in particular the loss of his ability to walk. In time, however, he became more relaxed and calm. He was popular with the other patients and ready, as always, for a good hymn or song, whether during the daily recitation of the Rosary together or at a social evening. Alone in his room, he continued to enjoy listening to his music and derived great pleasure from watching old movies, some of them many times over. His faith remained strong and he was not afraid of death. On hearing of the death of his long-time friend and confrere, Jimmy Barry, he asked for a glass of whisky, raised his glass and said, ?ell done, Jimmy, God speed and see you again soon? He died peacefully on the 27th August after receiving the Sacrament of the Sick and in the presence of his niece and nephew.

At his funeral, the homily reminded the listeners of Tom? endearing qualities of tolerance, understanding and his quiet and simple faith. He was, in the words of St Paul, ?ll things to all men?

His faith, it was said, was an inspiration to all, especially those of no faith or whose faith was wavering. Several times, in his last days, he told his family members not to grieve his passing, saying, ?t is the laughter we will remember.?Fittingly then, his memorial card bears the words of his namesake, St Thomas More, who said at his impending death, ?ray for me, as I will for thee, that we may merrily meet in heaven.?/p>

Chris Wallbank

May He Rest In Peace

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Vincent J Callaghan  1936 -2009


'Vinny', as he was affectionately known, came to the White Fathers' from the diocese of GLASGOW. He attended The Priory 1949-55 and went on to become one of the first batch of people to study  Philosophy at St Augustine's, Blacklion
(1955-56).

Vinny (right) and Eugene, sweeping out the foyer during lunch at the opening of Blacklion,1st September 1955. (Two people who are sorely missed).


My family and I would like to express their sincere appreciation to everyone for coming today and for all your thoughts and prayers offered. A Mass will be offered up for all your intentions.

Vince/ Vinny would have been pleased to see so many of you here today.

Vincent James Callaghan was born 31st May 1937 in the Parkhead area of Glasgow before moving to Priesthill in 1948, where he first got involved with St Vincent de Paul and the Blue Army.

In 1951 he was accepted by the White Fathers and went to The Priory, Bishop's Waltham, ten miles from Southampton where he spent the next 4-5 years before moving on to St Augustine's College, Blacklion, to study Philosophy.

He did 2 years National Service, which involved a stint in Cyprus.

Vincent married Mary Reilly at St Robert Bellamine Church in September 1962 and moved to Govanhill thereafter.

A job at Burroughs led them to move to Glenacre Road, Cumbernauld in 1964. By the time they left Glenacre to move to Melrose Road in 1973, they had a family of four. (Vincent Jnr, Patricia, Anthony and Bernard.

Vincent then left Burroughs to go to MFE in Livingston in 1980 but the family missed Cumbernauld and relocated to Condorrat in 1981. He then joined Barr & Stroud, Anniesland, before the family moved again in 1984. This time to Sandyknowes Road, South Carbrain.

This would be Vincent's last house move and he eventually retired due to ill-health from Rosyth Dockyard in 2001.

A parishioner of St Joseph's Parish from the beginning, Vincent was very much involved with the Church, the Prayer Groups, Charismatic Renewal and Spred.

The Catholic Church was very much a part of Vincent's life and he met many a life-long friend through this vocation.

Vincent is survived by his wife, children and six grandchildren and his good friend Honey.

PLEASE MAKE ALL DONATIONS TO STRATHCARRON HOSPICE, RANDOLPH HILL, DENNY FK6 5HJ


May He Rest In Peace

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Ludge McGovern
  19  -2009


Ludge, in May 2009

John Byrne wrote (May 2009) on the occasion that he, Mike O?allaghan and Joe McInty revisited Belcoo to see MairŽad, Olivia and Charlie O?olan :

" . . . Our great friend Ludge McGovern from Glangevlin who had driven us here, there and everywhere in his trusty minibus called, having been invited to by our hosts. This was a fantastic reunion. We were able to tell Ludge how much we individually had appreciated all he did for us, and let him know that we were sure that others from St Augustine? would have felt exactly the same. I can truthfully say that he had never reflected on such a possibility ?he did what he was asked to do, and thought of it as just his job. "

May He Rest In Peace

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