Father James (Jim) Fitzpatrick
1922 - 2012
Written by Peter Joseph Cassidy
and reproduced with kind permission from the WFs' official website
He often reflected upon the war in Uganda and its impact upon the people and the economy and indeed its impact upon him. It was at this point that he appreciated the real importance of community as he maintained that community life ?em>brought a sense of security and moral support so very necessary for all living far from home... International community brings with it a special joy as we come to realise the varied gifts and attitudes of each confrere.?
His pastoral attributes could be summed up by his nick name ?ut the corners? He was always quick on his feet and if he could cut the corner rather than go around it, he would.
He was attached to the people and his life project was dedicated to the plight of AIDS victims. He quietly responded to those living with AIDS and other projects by sending money on a regular basis. You would often see him on the mobile phone, calling Uganda and catching up on the news. Uganda was very much part of his life and prayer.
On the 25th July 2001, Jim returned to Ireland to face his retirement. As the Provincial of Uganda wrote at the time ?his is not just home leave but his retirement... This time he is serious? I can imagine that Jim found this decision difficult. In 2002, there was a further correspondence whereby Jim requested to return to Uganda for a number of months but sadly his request was denied. As hard as the decision was to retire, Jim found himself making good contact with his family and friends in Ireland. This helped him to settle and in his own quiet manner he kept in contact with his family. He would on occasion pay them a visit but he was reluctant to invite them to his home in Templeogue. It was only when Jim fell sick that we realised how important he was to his family. They came to visit him and it was beautiful to see the love and deep sense of appreciation expressed by them towards Fr. James as they called him.
In mid August 2012, Jim began to deteriorate and was transferred to our local hospital where he spent seven weeks. As he became weaker over the weeks, it was obvious that Jim had little time to live. I stayed with him till the early morning and prayed the breviary with him and at that point I realised a deep sense of peace where he gave up the will to live. He died on the 28th September 2012. In the words of the hospital staff ?his was a man of God? a beautiful testimony to a person who dedicated his life to God.
His funeral Mass took place in the local Parish Church of St. Pius X on the 1st October 2012. He is buried in the Missionaries of Africa plot in Bohernabreena Cemetery, Dublin.
I leave the last word for Bishop Nkaijanabwo of Kasese Diocese, ?e used to call him ?ara makona?that is ?ut the corners? likewise he was quick in loving and assisting people. Touching me personally, he was my teacher at the minor seminary, may the good Lord reward him for all his missionary labours and grant him Eternal Rest in Peace.?br>
Peter Joseph Cassidy
1947 - 2013
From Mike Ellis, September
The poor soul had been being treated for this condition for some years now. He had had been through some quite traumatic treatment modalities which had held the disease in check but not cure him. Sadly he died yesterday leaving his wife Stella and their two children.
If it is acceptable to you all I will prepare a ?ith sympathy?card and send it to his wife Stella on behalf of all of us who knew Peter.
He was a kind and generous man who had a great affection for the church. Those of us who participated in the 50th anniversary reunion which he organised and funded in London in 2009 (of our starting at St Columba? with him in 1959) will recall the event with fondness!
If you are still believers, please remember Peter and his wife and family in your prayers.
May he rest in peace!
The Independent Catholic News, September 11th 2013
Fr John Miller was born in 1906 in Portsmouth,
but moved with his military family (his father was a Sergeant
Major) to Ireland and South Africa before settling in Bishop?
Waltham in 1916. He went to the local primary school prior to
attending the Priory from 1919 to 1924. He was ordained priest
at Carthage, North Africa, in 1931 and was assigned to Uganda.
After a short leave at home he left for Africa with all the
instruments necessary to start a fife and drum band. Petit Echo
described him as full of energy and fun and fond of sport. Five
of his brothers served in the army, one becoming a Lieutenant
Colonel. He, himself, was known for his authoritative voice and
administrative skill, and served as Pro-Vicar of the Gulu
Spurr (Sister Mildred, WS)
Myra Spurr (Sister Mildred, WS), whose parents
ran the Mafeking Hero Inn in Bishop? Waltham, was born in 1910
and joined the White Sisters in 1931. She trained in Algeria,
obtained her teaching certificate in England, and from 1936
served for 19 years in Uganda where she became headmistress of
Uganda? first Catholic Senior Boarding School for Girls.
George Aidan Elrington OP
Fr George Aidan Elrington OP, the convert son
of Lieutenant General Elrington of Vernon Hill House, Bishop?
Waltham was the first Catholic priest from the area since the
He made a point of visiting the Priory whenever he came to visit his family home. His sister was also a convert and was a generous benefactor of the Bishop? Waltham parish.
I remember Andy who sat at the same table as me in the Refectory at St Columba? in September 1954. I was a prefect at the time and supposedly i/c the table. This meant that I had to go up and ask Fr. Tolmie, the Superior, for more bread when we had scoffed the regular serving.
Also at the table were: Dick McKenna, Danny O?agan, Sandy McLeod, Jim McQuade and 3 others. The bread connection arose again in 1955 when Andy had the tip of one finger cut off in the hand-operated bread slicer. I did not witness this, but Andy showed us the damage when he arrived at The Priory a couple of years later.
Andy and Sandy spent many a lunch time recreation playing 2-a-side football against Pat Shanahan & me on a pitch that we improvised on the field that was the house side of the ?lue Danube?
Ah Happy Days!
Rest in Peace, Andy
CHRIS BENTON :
I remember well Andy losing the tip of his finger. I also recall some months later his being rushed to Peebles hospital. We heard him screaming in agony in the infirmary overlooking the chapel. We heard at first that it was thought he was suffering from stomach cramps while playing basket ball too early after a meal. As I recall, it turned out to be acute appendicitis. I'm sure these two incidents were responsible for causing him to fall behind in his studies and having to repeat his second year at St Columba's.
However, his loss was our gain. Frank Murphy and I (both now 2nd year) joined up with Andy for our most enjoyable weekly 'expeditions' under the 'command' of Dick (Brains) McKenna (who was also repeating his second year) - camping in the first valley, exploring the far reaches of the Tweed and swimming in it, scaling all 3 Eildon Hills in an afternoon not to mention commando style forays into Earl Haig's estate at Beymerside.
Some 40 odd years after leaving the Priory, I had the great pleasure of re-connecting with Andy and meeting his lovely wife and children. Although distance prevented regular meet ups , like Danny O'Hagan, we kept in touch by phone.
A very kind and down to earth man- much as he was as my school pal. A dedicated family man who touched the hearts of many and who will be greatly missed.
(L-R) : Dick Tobin, Pat Rice, Martin Leonard (ex-Navy and now in Cumbernauld),
Andy Mooney and Eric Creaney