Fr Gerard Hackett SMA
The death has taken place, unexpectedly, of Fr Gerard (Gerry) Hackett SMA. May he rest in peace.
Fr Gerry took ill early on the morning of Thursday, 31 March and was admitted to the Mercy Hospital where he died at 3.15am. He was 80 years old.
Gerard Hackett was born in Bornacoola, Loughrynn, Co Leitrim, in the diocese of Ardagh & Clonmacnoise, on 19 December 1930 to Charles and Annie (née Winters). He attended the local National School and completed his secondary education at the Sacred Heart College, Ballinafad, Co Mayo which was run by the SMA. He then moved to the African Missions College, Wilton. From 1950 – 1952 he attended the SMA Novitiate at Cloughballymore, Kilcolgan, Co Galway where he took his first oath of membership in the Society on 2 July 1952. Though not a noted sportsman he was a very good swimmer during his time in Kilcolgan.
He studied theology at the African Missions Major seminary, Dromantine, Newry, Co Down. Gerry was ordained a priest on 13 June 1956 in St Colman’s Cathedral, Newry. One of a class of thirteen ordained on that day, he is the 6th of the class to go to his eternal reward.
His first appointment was to the Archdiocese of Monrovia, Liberia where he served in several parishes, including Sannequellie deep in the interior of the country.
In 1963 he was transferred to the Archdiocese of Ibadan, Nigeria where he ministered for eleven years. Among the parishes he served were Ikire, Eleta, Oke-Ado (Cathedral parish) and Mokola (where, from 1969 – 1971, he was responsible for the development of the Yemetu area. It is now a parish in its own right).
After leaving Nigeria in 1974 Fr Gerry served in the Archdiocese of New York, USA.
Ill health forced his return to Ireland in 1982 where he served in several different posts, living at the African Missions House, Blackrock Road, Cork. He was appointed to the Promotion Office as Mission Boxes Secretary, with responsibility for the records of this important fundraising activity of the Society (1982 -1984).
For a little over one year Fr Gerry assisted in St Mary’s Cathedral Parish, Sligo, in the diocese of Elphin (1984-1985). He later served as Assistant in the Provincial Archives (1987 – 1988) in Blackrock Road.
In recent years Fr Gerry has been in declining health and he retired in Blackrock Road where he was a much-loved member of the St Theresa’s community in Blackrock Road. Despite his ill health Gerry still enjoyed a cigarette and a chat with those who visited him. Right up to the day of his death he joined with the rest of the SMA community for the daily celebration of the Eucharist at 10.30am.
Fr Gerry is mourned by his brother Tony, sister Mary (Harrington), nephews, nieces, friends and confreres in the Society of African Missions. His brother, Fr John Hackett SMA, predeceased him on 26 December 1993.
Funeral ceremonies will take place at the African Missions, Blackrock Road, Cork with burial in the SMA Community cemetery at the African Missions, Wilton.
Thursday, 31 March: The Reception of remains of Fr Gerry will take place at 5pm and Community Rosary at 7pm.