John Dooley SJ – ‘Gentle, generous, and good’
Tributes were paid to Fr John Dooley SJ who died in Cherryfield Lodge nursing home, Dublin, on 12 November 2022, aged 92 years. Fr Hector Mwale described him as “gentle, generous, and good” during the opening remarks at the Funeral Mass in Gonzaga College Chapel, Dublin on 16 November 2022. The Zambian diocesan priest, currently studying for his PhD in Church history at St Patrick’s College Maynooth, spoke on behalf of the many students taught by Fr Dooley during his years a missionary in Zambia.
Fr John was known to visit the Jesuit communications office in Dublin before his illness prevented him from doing so. There, he spoke of the need to address the various issues of the day in a respectful manner, including the right to life from womb to tomb. He was always generous, gracious, kind and gentle, even if he didn’t agree with a person on an issue.
Fr John was born in Essex, UK, on 22 May 1930. He was raised in Tramore, County Waterford, and he was educated at Waterpark College, Waterford and Clongowes Wood College SJ, Kildare. He entered the Society of Jesus at St Mary’s, Emo, County Laois on 7 September 1946 and he took his first vows two years later.
His Jesuit formation included studies in Arts at UCD, Dublin; philosophy at Tullabeg, County Offaly; and theology at Milltown Park, Dublin. He was ordained a Jesuit priest at Milltown Park Chapel, Dublin, on 31 July 1961.
During his earlier years as a Jesuit priest, he taught in Coláiste Iognáid SJ, Galway and Clongowes Wood College SJ, Kildare; and he taught in Instituto Leone XIII Jesuit school, Milan, Italy from 1966 to 1980.
Later, he was an Irish Jesuit missionary in Zambia from 1981 to 2008. He was a teacher and Spiritual Father at St Edmund’s Secondary School in Mazabuka and Chaplain and teacher at Mukasa Minor Seminary in Choma. He also assisted in the Parish at Nakambala Catholic Church in Mazabuka.
Fr John returned home to Ireland in 2008 due to health reasons. Since 2010, he lived in Milltown Park, Dublin where he assisted in the community and at Cherryfield Lodge nursing home.
He moved to Cherryfield Lodge nursing home in 2018 where he prayed for the Church and the Society of Jesus. He was buried in the Jesuit plot at Glasnevin Cemetery following his Funeral Mass on 16 November 2022.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.