File 6 - 'Parish Sodalists Red Book' and American publications on the Sodalities

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'Parish Sodalists Red Book' and American publications on the Sodalities


  • 1944 - [1949] (Creation)

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3 items

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(06 April 1919-28 February 1978)

Biographical history

Born: 06 April 1919, Dublin
Entered: 07 September 1936, St Mary's, Emo, County Laois
Ordained: 28 July 1948, Milltown Park Dublin
Final Vows: 02 February 1954, Belvedere College SJ, Dublin
Died: 28 February 1978, Coláiste Iognáid, Galway

by 1975 at Canisius College, Buffalo NY, USA (NEB) Marriage Encounter◆ Irish Province News

Irish Province News 53rd Year No 2 1978

The sudden death of our parish priest, Fr Jack Kerr, came as a great shock. Although he had been parish priest here for only a little over two years, he had achieved a great deal, and had endeared himself by his kindness, generosity, and openness to all. His work in the parish, his involvement in Marriage Encounter, the Charismatic Movement, and the Samaritans, brought him very many friends not only here in Galway, but elsewhere as well. This was evident in the huge number of Mass cards for him, and in the very large attendance at his funeral.
His remains were removed from the Residence to the Church on the evening of March 2. The Assistant Provincial, Fr Joseph Dargan, was present. Immediately afterwards Fr Jack's cousin, Fr Frank Kerr, a diocesan priest from Clones, Co. Monaghan, said the public evening Mass for him.
On Friday, March 3, over forty priests concelebrated at his funeral Mass, and many more were in the congregation. The chief concelebrants were the Provincial, Fr Patrick Doyle, the Rector, Fr Robert McGoran, and Fr Frank Kerr. The former Bishop of Galway, Dr Michael Browne presided. The present Bishop, Dr Eamonn Casey was unavoidably absent, as he was confined to the house after a severe dose of the flu. In his sermon, Fr McGoran paid fitting tribute to Fr Kerr and his work.
To Fr Jack's sister and brother and his many relations our sincere thanks.

Crescent College Comprehensive
At the moment of writing, the very sad news has reached us of the death of Fr Jack Kerr SJ, former Chairman of the Board of Management. Few did more for the new Crescent than Jack did. From the preliminary planning stages in the 1960's right through his period of active chairmanship up to 1974 the school could not have had a better friend and champion. In very difficult moments his support of the school administration and his genuine concern for the well-being of pupils and staff was of incalculable importance: with humour and great humanity he helped to unify diverse elements in the new Board of Management structure and to ensure that the over-all good of the school was served with dedication and competence. Jack Kerr brought joy and laughter to so many that his death is felt in a very personal way: to have known him, worked and laughed with him was a bonus to life. May he experience everlasting joy. On Monday, March 6th, the members of the Board of Management, staff and pupils will join in offering Mass for his eternal happiness and peace.

Obituary :

Fr John Kerr (1919-1978)

The Province received an unpleasant shock when it heard of the death, on February 28th, 1978, of Father John Kerr. Father Kerr had not yet completed his sixtieth year, so that his sudden death was a serious loss to the Province in which Jesuits of the most active years of life are becoming alarmingly small in number.
Father Kerr was born in Dublin on April 6th 1919. He was educated at O’Connell’s School and entered the Noviceship in Emo on September 7th, 1936. He completed all his studies in Ireland and was ordained in Milltown Park, Dublin, on July 28th 1948. He pronounced his Final Vows at Belvedere College on February 2nd 1954.
Father john Kerr spent the years 1950-1960 in the Irish Messenger Office, Belvedere; and after a year at Manresa he spent a year in Tullabeg as Professor of Metaphysics, and Minister (1961 1962), He was Rector and doctor of Philosophy in Mungret College 1962-1968, and Rector in Belvedere from 1968-1974,
Father John Kerr spent the year 1974-1975 studying “Marriage Encounter”, at Canisius High School, Buffalo.
From 1975 to his death in February 1978 he lived in St Ignatius college, Galway, where he was Promoter of “Marriage Encounter” and where he was Parish Priest of the Church.

◆ The Belvederian, Dublin, 1978


Father Jack Kerr SJ

Those who knew Fr Jack Kerr during the years he lived in Belvedere first as National Director of the Sodalities of our Lady and later as Rector must have been deeply shocked by the news of his sudden death on the last day of February this year. Those close to him knew that he had not been well for some time - he had been in hospital twice undergoing treatment for angina - but there did not appear to be reason for undue alarm. He had just returned to Galway after a period of recuperation in Dublin when he took ill and died within an hour.

Fr Kerr had many gifts which were given ample scope to develop in the various posts he held in the Society of Jesus. Shortly after ordination, he was: made national Director of the Sodality, a post he held for eleven years. Then followed six years as Rector of Mungret College, Limerick, after when he came to Belvedere as Rector in 1968. In 1974, he went to the United States to gain experience of Marriage Encounter, which was growing in importance both in the States and in Ireland. The following year, he returned to Ireland and was sent to Galway as Parish Priest of St Ignatius parish and to initiate Marriage Encounter in the West of Ireland.

His six years as Rector in Belvedere were years of achievement: they were also years which saw the growth of many close friendships with a host of people connected with Belvedere. Fr Kerr brought to fruition the preparatory work done by a number of previous Rectors with the building of the new school block, the gymnasium and the swimming pool. It was due to his energy and devoted hard work that the Covenant Scheme was launched, which over the years has done so much to meet the very large costs of building and maintaining the complex. It was he also who was responsible for buying the land at Nevinstown, which may well prove of great value to the College in the years to come.

Those who were associated with him during those years might well have considered that his outstanding gifts were organisational: he had a shrewd business sense, an ability to grasp complex details and great energy and drive. But this was only one aspect of his character: more important for his work as a priest and as a Jesuit was the quite unique gift he had for relating to people. He had always possessed great humanity, warmth, sympathy and understanding. There are many connected with Belvedere, I know, who can vouch for this ability of his to comfort and strengthen in times of bereavement and distress. But it was in the last years of his life during his time in Galway that these gifts really came to flower: his life appeared to take on an added quality. In a short period of two and half years, he affected many people in quite an astonishing way and his death has left a void in their lives. He made people believe in thernselves; he made them feel special; he healed them emotionally and spiritually; he helped them to forgive themselves; he gave them a spirit of joy. He accepted them for what they were with all their faults and failings, just as he accepted himself with his own weaknesses. And this attitude to people was a mirror to of his attitude to God: for him, God was a Father who knew his failings and yet loved him and loved all of us. As a result of contact with him, people developed an attitude of more joyful trust in the Lord.

We offer our sincere sympathy to his sister and brother and his other relations and friends who feel his loss deeply; and we pray that God our Father may take Fr Jack back to Himself to the peace and joy which will be his forever.


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Handbook entitled 'Parish Sodalists Red Book' belonging to Fr John B Kerr SJ. Includes booklets, sample membership cards and sodality seals. The articles are aimed at a American audience. Includes 'An Introduction to the Sodalities of Our Lady' by Fr Douglas E. Daly SJ and 'Moderator's Manual for the St. Mary's Integrated Four-Year High School Sodality Program'.

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The Irish Jesuit Archives are open only to bona fide researchers. Access by advance appointment. Further details:

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No material may be reproduced without the written permission of the Archivist. Copyright restrictions apply. Photocopying is not available. Digital photography is at the discretion of the Archivist.

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