Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fr. Alwyn Harry S.J., "Rest In Peace"

West Kingston mourns pastor
October 20, 2007

Father Alwyn Harry S.J., who for almost 20 years was the pastor of St. Anne's Church, West Kingston, died October 16 in Weston, Massachusetts. Fr. Harry was best known for his legendary service in West Kingston, where he could walk the streets, day or night, in neighbourhoods with allegiance to either political party or the influence of warring gangs. When Fr. Harry's car turned the corner, shooting stopped to allow him to pass. In the midst of turbulence, he brought peace and calm. Fr. Harry, a graduate of St. George's College, along with the late Archbishop Samuel Carter, entered the Jesuits in 1944 and did his studies in philosophy and theology at Weston, MA and studied biology at Boston College. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 19, 1954. Variety of ministries On his return to Jamaica in 1955, Fr. Harry served in a variety of ministries: as a teacher of biology at St. George's College (1956-57); pastor at Holy Rosary Church on Windward Road (1957-59); pastor at Immaculate Conception Church, Stony Hill (1959-62); superior, treasurer, dean and lecturer at St. Michael's Seminary (1962-73; Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Kingston (1983-89); pastor at St. Richard's Church on Red Hills Road (1990-92); and, assistant pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Papine (1992-94). In 1994, at the age of 79, Fr. Harry retired, first at Patrick House, Campion College and then, requiring further medical attention, at Campion Center, the Jesuit Infirmary in Weston, MA. In addition to all of these activities, Fr. Harry served many years as chaplain on death row at the St. Catherine District Prison in Spanish Town. Caring for those who had been condemned to hang, Fr. Harry counseled, assisted in arranging appeals, and provided spiritual advice and sacraments to condemned men in their final days. Witnessing many hangings throughout the 1970's and 1980's convinced Fr. Harry that capital punishment was cruel and wrong, motivating him to be a strong advocate for the abolition of capital punishment. The funeral for Fr. Alwyn Harry will take place on October 23 in the Chapel of Campion Center, Weston, MA. A memorial service in Jamaica will be announced at a later date. Link to original story (here)


Gail said...

Fr. Harry was my uncle and I just returned from his wonderfully moving sendoff at Campion. My Uncle Alwyn never let on to us, as children, the difficult and important work that he did in Jamaica, and the number of lives he affected. We always knew he was amazing, but he was just our happy and slightly eccentric wonderful Jesuit uncle who always said, "Peace and love!" A life well-lived, indeed.

Joseph Fromm said...

Thank you for the personal touching account.

Geralyn said...

Peace and love, as Uncle Alwyn would say! As my sister wrote, he was simply marvelous, in ways that fascinated us as children (and a group of our little friends too as they came to have a look at him , a real priest, sleeping on our couch!) as well as in ways we would not even begin to understand until we got older. Although he is no longer with us in body, he's in our hearts forever. Well done, good and faithful servant...