Jack Finucane

(17/02/1937 - 07/06/2017)

Fr. Jack Finucane, a remarkable figure in Irish missionary work and humanitarian aid, dedicated his life to serving those in need, leaving an indelible mark on communities ravaged by famine, war, and hardship. Born in Limerick on 17th February 1937 alongside his twin brother Jim, and influenced by their elder brother Aengus’s missionary endeavors, Jack embarked on a journey of service and compassion that spanned continents and touched countless lives.

Educated by the Congregation of Christian Brothers, Jack’s path led him to join the Holy Ghost Fathers and pursue ordination in 1963. His early years as a parish priest in rural Nigeria were soon overshadowed by the outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War in 1967, thrusting him into emergency relief work amid the devastating famine in Biafra.

With his brother Aengus by his side, Jack played a pivotal role in organizing food shipments from Ireland to the starving Biafran population, defying Nigerian authorities to deliver much-needed aid. The harrowing experiences of this period led to the founding of Concern Worldwide, a beacon of hope in the face of adversity.

Despite facing imprisonment and expulsion from Nigeria, Jack’s resolve remained unshaken as he continued his mission in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and beyond. From overseeing relief efforts during the Bangladesh Liberation War to navigating the complexities of famine and political instability in Ethiopia, Jack’s leadership and compassion knew no bounds.

His encounters with iconic figures like Bob Geldof and Bono underscored his influence beyond borders, inspiring global efforts to alleviate suffering and promote social justice. Jack’s tenure with Concern Worldwide spanned decades, marked by tireless dedication to humanitarian causes and unwavering commitment to those most in need.

Even in retirement, Jack’s passion for service endured, as he responded to crises in Sudan and Sri Lanka, embodying the spirit of solidarity and compassion that defined his life’s work. His legacy as an “unassuming leader” and a bridge between Ireland’s missionary tradition and modern-day humanitarianism lives on, inspiring future generations to embrace the call to serve humanity with humility and empathy.

Jack died suddenly on Wednesday afternoon in Kimmage Manor where he had been attending an annual retreat.

As Ireland bids farewell to one of its most revered sons, Fr. Jack Finucane’s legacy of compassion, courage, and commitment to justice will continue to shine brightly, illuminating the path towards a more compassionate and just world for all.

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Connection with area: Roman Catholic missionary of the Spiritian Fathers order and founder of Concern who trained in Holy Ghost College, Kimmage