OBITUARY OF FR. BARRY JOHN O'LOUGHLIN, S.J. [HAZ)
[21 Sept. 1939 – 05 Aug. 2019]
Fr. Barry John O’Loughlin was born in Melbourne, Australia, on 21 September 1939, the second child of John O’Loughlin and Catherine. He was preceded by a sister, Joan. His brother, Kevin, was born some years later. He was christened Barry John. After some years in the primary school of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Deepdene, he moved to the Xavier College Preparatory School, Burke Hall, where one of his Jesuit teachers was Father Gavin O’Sullivan. He continued his education at Xavier College.
Barry’s Jesuit vocation developed during the years he was attending our schools, Burke Hall and Xavier College, Kew. Barry joined the Jesuit novitiate, Loyola, Watsonia on 1 February 1959, and pronounced his first vows on 2 February 1961. The following 3 years were spent in philosophy studies, during which time he applied to the Australian Provincial, to be sent to the HAZARIBAG MISSION.
His Novitiate and three years of Philosophy spent at Loyola College. Watsonia helped to foster his missionary vocation as during those years several scholastics were sent from Watsonia to India. Barry laid a deep Jesuit foundation during those formative years at Watsonia and in 1964 joined the Hazaribag Jesuit mission in India.
Arriving in India on 1 January 1964 he at once started teaching in St. Xavier’s, Hazaribag, under Fr. John Moore as Principal. In June 1966 he had a six months language study at Manresa House in Ranchi. This opened up for him the spirit and structure of the vast Ranchi mission. In 1976 he joined Fr. Hans Hendricks in the rapidly developing Santhal parish of Maheshmunda, which has since been given over to the Bhagalpur Diocese. There he acquired a great interest in the Santhal apostolate.
He went to St. Mary’s College, Kurseong for theology in June 1968. There he reaped the rich theological ferment aroused by Vatican II and also by the G.C. 31. He was also very fortunate to have as Rector, Fr. Herbert Alphonso, an expert in Ignatian spirituality, who encouraged all to make deep exegetical study of the Spiritual Exercises along with their theology. Barry worked hard at this study and emerged from Kurseong with a deep zeal to help people make the Exercises in an Ignatian manner. He kept up this study of the Exercises.
Barry worked in several parishes, Hazaribag, Mahuadanr, Sale, Chhipadohar, Bhurkunda and Daltonganj from 1972 to 1987. In Mahuadanr he was fortunate to work with very experienced pastors who helped him acquire a deep knowledge of Adivasi culture, as well as parish procedure. Barry was able to combine parish work with his zeal for the Spiritual Exercises, and so became a successful parish priest who could easily and successfully turn his hand to giving the Spiritual Exercises.
After his Tertianship in Dindigal, in 1987, he went to Chicago for specialized studies in spirituality. These study years refined even more his skills and as a result since Tertianship there have been many calls on his talents. After his active pastoral work, he focused his entire attention in Retreat and other spiritual ministries. Being in this ministry for a long period of time he had developed his own methodology and creativity in directing retreats. The dates hide the time given to retreat direction which covered places from Hong Kong, Myanmar, Cambodia, and many places in India. He joined a pilgrimage group in July 1993, which took him to Medgjugatje (Bosnia), Loyola, Lourdes and Liseux. Over the years he gave each year, talks on retreat direction techniques to the Jesuit Tertians at Sitagarha.
He was also a great confessor and spiritual guide. As a confessor he gave much emphasis in the confession of love. In this confession of love, one needs to be aware of God’s unconditional love and abundant mercy rather than just being sorrowful of one’s sins. So, he encouraged the penitents to approach to this sacrament with an attitude of gratitude and deep love for God.
In 2006 Barry moved to the Pre-novitiate community in Shahpur, Daltonganj, where he taught the pre-novices. Barry was not satisfied merely relying on his old bundles of retreat notes, rather he kept himself updated in this regard. Whether it be teaching the pre-novices or giving retreats to other groups, he worked with single mindedness and devotion in preparing the matter well. In order to achieve his desired goals, Barry followed a strict self-disciplined life. He was a person of determination and dedication.
He was a man of simplicity and humility which attracted many people towards him. He was very sensitive to the needs of others, and thus he was a man for others. Barry used hearing aids as his hearing was poor, but when he found out that one of the neighbors had a hearing problem, he gave away his own hearing aid to that person.
Fr. Barry was a man of prayer and action. His prayer life was well reflected in the way he celebrated the holy mass, the way he related with people in the community, when he visited inmates in jail and in the other places. He always had a special love for the sick and prisoners, so he liked to say mass in the Daltonganj jail on Sundays. He was on the mailing list of the special Catholic prison ministry in India. In all these years Barry developed an apostolic combination of parish and retreat work that made a real contribution to the Hazaribag missionary scene.
In April 2018, while giving a retreat to the Missionaries of Charity Sisters in Kolkata, Fr. Barry developed a serious infection on his left calf muscle which was diagnosed as gangrene. As he needed a long time to get healed, he stayed in the dispensary of St. Xavier’s College Kolkata for 8 months. Our sincere gratitude to the Provincial of Kolkata and St. Xavier’s College community Kolkata for taking good care of Fr. Barry, particularly Br. Chintamani SJ.
On February 06, 2019 Barry moved to Australia and took up residence at the Campion House. It was while under treatment and undergoing skin grafts in the Royal Melbourne Hospital that his final illness took place. After a heart attack he suffered kidney failure, and before dialysis could begin, he died in the early morning of 05 August 2019, in the Royal Melbourne Hospital. We express our gratitude to the Provincial of Australia, and those others who gave much appreciated support and help to Barry during his last days of stay in Australia. Fr. Barry’s funeral mass was held on 14 August, 2019 in the Immaculate Conception Parish Hawthorn Australia and burial will be on 16 August, 2019.
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