A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Fr John Cedric ‘Jack’ Ward, s.m. 5 Nov 1922 – 24 June 2012

Fr Jack Ward sm

..outdoorsman, WW2 navigator, lawyer, priest-teacher, missionary, prison chaplain, man of compassion...

At the time of his Golden Jubilee a confrere said of him:

The 24-carat gold nugget among our Jubilarians. On November 5th Jack celebrated his 87 th birthday. John Cedric - Lancaster navigator and airman, lawyer, pastor and patriot, adept chalk duster and disciplinarian in the classroom, missionary in Samoa, chaplain to prisons and hospitals with an extraordinary sense of compassion for those people others have passed by on the opposite side of the street.

Jack served in Nelson, St Bede’s and St Patrick’s Silverstream before joining an illustrious band of Marists in Oceania. In the Pacific he taught at Chanel College in Samoa, then served in parish ministries before returning to NZ in 1985 to continue his mission with the Samoan chaplaincy in Auckland, and then accepted the challenge of Maori Pastoral Care. Jack is still a legendary walker and tramper, with the DNA of either a Kenyan marathon runner or a Himalayan thar - maybe a genetic tad of both!

While in Otara Jack invited parish youth to join him for a wee stroll in the Waitakeres. They were delighted to go and look after this octogenarian, Patele Wati, and carry his pack. They didn’t know what hit them. It was not long before the kids were gasping and panting on the forest floor, muscles cramped, tongues and lungs hanging out while Jack, calm and composed, waited patiently at the next bend. Word soon got around. When Jack looked for companions on his weekend forays into the wilds, there wasn’t a kid or parent in Otara without some urgent commitment in another part of South Auckland on that day. Fr Jack Ward

For me Jack showed his real spirit and empathy, when he returned to Germany three years ago, 60 years after the end of the second World War, to share his pain and sympathy for the people of Bremmen who had suffered tragic casualties from allied bombing in the last few weeks of the war. It was an amazing trip. For me, that was the hallmark of Jack’s concern for others, the mark of the Marist we honour this evening.

by Kerry Prendeville sm


The last of the Lancasters
Powerful black-winged
I’ve seen her rise
The huntress of war riven skies
Kin to Orion

Her fierce wild music echoed around
the stars
Death was her load
Her wings knew well the road
To her doomed destination
a quiet monster on the ground
a shape of power subdued

Though soon again with life imbued
as night her time drew on
How well she served
The skies know her no more
Nor hear her Merlins roar
But we who knew her do not forget

Jack, you’re a bit like an aging Lancaster
You’re now out of service
Your last mission complete
With chocks under your wheels
And soon wings will replace your feet.

Michael Ward

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