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Gerry Gogan Obituary: Irish Priest Expelled From Biafra

Father Gerry Gogan. Image via Irish Times
THE IRISH TIMES

Fr Gerry Gogan, who has died in his 92nd year, was one of the dwindling band of Irish missionaries expelled from Nigeria after the civil war of 1967-1970. A member of the Spiritan order (historically called the Holy Ghost Fathers in English-speaking countries), he served for 17 years in that country

He learned to speak Igbo, the major language of eastern Nigeria, and was loyal to his flock when it mattered most. After the civil war broke out, he returned from leave into the breakaway state of Biafra on an aircraft which landed at night on a stretch of road converted into makeshift airstrip, in complete darkness and under threat of anti-aircraft fire from Nigerian forces. Much to the discomfort of he and other missionaries, they couldn’t smoke for fear the glow of the cigarettes would betray the aircraft. As a pastor in blockaded Biafra he oversaw over a dozen feeding stations linked to 27 refugee camps.

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