It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Gerald Kearney, known affectionately as ‘Paddy’. Paddy was instrumental in establishing the Diakonia Council of Churches in 1976, together with Archbishop Denis Hurley. In fact, much of Paddy’s life was tied to the work of the archbishop, whose life Paddy documented in the biography, Guardian of the Light: Denis Hurley – Renewing the Church, Opposing Apartheid. In addition to the work that Paddy did with Diakonia, of which he was the director for more than forty years, he also occupied his time as an historian, with much of his research focusing on the relationship between apartheid and the church.
Paddy was also the chairperson of the Gandhi Development Trust, which earlier this year launched a year long programme to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mohandas Gandhi, and his wife Kasturba. The launch of the programme took place in the Old Court House Museum, where Gandhi appeared as a lawyer representing an Indian businessman.
Never one to rest on his laurels, Paddy recently collaborated with Brother Philippe Denis and editor, Jane Argall, on the compilation of a collection of letters written by Archbishop Denis Hurley. Entitled A Life in Letters: Selected Correspondence of Denis Hurley, the book was launched just a few weeks ago. Paddy was returning from the Johannesburg launch of the book on Wednesday when he started to feel unwell. Suspecting pneumonia, he was taken to hospital by his brother Brian, where he suffered a fatal heart attack.
Our deepest condolences go out the family and friends of Paddy Kearney, and to the entire Diakonia community. Our country has lost a humble giant with the passing of Gerald Patrick Kearney.
A number of services are being held to celebrate the life of Paddy Kearney. Tomorrow, Thursday the 29th November, a civic memorial service will be hosted by the Premier of KZN and the Mayor of eThekwini at Durban City Hall at 16h00. On Friday, interfaith and ecumenical prayers take place at Diakonia from 16h00 until 21h00, and on Saturday a Requiem Mass will be celebrated by Wilfrid Cardinal Napier OFM.
For further information please make contact with the Denis Hurley Centre
Images courtesy of the Denis Hurley Centre Facebook page