《Fr Naylor》__ Yu Fong-Ying (61)

As Hin Shing said, Fr Naylor never taught us; he came to Hong Kong in 1960.
He came to our Golden Jubilee Reunion celebration dinner in Hong Kong in 2011. One photo Hin Shing
attached to his email shows me talking to him, just the two of us. I remember the conversation.

Before the Reunion, I prepared to publish the 18 letters which Mr Patrick O’Flanagan wrote to me between 1963
to 1966, as a tribute to his beneficence and influence on me. (The article appears in the Features section of WYKAAO).
But I had some gaps in my knowledge, i.e. the year of his passing.
Hin Shing put me onto Fr Zee who referred me to Fr Naylor. I emailed him on July 14, 1999 and he replied
on July 20, 1999. I shall quote the part of his email related to him and Patrick:

“Greetings from KWY, which is celebrating its 75th year.
I try again, as I wrote a very long message to you which was lost by a slip on the keys.
I knew Patrick O’Flanagan as PADRIG.
I first met him when I studied Science at the National University of Ireland in Dublin, in 1953.
He was very distinctive, always formally dressed as a clerical student.of philosophy, with his umbrella, and
immaculate black suit. Fr. Sean Coghlan who was with me, knew him as they both came from the small city of
Limerick, where he was known as a serious student. At University, Fr. Coghlan met him often, but since I was in the
College of Science, I hardly ever saw him.

Fr. Coghlan and I left the university in 1956, while Patrick left the seminary and studies English Literature. Then in
1960 Fr. Coghlan and I came to Hong Kong. We found Padrig here, as Fr. Anthony Farren, still here employed Padrig
as an English teacher. He was soon in the production of the Gilbert and Sullivan plays.”

The email narrated Patrick’s teaching in WYK, his sojourn to the University of Sophia in Japan
(the same years I was in HKU), his return to WYK in 1966, subsequent departure “about 1968 in summer,” and a meeting
between them in Limerick in 1971.

The narration touched on Patrick’s last two years in HK and how he “began to fall apart.” In consultation with Fr Coghlan
I did not make use of Fr Naylor’s narration in my Introduction to the 18 Letters. It was not relevant to the topic of the letters.
When I wrote to Fr. Naylor and told him about my use of his email, he respected my decision but also said firmly,
“I stood by what I wrote.”

Fr Naylor, though schooled in science, is something of a historian and saw himself as one. This is evident in the articles
he wrote and published in The Shield. Any historian stands by his words. I respect that.

When we met in the Reunion, I approached him to thank him for his long email about Patrick O’Flanagan and we
talked about him briefly. The subject of my omissions did not come up.

I thank him deeply for taking such a lot of trouble to tell me about Patrick’s life from his return to WYK and onward.
May he rest in peace!

Fong ying

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