Jesuits in South Africa last weekend celebrated the ministry of 93 year old Father Gerard Lorriman SJ on the occasion of his retirement. The Regional Superior, Fr Michael Lewis SJ, was among the priests who attended Gerry's final Sunday Mass at St Mary's Church in Nyanga, South Africa, on 30 March. Fr Lorriman was born in Tyne and Wear and gained a degree in medicine from Durham University before subsequently working at Newcastle-on-Tyne Royal Victoria Infirmary. He was married and has two children, John and Francesca. After the death of his wife, he decided, in 1970, to apply to enter the Society of Jesus. Fr Lorriman studied in London, Rome and the United States before being assigned to South Africa, part of the British Province. Between 1982 and 1983, he was chaplain at Groote Schuur Hospital, and then worked in Crossroads and Nyanga, Cape Town. In 1987, he was appointed to the newly built church and parish of St Mary's Nyanga, where he experienced the injustice of apartheid and shared in the struggle for justice. In his first year at Nyanga, he achieved notoriety for confronting armoured personnel carriers and tear gas at the funeral of four black South Africans, who had been killed the previous week in clashes with the police. He led the funeral procession in defiance of the military presence and thousands flocked to follow him. Fr Lorriman will be enjoying his retirement in Rosebank, Cape Town, with his place as parish priest at Nyanga taken over by Fr Matsepane Morare SJ who was ordained last September.
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