Columban Fr Patrick McInerney & Fr Jack Evans (right) - Photo: Fr Patrick McInerney
As an integral part of our St Patrick’s College Community, Fr John (Jack) Evans has been associated with the College as our Chaplain for twenty-eight years. First appointed in 1995 as our College Chaplain by the then Headmaster, Grahame Smollett, Fr Jack has delivered his outstanding ministry to all in our community. His easy-going nature has helped him relate to the boys and he has the ability to comfort us during our personal dilemmas. Over the years, Fr Jack has remained a constant and much-loved confidant and as a testament to this, has celebrated countless staff and Old Boy weddings and presided at many of our loved-one’s funerals too.
Fr Jack grew up in Caringbah, is the eldest child in the family and has four siblings: Paul, Patricia, Maria, and Therese. His mother Kathleen was a secretary in the city and his father Thomas was an electrician with a keen interest in all things related to aviation. Inspired by the priests and De La Salle brothers in his parish, Fr Jack wanted to do something with his life that involved faith and being part of people’s lives. He joined the Columban Mission society in 1967 after being inspired by the work he read about in their magazine “The Far East” each month. Reading about missionary priests in exotic places, Fr Jack joined their seminary in North Turramurra. He was ordained in his parish church Our Lady of Fatima Caringbah by the then Archbishop James Carroll. He achieved his dream of helping people as a missionary when he lived and worked in South Korea for nine years. Fr Jack has also ministered to communities across Australia in places such as Brisbane, Ballarat, Adelaide, Canberra, Goulburn, and Armidale.
Not only is Fr Jack a spiritual and holy man, he is also a born teacher and has taught Religious Education classes over the years. He is an avid reader, especially murder mysteries and enjoys walking, yoga and cooking. When asked to share something we may not know about him, Fr Jack admits that he is also some sort of adrenalin junkie and likes riding high-tech rides with twists and turns and swing upside down at breakneck speed.
Fr Jack, the unconventional but authentic man that he is, has touched our loves in a special way and is an ever-present source of goodness and peace. Fr Jack is an institution at St Patrick’s College. He is dearly loved and commands enormous respect. His humanity and humility combine to make the ordinariness of the man, extraordinary. We are honoured that Fr Jack has accepted this invitation to be the Luceat Laureate for 2022.
Rev Dr Patrick McInerney, Director, Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations.