Msgr. Clarke Known for Love of Pilgrimages, Service to Diocese

South Texas Catholic
January 3, 2003

Msgr Hugh Clarke, a retired priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, died on Dec. 16 in Lifford, Co. Donegal, Ireland. He was 77.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Dec. 18 in St. Patrick Church in Lifford.

A memorial Mass for Msgr. Clarke will be celebrated at Corpus Christi Cathedral on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.

Msgr Hugh Clarke

Msgr. Clarke was known for his love of leading pilgrimages, his service as a pastor in many parishes and his work in diocesan offices.

He was born in Lifford, County Donegal, Ireland, on Dec. 30, 1924, and was the son of Hugh and Eleanor Porter Clarke.

He studied in Lifford and Dublin and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop John Charles McQuaid at Holy Cross Seminary in Dublin on July 16, 1950.

His first assignments included serving as retreat master, novice master and secretary to African missions in Aylesford, London, England.

In 1957 the Polish government in exile conferred on Father Clarke the Gold Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic in Poland in recognition of his work with polish refugees.

He came to the Diocese of Corpus Christi in 1968 and his initial assignment was as associate pastor of Christ the King Parish until 1980. He then became pastor through 1981 and was next assigned as pastor to St. Patrick Parish in Laredo until 1986.

During that time he also served in many diocesan capacities including the director of pilgrimages, director of health care programs and editor of the South Texas Catholic. He also worked with the Tribunal office. He directed the Laredo Deanery Youth Cursillo from 1981 to 1986.

He was a great believer that a pilgrimage was a way of strengthening one's spiritual life, said Msgr. Tom McGettrick, diocesan vicar for priests.

He always felt that experiencing Lourdes, the Holy Land and other holy sites would change people's lives.

From 1986 to 1991 he led Corpus Christi Cathedral Parish as its rector and then became pastor of Our Lady of Refuge Parish in Refugio, where he served until his retirement in 1996. During his time at Our Lady of Refuge he took special interest in the rich history of the historic parish, which celebrated its 200th anniversary in 1995.

Msgr. Clarke is survived by one sister, Eileen McDevitt, Lifford, Co. Donegal, Ireland.


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