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Michael Kelly: Finally gone home

MICHAEL Kelly, who died on Friday, aged 91, was an Irish-born Roman Catholic priest and university professor well known for his immense contribution to the education sector and, in his later years, to the fight against HIV and AIDS.
But in what was his last interview with Zambia Daily Mail reporter JACK ZIMBA last September, Fr Kelly more readily talked about his own death than his many achievements.
Below is the article we published about the Jesuit priest under the heading: “Michael Kelly: The only passport I need is going up.”
One Monday, August 22, 1955, a young Irish Jesuit stepped off a plane at the City Airport (which is now a Zambia Air Force base in Longacres).
It was his first visit to Africa, and he fell in love with it. He talks about the cheerfulness, generosity and openness of the Zambian people, as well as their suffering.
A mathematics genius, 65 years later, Father Michael Kelly says he is now looking forward to going home.
And by “home”, he is not referring to his native country – Ireland – but to Heaven.
In fact, Fr Kelly renounced his Irish citizenship in 1968 to become a Zambian citizen because, as he puts it, “I wanted to identify with the people of Zambia as wholly as possible”.
“I’m Zambian through and through. I don’t have any other citizenship, and at the moment I don’t have any passport at all, either Zambian or any other, because the only passport I need is going up there,” he says, motioning his hand upwards.
Fr Kelly, who turned 91 in May, is now bent over and needs a third leg in form of a cane, but retains a sharp mind and CLICK TO READ MORE




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