Dublin, Ireland, Jul 8, 2019 / 16:19 pm
A Capuchin Franciscan priest from Northern Ireland who spent 50 years on mission in Zambia has been awarded one of Japan's highest honors for his promotion of judo in Africa.
"It's a great recognition. I'm very proud of it, but I'm also surprised and overcome by the enormity of it. It's not something I was expecting at all," Father Jude McKenna told the Belfast Telegraph.
The 84-year-old judo expert is one of this year's recipients of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, awarded each year by the Japanese government. The award is "given to people who make a very significant contribution to the spread of Japanese culture," the priest told the Belfast Telegraph.
McKenna, a native of Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, lived in Zambia from 1966 until 2017, when he retired to Dublin due to failing eyesight.