Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fr John Edwards SJ has died

Pray for the soul of Fr John Edwards SJ, he concelebrated [correction: see Delia' comment] community Mass at Farm Street yesterday and died in the evening. In his last circular letter to family and friends he wrote that his impending death brought him immense happiness. 
His last public Mass was offered for his friend and brother Fr Hugh Thwaites SJ, the first time a traditional Mass was offered at Farm Street since the 1970s. I am told that he regarded the process of dying as "a very busy affair". 
I am sure there are many anecdotes that those who knew Fr John would like share, please use the comments box, or email them to me if you can't work com system.
I know he had a great knack of teaching people to pray and to go to confession, he was such a good confessor, he could lift weights that had ground people down for years. He actually used to say that it would be woth being a priest if it was only to absolve one mortal sin, and he believed it and lived it.
He was one of the last great Mission giving Jesuits, I remember him saying to me, "You know you tell if a Mission has been really successful by whether or not the collection goes up, because the last and most difficult thing to convert is somebody's pocket."

Here are a couple of anecdotes told me by Delia:
Father was staying at a convent and was given some inedible mutton to eat. He didn't want appear bad mannered and leave it uneaten so he climbed out of the window and buried it in the garden using a table spoon!
A story he used to tell: an old Jesuit was dying and in floods of tears and obviously agitated, his Superior tried calm him by telling him of the goodness of the Lord, the old Jesuit said, "It is not meeting the Lord I am worried about, it is meeting St Ignatius Loyola." 



Sitsio said...

Father John was a great friend of my Parish Priest Father Kevin Hale, who I know is very sad at his passing today.

He would always help out with confessions etc and was dearly loved by everyone in Leigh-on-Sea and well known for being a wonderful confessor.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion,
et tibi reddetur votum in Ierusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam;
ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Anita Moore said...

Father, there seems to be a formatting snafu on this post.

Prayers said for the soul of Fr. Edwards.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Anita, I can't see it on this machine,

Pastor in Monte said...

God rest his soul: he had the strange Jesuit thing of having a very individualistic approach to how he went about things; but there is no doubt he got results. A great man, and the Church militant must now rely on his prayers rather than his missions.
On the question of formatting; different browsers sometimes show posts differently, so what looks good on Microsoft Explorer won't necessarily work well, or look the same, on Safari or Mozilla.

Physiocrat said...

Yes I remember his retreat at St Mary Magdalen well. What a pity, but I am sure his rest is well earned.

Delia said...

He was a wonderful man, a wonderful priest and a wonderful friend. He lived a life of total fidelity, and it is a huge privilege to have known him.

I'd known him for 30 years, and he baptised my mother in 2010, a couple of weeks before her 93rd birthday. It was all so extraordinary - we both came out of her room literally reeling. As he said, Lord Marchmain was nothing to it - and he told me that it was the highlight of his priesthood.

But Father, please correct your blog. He didn't concelebrate at the community Mass on Wednesday evening - he was far too week, and in fact the last Mass he celebrated (or concelebrated) was the one for Fr Thwaites. At this last Mass he was pushed in in a wheelchair and was present at it. He died later that evening

He told me the anecdote about the dying priest on the last occasion I saw him three weeks ago, when he himself knew he was dying. He said again then that he'd never felt happier in all his life, that Our Lord was being very good to him, and that his customary anxiety neurosis had completely gone.

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine
et lux perpetua luceat eis


I remember him coming to St. Mary's Brigg and taught us about the Mass during the Mass.

The way he did that certainly left me with a greater understanding of the Mass. A great priest.

Sandy Grounder said...

I attend a Jesuit parish where Fr Edwards once gave a mission. It was very good and very memorable.
I particularly remember one homily and that what he said and what he did, the way he ordered the sanctuary, said one thing loud and clear-Jesus Christ is really present in the Eucharist. I and other parishioners were encouraged by his mission. RIP.

Friend of Fr John Edwards said...

I had the honour of knowing Fr John for many years (I think over 20 years in fact) and can honestly say that I have never heard a priest preach so well on confession and the Eucharist, especially to young people. He made them laugh and he made them cry and most of all he got them all running to confession after his talk. He was full of faith yet gentle, encouraging yet firm. He was a wonderful man and priest, full (overflowing in fact) with real humility, a man for others, and delighted to be of service. He was and is a great example to everyone and greatly loved. He gave a talk on why he became a priest which I think is a very touching reminder to all who knew him. It is on totustuus on itunes
He was a great and faithful supporter of Youth 2000 and many other new initiatives in the Church and was both a wise counsellor and great friend to many. He brought joy and love to me every time I saw him. He will be sorely missed but we hope in faith that he will be pray for us now. RIP

GG said...

"Faith Matters"

There is a recent, wonderful and, as it happens, apposite talk by Fr John available to watch online (on praying for the dead, Westminster, autumn 2011).

This is a fine way to remember Fr John's preaching so I post the link here in the hope others will help spread the word:-

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...