Fr Ignatius died last Sunday [8 January], having enjoyed almost ten months of wonderful care from our Franciscan sisters in their nursing home in Littlehampton. Raymond had previously cared with great love and dedication till his need grew beyond Raymond’s and our domestic capability here. It was the end of a remarkable life. Ignatius began his priesthood studies here in Woodford in 1946. Soon he moved on to Rome for studies both before and after ordination. He gained a Doctorate in Theology, writing his dissertation on sacramental theology. Rome is not noted for forward thinking but he read extensively and so was thoroughly in tune with up-to-date thinking when Vatican II arrived. He taught and trained generations of students of our English Province in the days of plenty.
More: he dragged us all into the modern understanding of what we are and should be both as Franciscans and pastoral priests. A gentle and humble man, he had wide pastoral influence with religious and lay people. He also served on international commissions in Rome.
His task is not finished. Pope Francis continues to urge us to leave behind old sterile understandings of our faith and practice. We can best honour Ignatius by engaging in this year’s parish programme of searching to know better what God is doing to us in our homes and families, and what he wants of us.
May he rest in peace.
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