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Tribute to Fr John’s 60 years of ministry

Retired Diocese of East Anglia priest, Fr John Fowler, has died after more than 60 years of ministry in the Catholic and Anglican churches. Fr Tony Shryane pays tribute.

John was ordained as a priest in the Catholic Church for the Diocese of East Anglia by Bishop Peter Smith on the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham, September 24, 1999, at the Church of St Etheldreda’s, Ely.

After ordination in the Anglican Church he was placed at St Sidwell’s in Georgetown, Guyana, on November 2 1961.

He was moved shortly afterwards in January 1962, to live in the North West District. Here there were no roads and so he went everywhere by boat. Cecily and John were married in 1963.

They moved back to England in 1965. In 1965 they returned to Guyana to St Paul’s Plaisance but this was only for four years. After a short break he returned to St Paul’s for a further six years. At this time he became Arch-deacon, with all the responsibilities attached to that post.

Back in England, he also served in Sydenham and Coventry and again in Guyana before moving to Bedford in 1990.

John retired from a fruitful and varied ministry in the Anglican Church from St Michael’s Bedford and moved with his wife Cecily and their son Andrew to a small house in Sutton near Ely in September 1995.

John and Cecily and Andrew were Received into the Catholic Church in Ely, on December 23, 1995.

During his time in Ely he was well loved  for his generosity and cheerfulness. He continued to help out and supply so that other clergy could get away. He was a regular visitor to Addenbrookes Hospital as part of the Chaplaincy team.

He retired to Wellingborough in 2007 and although he still helped he finally was unable to continue through ill health. After various visits to Kettering General and with care at home he died at home on August 5.

May he rest in peace and receive the reward of his labours.

Pictured above is Fr John Fowler.