Father John Downey,of the Verona Fathers Comboni Missionaries, was joined by family, friends and Comboni priests at an emotional anniversary mass in St.Columba’s Viewpark.
And this was the very same place that Father John was ordained in 1972 by the late Bishop Francis Thomson. Venturesome Father John was the first Verona Father of the London Province to go and work in the mission fields of South America,
And he undoubtedly covered a lot of ground during his groundbreaking mission on the other side of the world. Arriving in the state of Espirio Santom Father John worked in the parishes of Pinhheiros and Ecorporanga and missions In the north and north- east of Brazil.
Father John who has also held key posts in Ardrossan, Dublin, London and Sunningdale, is also editor of the Comboni Mission magazine which has readers all over the world.
College and friend Father John Clark was among those to offer tribute to their dear friend who has given a lifetime of service during his priestly vocation. He said: "Father John served the people of Brazil for 22 years and in the London Province working in England,Wales and Scotland for twenty eight years."Pope Francis himself has said: Only the person who feels happiness in seeking the good of others, in desiring their happiness, can be a missionary,’ Father John fits that bill’s purpose.”