On 4 February we received the sad news of the death of Fr. John Sherrington. He died peacefully after battling Parkinson’s Disease for a number of years.
Fr. John was an outstanding Passionist. In his role as Provincial Superior of St. Joseph’s Province he played an important role in enabling Minsteracres Retreat Centre to become an independent charity in 2012. Since then he served as a member of the Board of Trustees.
The requiem mass for Fr. John was celebrated at Minsteracres on 19 February after which he was buried in the Minsteracres Cemetery.
During the Reception of John’s body in St. Elizabeth’s church, Michael O’Halloran shared the following reflection:
“I’ve known John for the past 15 years. During this time we have both been trustees of a small charity, CAPS – Catholics for AIDS Prevention and support. I have only ever known John as a Passionist. To me he lived that calling so completely, it seemed as if he embodied the part of the rule which invoked those who were called to be Passionists to ‘strive to make our lives and apostolate an authentic and credible witness on behalf of justice and human dignity’.
John was one of the most authentic people I ever met. He had a gift of helping people come to understand themselves. He did this by being with people in their ‘sites of suffering’, a phrase he coined. His ministry and life were varied and diverse. After joining the Passionists in 1974, John was influenced by another well-known Passionist, Fr Austin Smith. Austin had been a key figure in leading Passionists and others to respond to the call for an ‘option for the poor’ emanating from the Second Vatican Council, liberation theology, and the French worker priest movement. Along with Michael Bold, John started the Passionist Inner City Mission London. John and Michael followed the lead of the worker priests into the world of low paid manual work.
After hearing of John’s death, a member of Positive Catholics wrote: ‘Fr. John was a very kind man who touched the lives of many of us. I will miss his healing service. I understood what healing is when I attended the healing service led by him. I was healed at that service. Before that I was hurting and wanted to be cured. Since then I fully accepted my diagnosis. I have lived fully. He has been one in a million. We will miss him.’
We are all grateful for John’s willingness to be vulnerable and share the place of weakness with us. He was committed to this group right up to the end of his life. I visited John in hospital the day before he moved to the nursing home a few weeks ago, which at that time was going to be for a period of recuperation and rehabilitation. That is why his unexpected death continues to be a shock to us.
May John rest in peace!”