Ralph Johnston, R.I.P.

Many of the readers of this blog knew Ralph Johnston from his involvement in past Anglican Use Conferences, and also as an occasional contributor to The Anglo-Catholic. Ralph died on June 11th, St. Barnabas' Day, as the result of a stroke he suffered several months ago. He has been unresponsive for these past months, and it is now our privilege to commend him to God's eternal keeping.

Ralph was a tireless supporter of the Anglican Use, and when Anglicanorum coetibus was made public we were in Rome on pilgrimage with a group of our students. So excited was he about this vision outlined by the Holy Father, that Ralph found stationery and pen in the hotel, and wrote his request (that very day) to be admitted as a member of the Ordinariate as soon as it could be established in the United States. In fact, he took delight in telling people that his was the very first request received by the CDF! Of course, he already was deep in a coma this past January 1st, and so was unaware of the historic establishment of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

He served with distinction as Headmaster of The Atonement Academy, and his dedication to Catholic education was absolute. We have missed his steady hand and inspiring presence at Our Lady of the Atonement Church and The Atonement Academy.

It seems especially appropriate that Ralph died on the Commemoration of St. Barnabas, whose name means "son of encouragement." There was no greater encourager of the Anglican Use and the principles of Anglicanorum coetibus than this dedicated son of the Church.

Into thy hand, O Merciful Savior, we commend thy servant, Ralph. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech thee, a sheep of thine own fold, a lamb of thine own flock, a sinner of thine own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of thy mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Author: Fr. Christopher Phillips

Fr. Christopher G. Phillips is the pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he has served for the past twenty-eight years. He is the founding pastor of the first Anglican Use parish, erected in 1983 under the terms of the Pastoral Provision. Fr. Phillips was ordained as an Anglican for the Diocese of Bristol, England, in 1975. After serving as Curate for three years at St. Stephen Southmead, he returned to the United States and served in two Episcopal parishes in the Diocese of Rhode Island. In 1981 he left the Episcopal Church and moved with his family to Texas, where he was subsequently ordained as a Catholic priest in 1983. Fr. Phillips and his wife, JoAnn, have been married for forty years. They have five children, all grown and married, and three grandchildren.

3 thoughts on “Ralph Johnston, R.I.P.”

Leave a Reply