Thursday, May 02, 2024

Fr John Hunwicke: a brief appreciation

The Vidi Aquam before Sunday Mass at the St Catherine's Trust Family Retreat, after Easter, 2013.
Fr Hunwicke giving 'First Blessings' after his ordination in 2012, in the church of St Winifride,
Holywell, during the St Catherine's Trust Summer School and LMS Latin Course.

On Tuesday 30th April 2024, the feast of St Catherine of Siena, Fr John Hunwicke of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, died.

He was a convert Anglican cleric, who was ordained as a Catholic priest in 2012. Although already retired by this time, he was always willing to put his great erudition and long experience of teaching to use for the cause of the Traditional Mass. 

Fr H. celebrating Mass for the Guild of St Clare Sewing Retreat in 2022. The 
young server here was the recipient of the 'First Blessing' in the photo above.

As an Anglican, Fr Hunwicke was a ‘Papalist’, one who accepted the supremacy of the Pope in principle, and also a proponent of the Traditional Roman Rite, which he had learnt as a seminarian at St Stephen’s House in Oxford before the liturgical reform. He joined the Latin Mass Society as a ‘Friend’, since only Catholics can be full members.

For thirty years he taught Latin at Lancing College. His last post as an Anglican was to the ancient church of St Thomas the Martyr, near the railway station in Oxford.

Teaching Latin for the LMS Residential Latin Course, 2013

As a Catholic, a priest, and a supporter of the Latin Mass Society, he was willing to help in all sorts of ways. He took part as celebrant, deacon, or subdeacon in High Masses, in pilgrimages to Our Lady of Caversham, regular Masses at Holy Trinity Hethe, in SS Gregory & Augustine’s, and other places in the Oxford area and beyond. He led retreats for the Guild of St Clare and the St Catherine’s Trust. He taught in the Latin Mass Society’s Residential Latin Course, from soon after ordination, in 2012, until 2022, after which ill health made this impossible. He also took part in other initiatives, and for many years was a much-loved participant in the Roman Forum’s Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera, Italy, an annual, international Traditional Catholic gathering.

Celebrating High Mass in St David's, Pantasaph, 2013.

Wherever he went he was valued for his great wit and erudition, and also for his pastoral touch. Joining the ‘Roman Church’ was a momentous and courageous move, and some on our side of the Tiber had mixed feelings about a batch of new recruits who combined powerful intellects with strong characters. I like to think, nevertheless, that Traditional Catholics, such as those in the Latin Mass Society, made their appreciation of him clear.

He leaves a wife, children, and grandchildren.

As is our usual practice, the Latin Mass Society will organise a 'month's mind' Requiem for him, as someone who has made an important contribution to our work. Details will be published when confirmed.

Requiescat in pace.

Preaching at the SCT Summer School / Latin Course, 2014.

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