Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rev Dr Joseph Palmer Frary (1939-2013)

The Rev Dr Joseph Frary (right) photo courtesy of Skep CSMV Sagada
Fr Joseph Frary passed away last July 12, 2013 at the age of 74, in Cathedral Heights, Quezon City after a serious illness. He supported the Anglican Use and provided hospitality for our meetings at his residence at St Andrew's Theological Seminary in Quezon City. He believed in a Catholicism but one that was more than its Roman expression. He never wavered from his commitment to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, although he was much saddened at the divisions that has happened in the Anglican churches. Towards the end of his life, he wanted to gather all that was good and holy in Anglicanism and spread them around, the "Anglican Virus" he called it. Anglicanism for him is like a dandelion flower going to seed, the seeds are blown with the wind, land on suitable ground and germinate, while the dandelion flower will be no more. This suitable ground may be the other churches. It is in this way that he viewed Pope Benedict XVI's "Anglicanorum coetibus" and the Ordinariates or even a Pentecostal congregation rediscovering liturgical worship through Anglican traditions (He showed me a book he was reading about that). While he said that  he doesn't expect the majority of Anglicans to swim the Tiber, it was just a matter of time that things Anglican will be reincorporated in the Catholic Church and grow, like the Anglican dandelion seed or virus that will infect Roman Catholics. He was prophetic since the new translation of the Mass in English has some "Anglican ways". In fact one of the lectors in our university Catholic parish told me that they were told that in the new translation "we have to say the Lord's Prayer, the Anglican way"! The Catholics he had faith will end up as better Catholics in general, Roman Catholics in the particular.

In his meetings with his former students, many of whom are now Episcopal priests in mission territories, he told them to be appreciative of the Ordinariate and to pray and support Pope Benedict's idea. Not that it will be a kind of "poaching" (which Fr Frary understood is not)  but that it will spread the grace of holiness through the beauty of Anglican liturgy which Catholics should be enriched with and Anglicans will have to rediscover. One of the Episcopal priests told me this during the wake.  And this priest wished us to continue with what we are doing now in memory of Fr Frary.

Fr Frary was born August 26, 1939 in Farmington, Maine, USA. He studied philosophy in Bowdoin College and graduated in 1963, cum laude with a thesis on the Ontological argument. He was ordained in 1966 after studies in Bachelor of Theology from the General Theological Seminary in New York. He then served several Episcopal parishes in New York and New Jersey. He earned an MA from Fordham University and a PhD on the "Ontological Argument and Modern Debate" from the same university.  He then joined the Society of St John the Evangelist. He also served as a missionary and educator in the Church of Melanesia in the Solomon Islands. He arrived in PH in 1979 to serve as a professor in systematic theology at St Andrew's Theological Seminary and teaching philosophy in Trinity College and theology at Maryhill School of Theology.

In 1986 he accepted an appointment to teach in St Michael's Theological Seminary in Korea. in 1991,he moved to Japan to teach English in a women's college. In 1998 returned to PH to resume teaching at SATS which he did until illness overtook him. He authored many papers in philosophy and theology. A dedicated teacher in seminary and outside, he never turned away any student who wanted to learn (and that included me, in my case about monasticism). I was surprised to see him tutoring a high school student in Shakespeare one day. The student was from a public school that catered for the poor students.

For that reason, Fr Frary is well remembered by his students, "not a bad public" as St Thomas More once said. A great teacher is known best by his students and God. Not a bad public really. The wake proves Thomas More was right and always will be!

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