21 April 2010

The Rt Revd Michael Hare-Duke writes:

BEYOND his own Roman Catholic community, many will mourn the death of Fr Quinn SJ, who died on 8 April in Edinburgh, in the care of the Little Sisters of the Poor at Gilmore Place, where he had moved from the Jesuit House in Lauriston Place.

James Quinn was born in Glasgow in 1919, and, aged 20, he entered the Society of Jesus at St Beuno’s in North Wales, and was ordained priest at Stonyhurst, Lancashire.

After returning to Scotland, he began his long service to ecumenism as secretary of the Scottish Com­mission for Christian Unity. He began with assumptions formed before Vatican II, although he was not, as has been claimed, involved in the canonis ation of St John Ogilvie, but, when he finally retired in 1998, he had burgeoned into a hymn-writer whose compositions were a resource to the whole spectrum of Christian denominations. When the new edition of the Church of Scotland’s Church Hymnary appeared in 2005, his name had more attributions than any other living author.

In the last years, hymn-writing gave way to a book of jokes that he was ready to share with his visitors.

Singing, laughing, and caring, may he rest in peace.

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