A well-loved Liverpool priest has passed away at the age of 81.
Fr John Benedict Thompson was parish priest at St Francis de Sales, Walton, for 32 years. He will be remembered locally for his time as a radio broadcaster at BBC Merseyside.
Fr Thompson was born on June 10 1935 to parents William and Alice. He studied at St Joseph’s College, Upholland, before he was ordained by Archbishop John Carmel Heenan in 1960.
Fr Thompson served in many roles in the Church including as a notary in the Metropolitan Tribunal and secretary to Bishop Augustine Harris.
In 1972, he began working for the Religious Broadcasting Department of the BBC in Manchester. Many listeners tuned into his Sunday morning programme ‘All in Good Faith’, which was broadcast until 1987. He was appointed Religious Producer for BBC Merseyside and played a major role in the coverage of the visit of St John Paul II to Liverpool in 1982.
In a 2012 interview with the Liverpool Echo, Fr Thompson revealed that he was passionate about cars. For his sixtieth birthday, the staff at his church treated him to a spin in a Formula One racing car.
As well as being remembered for his work in religious journalism, Fr Thompson will be revered for his missionary service with SURVIVE-MIVA; a Liverpool charity which raises funds for vital transportation to carry out healthcare and pastoral work in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He once drove an ambulance from Liverpool to Ethiopia for the charity; stopping in Rome for St John Paul II to bless it.
Fr Thompson enjoyed being a part of the priesthood. He told the Liverpool Echo the best things about the vocation is “walking out of the door and being greeted by people. It’s wonderful to be a part of the community.”
Fr Thompson died on October 30. His Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St Francis de Sales’ Church on November 9.