Reverend John F. Gray Jr.
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Reverend John F. Gray, Jr. a well-known and respected retired priest of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee died early Sunday morning, February 17, 2013, following complications of heart surgery. Prior to his retirement in April of 2009, Father Gray served the parish community of St. Anne in Bellview/Pensacola for 16 years. He offered his priestly ministry not only to parishioners but to the broader needs of the faith community of northwest Florida. Along with numerous civic contributions, he was past chair of the Council on Aging board of directors. He served as the diocesan Director of Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Affairs and was a past member of the Council of Priests and Priest Pension Board. He served as the Vicar Forane/Dean of the Northwest Deanery (2004 to 2010) and chaplain for Pensacola Catholic High School from 1993 to 2007. He will be remembered for his generous support of Catholic Charities and Mary's Shelter. As a gifted teacher and evangelizer, Father Gray hosted a special BLAB-TV program called "The Roamin' Catholic" for many years. Since his retirement, Father Jack has served as contract chaplain for the Archdiocese of Military Services at various military stations in Pensacola. His enthusiasm for the political process will be long remembered.
He was born in Logansport, Indiana on May 12, 1944, to John F. Gray, Sr. and Mary Jane Powers Gray. His studies included a B.A. in Philosophy from Holy Apostles College and Seminary; an M.A. in Ecumenism and an S.T.B. in Theology from the Angelicum in Rome. He served as Provincial Superior of the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles from 1987 to 1990; Vice-rector of the Holy Apostles College & Seminary from 1988 - 1991 and taught courses in Homiletics, Ecumenism, Women in the Church and the Documents of Vatican II as an associate professor at Holy Apostles College & Seminary. He was the co-founder and executive director of the St. John Vianney Program for re-integrating inactive priests into active ministry.
Father Gray was ordained for the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles on October 4, 1986, at his home parish since 1980 of St. Dominic Catholic Church in Panama City, Florida. He was ordained by Bishop John Rudin, MM, and was invited to provide ministry in the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee in 1992. His assignments have included Blessed Sacrament Parish in Tallahassee and the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in addition to his many years at St. Anne Parish in Bellview/Pensacola.
Father Gray is survived by his mother, Mary Jane Gray of Pensacola; his brother and sister-in-law, Thomas and Peggy Gray of Roswell, Georgia; his two nephews, Matthew and Andrew Gray of Roswell, Georgia; and his nephew Andrew's wife, Sasha. He is preceded in death by his father, John F. Gray, Sr. who died in July of 1995. He also leaves behind many friends, parishioners, parish staff, deacons, and brother priests.
His body will be received at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on Wednesday, February20, at 5 p.m. Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with the Vigil Evening Prayer Service to commence at 7 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, February 21, at 10 a.m. Most Rev. Gregory L. Parkes will be the principal celebrant. Homilist will be Msgr. Stephen Bosso. Priests of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee will be concelebrants at the Mass of Christian Burial. Burial will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery, 1300 East Hayes Street, Pensacola.
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Published in Pensacola News Journal on Feb. 20, 2013