Fulfill your Resurrection in us, and as you have purchased us,
claim us, take possession of us, make us yours.
J. H. Newman
One of the leading Newman scholars, Rev. John Thomas Ford, CSC, 89, died at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind. on December 29, 2021 after a short illness.
Fr. Ford was born on November 21, 1932 in Dallas, Tex., the only child of Thomas and Leonara Ford.
Fr. Ford attended elementary school at St. Vincent’s School, conducted by the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Logansport, Ind., and then graduated from Logansport High School in 1950. While attending the University of Notre Dame, Fr. Ford heard the call to serve God as a Holy Cross priest. He entered the Holy Cross Novitiate in Jordan, Minn. on August 15, 1951, professed final vows on August 16, 1955, and was ordained a Holy Cross priest on June 10, 1959. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, he went on to Holy Cross College in Washington, D.C. to earn his master’s degree in theology in 1959. In 1962, Fr. Ford then earned his doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome.
In 1962, Fr. Ford taught theology at the University of Notre Dame and prefected in Cavanaugh Hall, before he left that fall to teach at Holy Cross College in Washington, D.C. until 1967. In 1964, he was appointed assistant superior at the Foreign Mission Seminary and subsequently served as Superior until 1968. From 1968-2018, he was professor of theology and coordinator of Hispanic/Latino studies at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. where he authored over 100 essays, 680 book reviews, and some 50 prefaces, introductions and miscellaneous items. In 2018, he retired and offered parish assistance and Hispanic ministry until moving into Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind. in 2021.
Fr. Ford was perhaps best recognized as one of the leading John Henry Newman scholars in the United States and throughout the world.
He was a longtime member of the National Institute for Newman Studies, including as a member of its Board of Directors for more than a decade, as Association President and Program Director for the annual conference for many years, and he served as the founding editor of the Newman Studies Journal. For his work on Newman, Fr. Ford was the inaugural recipient of the Gaillot Award for Newman Studies by the National Institute for Newman Studies at the Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit.
We thank the Lord for this faithful servant of the Church and entrust his soul, through the intercession of St John Henry Newman, to God’s mercy.