Reverend Dr Grove Johnson died on January 8.
Reverend Dr Grove Johnson died on January 8. Contributed

Respected Rockhampton priest dies after battle with illness

A HIGHLY respected Rockhampton priest has died this week after a short illness.

Dr Grove Henry Johnson, 94, spent some years working in Central Queensland before retiring to Rockhampton about 20 years ago.

After retirement, Dr Grove regularly provided Mass to the community of Rockhampton, particularly the McAuley Place Aged Care Facility, until the end of 2017 when health prevented him from continuing.

Dr Johnson passed away at the Rockhampton Hospital on Monday.

The Diocese of Rockhampton has paid tribute to a man who gave 70 years of his life in service to the church.

A Funeral Mass will be held at 10am this Thursday at St Joseph's Cathedral.

His cousin, the Honourable Sir Gerard Brennan, former High Court Judge, will be in attendance.

The following has been provided by provided by The Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton.

Grove was born on 18 July 1923 in Fremantle, Western Australia to James and Lilian Johnson.

He was the youngest of three, and had two older sisters Muriel and Winnie.

Grove knew from an early age that he wanted to be a priest and at the age of 14 and a half, he was identified as the candidate for Queensland to attend the Seminary in Rome.

After some discussion, his parents gave their consent and Grove headed to Rome to begin his priestly vocation.

Because of his age Grove had to do a preparatory year of studies, during which he learnt Italian.

Then for the next 10 years Grove wholeheartedly applied himself to his studies for Ordination.

He said these 10 years, including eight in Rome and two in Louvain, Belgium were the happiest of his life.

The date of Grove's Ordination was delayed for two days to fit in with the Bishop's plans, and he was ordained on March 17, 1946 in Rome.

Dr Grove was delighted as this was St Patrick's Day and the birthday of one of his favourite aunts.

He obtained a Doctorate of Divinity from the Propaganda College in Rome and a Licentiate in Philosophy from Leuven University in Belgium.

After sailing home, Dr Grove was appointed as Professor of Philosophy at Pius XII Seminary in Banyo.

He returned to Central Queensland in 1951 to take up the position of Assistant Priest at St Patrick's in Mackay for four years and then moved on to St Joseph's Cathedral in Rockhampton for one year.

He then provided Adult Education and assisted the University Apostolate at the University of Sydney before returning to the Diocese to assist again in Parish ministry.

He was editor of the Diocesan Publication, The Review, for three years before being appointed as Parish Priest of Yeppoon for 13 years.

In 1976 he was appointed to St Patrick's Seminary in Sydney serving for eight years, the last five as Rector of the Seminary.

In 1985 he was appointed as National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies based in Sydney, serving 10 years.

He did a short appointment at Mortlake Parish in Sydney before returning to Rockhampton in 1998 to retire.

All are welcome to attend Thursday's funeral.

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