Francis Vernon Douglas, born in 1910 and raised in Johnsonville, was a Columban priest whom Japanese soldiers killed in the Philippines 70 years ago in 1943.
During the Japanese occupation he was taken by secret police looking for information on guerillas.
He was savagely beaten for three days, the presumption being that police were trying to extort information from him about guerillas whose confessions he may have heard.
He remained silent and was last seen, very weak but still conscious, being put on a truck with a guard of Japanese soldiers.
After the 1944 liberation of the Philippines the Columbans uncovered the story of a 33-year-old priest who could be regarded as a martyr, having demonstrated outstanding fidelity especially to the Seal of Confession.
‘Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ’, which links with Pope Francis’s call to mission and the Year of Faith, is the theme of a commemoration of Fr Douglas’ life at Ss Peter and Paul’s Johnsonville, on 27-29 June.
Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the death of Father Francis Vernon Douglas (1910-1943)
Thursday 27 June: 7.00pm-8.00pm: Four people from the Parish will speak on ‘How I am living out the call of Jesus to proclaim the Good News.’ This will be interspersed with prayer, hymn and scripture.
Friday 28 June: 7.00am Mass with a teaching on mission; 9.15am Mass with pupils from St Brigid’s School attending; 10.30am-5pm Veneration and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament; 7pm-8.30pm Columban Fathers speaking on mission and the life of Fr Francis.
Saturday 29 June: 9.00am Mass followed by veneration and prayer until mid-day; 6.30pm Mass of commemoration, celebration and thanksgiving.