Canon Peter Jones
June 29, 1951 – April 10, 2016
Peter Jones, a priest of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, composer, liturgist and a former editor of Music and Liturgy died peacefully on the morning of April 10, 2016 as a result of the effects of non-Hodgkins lymphoma for which he had stoically endured lengthy and unpleasant treatment for the last 18 months.
Peter was born in 1951. He taught music at Cotton College, a school run by the Archdiocese of Birmingham and, following its closure, decided to join the priesthood. After studying at the Beda College in Rome he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese on his 40th birthday, June 29, 1991. After serving parishes in Coventry and Birmingham area, in 2013 Peter was appointed parish priest at Holy Redeemer, Pershore, where the distinguished liturgist J.D. Crichton had designed the church and ministered for many years.
Peter first came to real musical prominence with the “Coventry Gloria”, often known as the “Jones Gloria”, which he was commissioned to write for the Papal Mass with John Paul II at Coventry Airport, Pentecost 1982. Peter also worked at rehearsing a section of the large choir made up of parishioners from the Birmingham Province for that mass. That work was hugely successful both in the UK and the US, in both the Catholic and Anglican communions. His revision to fit the 2010 text has been similarly successful.
Peter was a member of the “St Thomas More Group” of composers, founder and chair of the Archdiocese of Birmingham Music Committee, and undertook much formation work with parish musicians all over the diocese during a period of over 20 years, traveling the length and breadth of a huge diocese. His last major diocesan project was running sessions on music for the new translation of the Roman Missal in 2011 throughout the diocese. Peter was editor of the Society of St Gregory journal “Music and Liturgy” from 1981 to 1987, taught music and liturgy at the seminary at Oscott College, Birmingham for a number of years, was an adviser to Central Television and was Director of Music for the Papal Mass for the Beatification of John Henry Newman with Pope Benedict XVI at Cofton Park, Birmingham, in September 2010.
Peter also led a team of organ advisers to the archdiocese who supported and advised parishes on the care and maintenance of existing organ and the acquisition of new instruments. The team has even advised on projects in other dioceses when help has been sought, with Peter leading on at least 15 projects in the last 6 years. This work led to his being appointed to the art and architecture commission of the archdiocese.
In his relatively short period at Pershore he managed to do much to revive a parish that had not had a resident priest for some time before his arrival and was very grateful for the support that he received from many parishioners. He was particularly gratified when he arrived at Pershore to find that his new parishioners had redecorated the presbytery ready for his arrival!
Peter was embarrassed but gratified to be appointed an honorary member of the chapter of Canons of St. Chads Cathedral and Minor Basilica at Holy Redeemer on March 12, 2016.
Tribute prepared by Keith Ainsworth for the Society of Saint Gregory.