It is with sadness that we announce the death at 5 p.m. local time, 11August 2018, aged 78, in Phoenix, USA of
Father Greg Rice
Mill Hill Missionary
May he rest in peace
Gregory was born on 12th Sept 1939 in Denver, Colorado, USA, and was baptised on 5th November of that year. He was the son of Roy (a construction super-intendant) and Leah Rice, and had one brother and three sisters. He received the sacrament of Confirmation in 1952. He did his Secondary Education in Denver and after having served as a carpenter’s apprentice for a while he joined the US Air Force. During his time there he followed a course in Russian Language and Security Service. After leaving the Air Force he went to St Louis University where he obtained a BA degree in Classics. He went to St Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, London, where he studied Theology from 1969 to 1972. He took his Perpetual Oath on 13 November 1971 at St Joseph’s College, and was ordained priest on 25 June 1972 by Bishop Nicholas Hettinga in the same parish where he had been baptised in Denver.
After his ordination he was appointed to the Diocese of Rawalpindi, Pakistan, He remained in this challenging mission for the next 33 years, until 2005. He was mostly stationed in Westridge and Peshawar. Besides pastoral and missionary work in parishes he was also deeply involved with humanitarian work through Caritas. He ministered to Afghan refugees and for many years was involved in the treatment Centre for drug users near Peshawar, an area which by then had become very dangerous due to political and social unrest. In 1988 Greg was co-opted Chapter Delegate to represent the USA born members. He was elected Society Representative of Rawalpindi Diocese in 1999 and was elected Chapter Delegate 2000.
In 2005 Greg was appointed to his native USA and settled in the Diocese of Phoenix in the state of Arizona. He was keen to share his experience with Islam and after doing some further studies, became a teacher of this subject in a local College. Apart from supply work in a number of parishes, his ministry also involved pastoral outreach to the Native American people living mostly in the reservations. He accepted the invitation of the local bishop to become the Coordinator for pastoral ministry to the Native Americans and was instrumental in getting the Consolata Sisters to work and reside in the reservation. When his term was over a community of Franciscans took over his responsibility.
Last week Greg underwent heart surgery for a valve replacement which did not go well. He was transferred to Mayo Hospital in Phoenix where died on Saturday 11 August at 5 pm local time. The funeral arrangements will be announced later. May Greg rest in peace.
The Funeral Mass of Fr Greg Rice MHM will take place on Thursday 30thAugust at 10.30 at St. Maria Goretti parish, Scottsdale.
TheMass will be celebrated by Bp. Eduardo Nevares, assistant bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, and will be preceded by praying the Rosary at 10.00 a.m.