It is with deep sadness that we share news of the death of Fr Christopher ‘Christy’ Fox MHM. As a Mill Hill Missionary, a much-loved friend of Missio, and contributor to Mission Today, he will be greatly missed.
A full life of faith
Fr Christy, who originally came from Streamstown in Westmeath, Ireland, was ordained a Mill Hill Missionary Priest in 1955. He started his ministry in Ireland, and also became a qualified science teacher. A few years later, he was appointed to mission regions in Uganda.
Although Fr Christy returned to Ireland in 1967 to take on the role of Vocations Director, he missed east Africa and longed to return. And so, in 1981 he happily went back to Uganda, where he continued his mission until 1996. During this time, he gained a Masters Degree in Sacred Theology.
After his return to Ireland, Fr Christy was appointed as editor of the Saint Joseph’s Advocate magazine, and also regularly contributed to Missio’s Mission Today magazine, where his interpretation of the Gospels and spiritual approach inspired readers for 16 years.
An talented author, Fr Christy also wrote three books: ‘Painted Butterflies: Memories of a Missionary’ (2015), ‘Our Lady’s Apron: A collection of articles on spiritual topics’ (2016) and ‘The Miracle of the Universe’ (2021).
A personal relationship with God
Missio was blessed to have benefitted from such a close friendship with Fr Christy over the years, and his writing has inspired many people. In one article from Mission Today, he discussed the miracle of a close and personal relationship with God, observing:
‘Modern research is revealing new wonders of the vast universe of which we are part. The fact that I can have a relationship with the Divine Creator of it all, whom I can call Abba, Father, is almost incredible. Scripture tells us that He has carved my name on the palm of His hand. I can only respond with love, adoration and thanksgiving’.
A passionate missionary
Throughout his long life of service, Fr Christy was passionate about mission, the power of prayer and the good that the Church could do in the world, often without being particularly acknowledged. In his last article for Mission Today (which you can read here) he noted:
‘A few years ago we were grateful when Band Aid raised some seventy million pounds to help relieve the famine in Ethiopia. But we should keep in mind that the Catholic Church, through its many agencies, gives far more than that every year for the relief of poverty and the elimination of the causes of poverty and injustice’.
He also emphasised the importance of prayer, and how precious prayer is to missionaries working overseas. He said:
‘During some of the dangerous times in Uganda, I was very conscious of communities of people at home praying for our safety. The Church is the body of Christ.
Every prayer we say, every act of self-sacrifice and generosity contributes to the welfare of the Church at home and abroad’.
A dear friend
The Missio team gives thanks for the life of Fr Christy and will remember him as a ‘kind and lovely man’, an insightful and inspiring writer, and a true friend. When Fr Christy retired at the age of 86 from writing for Mission Today, our National Director – Fr Anthony Chantry – wrote to readers saying:
‘On your behalf and for the hundreds of thousands of people who have benefitted from his wisdom over the years, I thank him profusely for his distinguished contribution towards the life of this very special missionary magazine. He leaves with our blessing and an open invitation to drop us a line, or an article, anytime’.
His Mill Hill Missionary brothers share:
‘Christy’s height and bulk towered over most people. Yet he was a gentle but direct person, believing that challenge, when expressed in the right way, was an opportunity for growth… Christy enjoyed life and made a wonderful friend to all’.
We take heart that Fr Christy’s rich life of faith touched and inspired so many people – including those of us who knew him at Missio – through his writing and teaching, as well as his time in Uganda.
May he rest in peace and rise in Glory.