Vale Fr Ian Howells sj

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who died at 11:45pm on 23 April 2022 at St John’s Home, Toowong, Queensland, aged 91 years.

We acknowledge Fr Ian almost 40-years service to the Archdiocese of Brisbane, University of Queensland, St Lucia and Toowong Parish.

Fr Ian’s Requiem Mass was held on Thursday 5 May at 11.30am at St Ignatius Church, Toowong. Followed by burial in the Jesuit plot at Nudgee Cemetery.

Livestream of funeral available via funeral director’s website (KM Smith)

We Remember – Fr Ian Howells (

Ian Howells was born in Melbourne in 1931 and educated at Xavier College, Kew, where he was Dux of the school in 1948. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1960 armed with a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Cambridge University. He went on to devote the whole of his priestly life to the tertiary apostolate, lecturing and researching in Mathematics at the Universities of Melbourne, Adelaide and Queensland. He was Catholic chaplain at the last two, where he was very much at home working as part of an ecumenical chaplaincy team, especially in Brisbane. He resided in three Jesuit University Colleges (Newman, Aquinas and St Leo’s) and was Rector at one of them – Aquinas in Adelaide.

Most of the last 40 years of Ian’s life were spent in Brisbane, where he resided in the Jesuit communities at St Leo’s and Toowong and for the last six years at St John’s Aged Care. He was a much revered member of a remarkable group of Jesuits based at Toowong for many years, all of whom he outlived.

In 1989 Ian spent a year in Melbourne undertaking a comprehensive study of belief and unbelief in Australia in conjunction with Frs John Begley SJ and Adrian Lyons SJ. The result was published as Faith in Australia in October 1990. This took the form of a two-volume workbook for community, personal and pastoral use by Australian Jesuits and their co-workers. Ian’s combination of intellectual brilliance and strong religious faith was salutary for his academic colleagues. His holiness, humility and charity were unmistakable.”

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