One of the deaf Catholic community's best known priests, Fr. Peter McDonough, who had been serving as pastor of St Joseph's Mission to Deaf People in the Salford diocese, England, has stepped down after admitting he has a four-year old child. Fr. McDonough, who is profoundly deaf and communicates with his flock in sign language, was ordained by Pope John Paul II himself 27 years ago. After a period of reflection and conversation with his bishop, McDonough decided that his first responsibility was to his family. Vicar General Mark Davies said McDonough would be greatly missed. He added: "It was with great sadness that the deaf community and the whole Catholic community in Collyhurst learnt of Father Peter's decision." A video of Fr. McDonough's 25th jubilee is still available on the diocesan Web site.
Fr. McDonough's expertise on deaf ministry will also be missed internationally. He is the author of Ephphata, the proceedings from the first International Catholic Deaf Religions Conference in Liverpool, in 1996. The title 'Ephphata' meaning 'Be Opened', reflects the spirit of the conference, in which thirty-one Deaf Religious and Priests from ten countries came together to share their experiences of deafness and deaf ministry and vocation.
Other articles online by Fr. McDonough about deaf ministry:
- The Deaf Need Dialogue, The Tablet, May 2007
- Ministry amongst Deaf People, Paper given at the one day conference, University of Louvain, Belgium, May 19, 2003.
- The Call to Discipleship in the Global Deaf Community in the United Kingdom, Many Languages, One Faith: The International Pilgrimage of Catholic Deaf Peoples, Rome, June 2008