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Leading theologian who served in Indonesia for decades dies at 76

Father John Mansford Prior (Photo supplied)

A British-born Catholic priest, a prominent theologian and sociologist in Asia, who served in Indonesia for more than 45 years died on July 2. He was 76.
Divine Word Father John Mansford Prior was a leading missiology lecturer at St. Paul's Institute of Philosophy, Ledalero in Maumere on the Catholic majority island of Flores, eastern Indonesia since 1973.
He was ailing for some time. Recently, he returned from the United Kingdom to Maumere and his health condition was deteriorating. 
Father Prior, who worked at the Candraditya Center for the Study of Religion and Culture in Maumere, was a former consultor of the Pontifical Council for Culture for 15 years (1993-2008) and the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC).
He was a board member of the Intercultural Bible Collective (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam). From 2004-2012, he was convenor of the Bible Studies and Mission (BISAM) study group of the International Association for Mission Studies (IAMS). He was also an Honorary Researcher at MCD University of Divinity, Melbourne, Australia since 2011.
Prior’s death is a great loss at least for the theological world in the Asia Pacific because he was an important theologian of this century in the region.
He was the founder of the Maumere Centrum Church, Wolofeo Parish and several other parish churches in the Maumere Diocese, Flores. He was one of the pioneers of the Ledalero IFTK Theology Master’s Program (STFK). He was even called the icon of the Postgraduate Theology program in Ledalero which is famous for its Contextual Theology.
Prior was born to Vincent Thomas Prior and Kathleen Mary
Mansford in Ipswich, England, on October 14, 1946.
He studied Philosophy and Sociology at Donamon Castle, Ireland (1965-1968), and Theology and Social Anthropology at the Missionary Institute London, England (1968-1972). 
He was ordained a priest in 1972.
He was an associate lecturer in the Yarra Theological Union and served on the advisory board of the Intercultural Bible Collective, Vrieje Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, since 2008. 
He was editor of Jurnal Ledalero: Wacana Iman dan Kebudayaan from 2008 to 2017 and consultor to the Pontifical Council for Culture from 1994 to 2009. 
He earned a Graduate Diploma in Religious Education from the University of Cambridge, England (1973), then a Ph.D. in Intercultural Theology from the University of Birmingham, England (United Kingdom) in 1987.
He was a co-founder of the Ecclesia of Women in Asia (EWA). 
He presented papers at more than 165 symposiums, conferences and workshops.
In addition, he was a member of the Editorial Board of Asians Horizons (Bangalore, India) since 2014 and a member of the Editorial Board of Asians Christian Studies (Chennai, India) since 2016.  
He was a Lecturer at ST Atma Reksa, Ende (1990-1997), Visiting Lecturer at Yarra Theological Union Melbourne, Australia (1990-2009), Visiting Lecturer at STKIP St. Paulus Ruteng (1993), Visiting Lecturer at STFT Fajar Timur, Abepura (1996), Academic Visitor at Melbourne University, Australia (1997-2009), Visiting Lecturer at the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago (1998), Research Association at Monash University, Australia ( 2007-2009), Visiting Lecturer at the Maluku Christian University Postgraduate Program (2014), Teaching Staff at the Asian Theological Forum, Manila (2015), and Lecturer in the Renewal Course at the East Asian Pastoral Institute, Manila.
Prior wrote numerous books, 145 articles in journals (44 articles published in two to six languages), 79 chapters in an anthology (plus the 28 chapters that were previously published as articles in journals - a total of 104 chapters in the anthology), editor of 47 books (38 in Indonesian, eight in English, and two in Indonesian and English. Each of the six books is published in two or more volumes). - With inputs from 


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