Clifford Howell SJ 1902-1981
Clifford Howell SJ 1902-1981

Clifford Howell SJ

Clifford Howell was born in 1902 in Birmingham and joined the novitiate aged 17 after Stonyhurst.  He studied chemistry at Imperial College.  He was a talented composer and conductor, and played many instruments.  While serving as an army chaplain in France and India during the Second World War, Fr Howell began to use the Dialogue Mass, encouraging participation by his flock.  Back in England he was a pioneer in explaining the liturgy to the faithful and encouraging participation pre-Vatican II.  He wrote extensively on the subject in influential and accessible articles and in his book The Work of our Redemption which sold out four editions at home and in the USA.  He presented his famous Liturgical Weeks, which combined doctrine and practice, all over the English speaking world, but sometimes in opposition to traditionalists.  As liturgy adviser to one of the Vatican II delegates, he was in a position to produce the English translation of the Constitution simultaneously with its promulgation by the Council in 1963.   In 1979 the Archbishops of England and Wales acknowledged his achievements: “You will always hold an honoured place in any account of liturgical renewal in English speaking countries”. He died in 1981.