January 10, 2004
Dear Youth Goodwill Mission Friends,
This is Kenny Keh-Chang Yang, a 1980 U.S. West member, writing to you from Los Angeles.
I am not good at typing Chinese at all, so please excuse my writing to you in English.
To those of us who had the privileges of being taught English by Father Richard Downey
in our mission trainings, I am very sorry to inform you that Fr. Downey had passed away
peacefully on New Year's Eve in Maryknoll, New York. He was 85 years old.
I attended his funeral (Mass of Christian Burial) held on January 5, 2004 in Maryknoll,
about 35 miles north of New York City. The Mass was held in the main chapel inside
the beautiful Maryknoll Seminary. It was such a peaceful and soothing service,
in spite of a bad weather (raining with 40+ degree F). But my tears just kept filling
my eyes, with all the fond memories I had for Fr. Downey.
I did not get to see Fr. though. He was resting peacefully in his casket covered with
the church's flag (I suppose). What really struck me was that there were 3 flags
hanging on the posts in front of the Chapel hall - the church flag, a U.S. flag, and
a R.O.C. flag. During a speech about Fr. Downey's characteristics and generosities,
the officiating Father mentioned Fr. Downey's relationship with the Youth Goodwill
Mission, how he taught us how to converse in English, how to order American breakfast,
how he opened up the Taipei Maryknoll House for our get-togethers, how we became
accomplished individuals (many public figures, celebrities, doctors, lawyers,
politicians etc.), and how Fr. Downey had made so many long lasting friends in Taiwan.
Fr. Downey must have talked about the Youth Goodwill Mission all the time over there.
You can just tell that we were so near and dear to him, and he was to us too. We are
such a lucky bunch to have him in part of our lives.
Due to bad weather, the subsequent graveside service was conducted indoor as well.
But the folks from Taiwan all voluntarily accompanied Fr. Downey to his final resting
place in Maryknoll Society Cemetery right by the Seminary.
I would like to inform you that a memorial fund has been set up, in honor of Fr. Downey.
If you are interested in making contributions to the memorial fund, please make the
check payable to "Maryknoll Fathers", with a note of "Memorial Fund for Father
Richard Downey", and send it to:
Rev. Leo Shea
P.O. Box 304
Maryknoll, NY 10545-0304
Upon receiving your contribution, Fr. Shea will send acknowledgement to you. Any funds
received will be forwarded to the Regional Supervisor to benefit Maryknoll Fathers'
programs in Taiwan. If you have question about the memorial fund, please feel free to
contact Fr. Shea at (914) 971-7636 x.2302, or firstname.lastname@example.org. I will also check
with Fr. Shea to find out how to make contributions in NT$ in Taiwan directly, and keep
Lastly, I also have a copy of Fr. Downey's memorial card and biography to share with you.
I'll ask our Web Master to try to post them to the CYGM web site.
May peace be with you!
1980 U.S. West