An entire life used to do good

Father John Manno, better known as Spot, was a very special friend of mine for 40 years. We have vacationed and traveled to many places together.

As I look through my entire life, Spot truly stands out as the very best friend a person could ever have. Since my accident, he called me faithfully every day.

When I look back, I will always recall his optimistic outlook on every aspect of life and especially his kindness and his understanding of others. Father Manno was one of the most unbiased people I ever met, treating all people equally regardless of their status or the color of their skin. He treated all people as God’s children. In his early years, he worked doing ministry on the docks of New York City and returned again during 9/11. John had a huge heart, always capable of listening to others.

For many years, we skied, played racquetball, laughed at his corny jokes, and even prepared homilies together. He had nicknames for everybody including his yearly senior high school students that he was so devoted to — and even his bike had a name, Fred!

Back in the 1980s, our ski group gave him the name “Spot” after hearing him call all of his friends by unique nicknames. In those days, he had a “spot” of white hair on his head.

Many who knew him well were aware that his license plate had his nickname, “Spot,” on it. In 1980, unknown to him, I copied his registration card and sent for a license plate reading “SPOT1968.” That represented his name and his ordination date. He proudly used that plate for many years. Later when he bought a computer, he used Spot1968 as his screen name.

He was a devoted son. No parents could ask for more love and affection than he gave to both his mother and father. Lastly, he had an enormous love for his country, for veterans and with a smile on my face, I think of his love of his fellow bikers and dog walkers. He was crushed when Theo died.

Going back through my lifetime, I cannot recall any conversation that did not include some aspect of his personal relationship with God shining forth.

He truly was a priest’s priest and loved his ministry to all people. I know I have lost one heck of a deeply spiritual friend and brother priest.

On this past Memorial Day, Father Manno made his last post on Facebook. It had over 4,000 hits!

“What does faith reassure us??

“Nothing less than that there is a Heavenly Banquet.

“Luv, Father Manno.”

Three days later, on Ascension Thursday morning, Father John Manno’s “lion heart” just gave out, but not until he spent his entire life using it to do good.

“Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Father John Kiel Manno, now go in peace!

Father Don Henry

Sarasota, Florida

Submitted via Virtual Newsroom