Obituary: Fr Pat Davies

Canon Pat with Canon Veal. Tony Sheen from CAFOD writes: "They took me and a 100 teenagers on retreats called Katimavik weekends during the 70s and 80s

Canon Pat with Canon Veal. Tony Sheen from CAFOD writes: "They took me and a 100 teenagers on retreats called Katimavik weekends during the 70s and 80s

Fr Pat Davies died on 16 February 2010 in St John’s Convent, Kiln Green, his home in retirement since last Autumn. He was seventy-one years of age and had been a priest for thirty-two years. May he rest in peace.

Funeral Arrangements

Fr Pat’s remains will be received into the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory the Great, Warwick Street, on Thursday 25 February at 7pm followed by Mass. His Requiem Mass will be celebrated in Westminster Cathedral on Friday 26 February at 11.00am followed by interment at Beaconsfield. Archbishop Nichols will be the main celebrant.


Patrick William Hardy Davies was born on 18 July 1938 in Sheffield. He was one of two children of Sidney and Winifred Davies - his younger sister Philippa was with him when he died. The family moved south to Beaconsfield in 1946 and Pat attended Douai School. After three years National Service in the RAF he went to University College London graduating with an Economics degree in 1962. He then qualified as a chartered accountant and later joined the London office of the Burmah Oil Company. He became the Manager of Burmah’s Planning and Control Department which involved a good deal of travel to South America, Asia and the Far East. In 1971 he moved to Australia as Finance Director and Company Secretary of Burmah Oil (Australia). It was while in Australia that Pat wrote to Cardinal Heenan offering himself as a possible candidate for the Priesthood in the diocese of Westminster. He was accepted and entered the Seminary at Allen Hall, St Edmund’s College, in 1973. He was ordained to the Priesthood by Cardinal Hume at Douai Abbey on 19 November 1977.

His first appointment as a priest was to the parish of Waltham Cross where he remained until 1981. In that year he was appointed Senior Chaplain to the Catholic students at London University. On leaving the Chaplaincy in 1987 he spent a year working for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in South Africa. His time in South Africa had a profound effect on Pat – confirming him in his work for justice and solidarity with the poor and downtrodden. He had already been involved with the work of the Catholic Institute for International Relations since 1979, becoming national chaplain in 1985. On returning to the diocese in 1988 he was appointed Parish Priest in East Finchley. In 1992 he was named Assistant General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales with responsibility for foreign affairs. During his time at Eccleston Square he lived at Notting Hill Gate parish.

In 1997 he was appointed Parish Priest of Kingsbury Green where he remained until 2002. While at Kingsbury Green he was chosen by Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor to be a Canon of the Cathedral Chapter. In 2002 he was appointed as Parish Priest of Warwick Street with the accompanying task of setting up a Justice and Peace Commission in the diocese. The onset of Parkinson’s disease meant that Pat had to step down from the latter work. His health problems were added to by his being diagnosed with lymphoma in early 2008. The specialists gave him only six months to live, and so for his seventieth birthday in July 2008 he decided to have a series of celebrations at Warwick Street inviting friends from all periods of his life. And there were plenty of friends - from his family, his school days at Douai, the UCL hockey team, from Burmah Oil, parishioners from his various parishes, and many priests and ministers from other churches. Pat was an expert in the art of networking! Later in 2008 when his six months were ‘up’ and he found himself still very much alive, he confided in me that he felt a little bit guilty about having had such a ‘big bash’ for his birthday and still being around. Luckily for all of us he was ‘still around’ to celebrate his seventy-first birthday!

After a bout of pneumonia which saw him hospitalised once more in August 2009 he decided to retire from active ministry. He had been to see the facilities at St John’s Convent, Kiln Green, and its location half-way between London and his sister Philippa’s home in Streatley seemed ideal. He was allocated a bungalow of his own in the convent grounds and made it his home. Unfortunately there were further problems with his health and, having undergone surgery for cancer in his mouth, he decided not to submit to a punishing regime of treatment. He resigned himself to dying and told visitors that he was not afraid. He was able with the help of the community at Kiln Green and the local health authorities to remain at home, where he died peacefully on Shrove Tuesday. Archbishop Nichols had visited him just a few days before and they had prayed together for a happy death. Although slight in stature and, of late, painfully thin, he was in many respects a giant of a man and priest. He will be sadly missed by countless friends and admirers.

Fr Pat was a member of the Deceased Clergy Association.

Source: Archbishops House

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