Tribute to Father Pat Davies

Tony and Denise with Fr Pat on their last visit in December

Tony and Denise with Fr Pat on their last visit in December

I first met Fr Pat in 1979, at a very special youth faith and sharing group called Katimavik, in Enfield.  Pat, a young curate at the time at St Josephs, Waltham Cross, took an active role in these weekly gatherings of up to 100 teenagers, alongside the inspirational Canon Bert Veal.

These forward-thinking priests encouraged hundreds of young people to share their thoughts and prayer in a very informal but spiritual setting. He also joined us for weekend retreats with Katimavik, inspired by Jean Vanier from the L’Arche communities. These weekends were joyful and prayerful experiences where we might celebrate Mass sitting on a cliff edge overlooking the sea, or in a candlelit living room packed with teenagers sitting on cushions on the floor singing beautiful hymns accompanied by acoustic guitars.

During the early 1980’s Pat was chaplain to the Enfield HCPT Group (Handicapped Childrens’ Pilgrimage Trust) accompanying children with physical disabilities and learning difficulties on a week’s pilgrimage to Lourdes alongside mainly young helpers from North London.

Pat’s commitment to social justice also had influence on many of us. He travelled with CAFOD to South Africa and through his work with the Bishops Conference, he encouraged us to campaign against apartheid as well as fundraise for those facing poverty and injustice in the developing world.

He went on to encourage the Westminster Diocese to set up a Justice and Peace Commission for which he was the first chair. The Commission supported many parishes in setting up Justice and Peace groups.

He was an inspiration to me personally having given up his on job at Burmah oil to become a priest. He encouraged me to leave my job in the city to work for CAFOD, an organisation which he fervently supported.

In recent years he continued to value his Katimavik experience celebrating annual reunion Masses. The most recent one he hosted in his living room at Golden Square overlooking Soho last year.

His commitment to Justice and Peace remained strong through to his final days. I last visited him with my wife  Denise and another friend just before Christmas not long after his most recent major operation. He was not focussed on his own health but more interested in the previous day’s big demonstration about Climate Change in Central London.

Pat we will miss you; we thank God for you and ask you to pray for us.

Tony Sheen is Diocesan Manager for CAFOD Westminster

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