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With sadness we announce the news of the death of Fr David John Williamson on Wednesday 17th April 2024. Fr David, 78 years of age, died peacefully at the Royal Free Hospital. He had been living in retirement at Nazareth House, Finchley since 2017.

Condolences are extended to Fr David's family, friends and colleagues, and to his former parishioners in parishes where he served, most recently as Parish Priest at Kingsbury Green.

There will be a Requiem Mass for Fr David on Wednesday 29th May at 7pm at Ss Sebastian and Pancras church, Hay Lane, London NW9 0NG.

Fr David’s mortal remains will be received at the same church on Thursday 30th May at 5pm, followed by a Requiem Mass at 7.30pm.

On Friday 31st May the Funeral Mass will be at 12noon with Bishop John Sherrington, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, presiding and Bishop Jonas Benson Okoye of the Diocese of Nnewi, Nigeria giving the homily. Burial will follow at Hendon Cemetery, NW7 1NB.

An obituary will be circulated in due course.

We pray for the peaceful repose of Fr David’s soul with the Collect of today’s Mass (Wednesday after the Third Sunday of Easter):
Be present to your family, O Lord, we pray
and graciously ensure those you have endowed with the grace of faith
an eternal share in the Resurrection of your Only Begotten Son.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.

In Word and Sacrament, Fr David was a faithful minister of the Lord.
May he be granted a place at God's heavenly table.
May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.



Comfortable, effective and appreciated whether in front of a church congregation, a room full of students or a theatre with a full audience, Fr David Williamson was a gifted communicator who shared his faith, his knowledge and his enthusiasm generously. Born in Nottingham on 31 May 1945, David Williamson had no siblings. He left the Baptist church to become a Catholic and his sense of vocation to the priesthood led him to become a Blessed Sacrament Father. He studied for the priesthood at Allen Hall seminary, then at Ware in Hertfordshire, starting in 1969. He and other Blessed Sacrament confrères travelled to Allen Hall from their house in Wareside. David was a good student, intelligent and popular. He was ordained to the diaconate in the college chapel on 14 July 1974 and to the priesthood on 28 June 1975 in Leicester by Bishop James McGuinness. As a deacon, David studied Moral Theology in Rome and gained a Licence in Sacred Theology, Magna cum Laude. His dissertation was on the concept of human growth and progress in St Iranaeus of Lyons. From 1975-82 Fr David Williamson SSS ministered in Liverpool at the Blessed Sacrament Fathers’ centre for devotion and prayer. During this time he served as Ecumenical Officer for the local Council of Churches.  He then went back to Rome for further studies in Moral Theology, gaining a Doctorate in Moral Theology in 1985. He was then appointed to Allen Hall seminary in London to teach and was a member of the seminary staff for nine years. He felt at home in the Diocese of Westminster and left the Blessed Sacrament Fathers, amicably, and became incardinated as a Westminster priest in December 1988. In 1994 Fr David was appointed Parish Priest at St Bartholomew, St Albans South where he remained until his appointment as Parish Priest at SS Sebastian and Pancras, Kingsbury Green from 2002 until his retirement, due to failing health, in 2017. Finally, he went to live at Nazareth House in Finchley where he was content, receiving excellent care from the Sisters and staff.

As a resident member of the formation team at Allen Hall from 1985-94 Fr David taught Moral Theology and participated in all aspects of the life and work of the seminary. As a lecturer and tutor his original and creative response to the moral questions of the day contributed greatly to the formation of priests in the Diocese of Westminster and beyond. He was a highly skilled communicator. His homilies were thought-provoking and his energy was a stimulus to others in what has been described as ‘the often rather repetitive routine life of a seminary’. He is fondly remembered for organizing long walking pilgrimages, before such pilgrimages came into vogue, including one from London to Glastonbury and another from York to Whitby. He channeled his energy in positive ways and he wore his learning lightly, and this continued when he moved into parish ministry.

Fr David was instrumental in setting up the Allen Hall Study Centre, attracting lay people involved in parish ministry to study for a Diploma in Pastoral Ministry to enhance their understanding and equip them for service in the parishes. A similar programme was set up at the diocesan Pastoral Centre at London Colney. The courses were popular, and enjoyed by the participants who deepened their understating of the faith and their role in the life and work of the church locally and globally. He was also involved with another new initiative, Education for Parish Service, based at Kensington Square. Both the Study Centre and EPS formed many students who went on to play an important part in parish life, school chaplaincies and other Church activities. Fr David’s approach to teaching was open and inclusive, straightforward and compelling, using everyday language to explain complex realities. 

While on the staff at Allen Hall Fr David became a key figure in the creation of ‘The Clergy Review’, a show that included several priests of the Diocese using their talents in song, dance, comedy and drama to raise funds for CAFOD, the Bishops’ overseas development agency. Fr David accepted the role of compère, introducing the performers and entertaining the audience between the acts. ‘He was made for the part’, commented one of the organisers. ‘His extraordinary rapport with the audience happened from the first moment he stepped in front of the curtains’. He was the lynchpin of the audacious show at the Wembley Conference Centre. Putting on such a show was a risk, but a substantial profit was the result, in part due to the priest-participants standing at the exits after the show with collection baskets. Two more shows followed, involving local priests in Salford and Southwark, raising funds and increasing awareness of the work done by CAFOD and its partner agencies while giving the audiences great pleasure. The show then went further afield, from Plymouth to Liverpool, Brighton to Cardiff and other cities, and to Jersey. 

Fr David’s intellectual abilities and communication skills, and his warm personality, were of great help in pastoral ministry at St Bartholomew’s parish where he served as Parish Priest for eight years from 1994-2002. He started the 149 HCPT group, leading the first pilgrimage to Lourdes in April 1996. HCPT is the Hosanna House and Children’s Pilgrimage Trust, a registered charity well known for pilgrimages to Lourdes with disabled and disadvantaged children as the special pilgrims. He encouraged young people who had been Confirmed to join the group as helpers, accompanying and supporting children with additional needs. Fr David enjoyed the pilgrimages and the pilgrims enjoyed his spiritual input and his ability to socialize with enthusiasm, always with good humour and spontaneity. 

During his time at St Bartholomew’s Fr David set up the Big Band Music Group for teenage parishioners. He developed strong links with the nearby St Albans Cathedral. He promoted ecumenical relationships between Catholics and Anglicans and served as Ecumenical RC Chaplain at the Cathedral for eight years, celebrating Mass on Fridays in the Lady Chapel. He got on well with the Dean and Chapter and Cathedral staff. He gave many lectures at the St Albans Cathedral Christian Studies Centre. He was an enthusiastic member and supporter of South St Albans Churches Together and made time for the clergy of local Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, and United Reformed churches.

Fr David continued to use his gifts and experience during his next appointment, as Parish Priest at Kingsbury Green from 2002 until his retirement in 2017, retirement precipitated due to health issues. He served as Dean of Brent, appointed in 2003. A parishioner, who became a Catholic, was impressed by Fr David’s communication skills and commented ‘It was not entirely what he said but how he said it – with conviction, love and copious amounts of humour… I could not believe how funny he was…if this is what the Catholic faith is about, then I’m in’. 

While living in retirement at Nazareth House Fr David was grateful to the Sisters and staff for their kindness and attention to his needs. His health steadily declined but his gratitude and patience endured. He died peacefully at the Royal Free Hospital on 17 April, 78 years of age having been a priest for 48 years: a priest-pastor, -teacher and -entertainer.

May the gifted soul of Fr David rest in peace and rise in glory.