Last Updated:

We announce the sad news of the death this afternoon, St Joseph’s Day, 19th March, of Fr Michael James Daley. Fr Michael died peacefully while the rosary was being recited at his bedside at the Royal Trinity Hospice in Clapham having been admitted yesterday, 18th March, from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where he had been receiving end of life care.

Fr Michael was born in Cardiff on 9th March 1959 and ordained for the Diocese of Westminster at Westminster Cathedral on 21st May 2005.

Condolences are extended to Fr Michael’s brother William and to his relatives and friends, and to the parishioners of Holy Cross, Parsons Green where Fr Michael had been Parish Priest since 2017.

Fr Michael’s mortal remains will be brought into Holy Cross Church, Ashington Road, Parsons Green on Wednesday 24th April at 6pm, followed by Requiem Mass.

The Funeral Mass will be at Holy Cross church on Thursday 25th April at 12noon. The Cardinal will preside and the homily will be given by Fr Michael O’Boy. Burial at St Mary’s Cemetery, Kensal Green will follow the Funeral Mass.

We pray for the peaceful repose of Fr Michael’s soul:
Hear with favour our prayers,
which we humbly offer, O Lord,
for the salvation of the soul of Fr Michael your servant and priest,
that he, who devoted a faithful ministry to your name,
may rejoice in the perpetual company of your saints.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.

The Communion Antiphon of today’s Solemnity:
Well done, good and faithful servant.
Come, share your master’s joy.

St Joseph, pray for him.


Parishioners of Holy Cross parish, Parsons Green responded generously to the appeal made by Fr Michael Daley in the parish newsletter and at notices during Sunday Masses for clothing for the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, needed because many patients were being discharged without suitable clothing. Fr Michael described the situation as appalling that, in today’s world, in an affluent society, people did not have adequate clothing nor relatives or friends to provide it, ‘but that is the reality of the situation’, he said, ‘and we have to respond’. The appeal was made over a few weeks from the beginning of Lent. 

It was not known that during Lent Fr Michael was to be admitted to the same hospital and diagnosed as terminally ill. It was known that he had been living with Parkinson’s disease, bravely and without wanting a fuss, but the news of the reality of his diagnosis made known to his brother and close friends and colleagues soon after he was admitted to hospital was met with shock and sadness. Parishioners were told that Fr Michael was receiving end of life care and were similarly shocked and saddened when news of Fr Michael’s death was gently broken to them at Masses on the weekend of Palm Sunday. 

Fr Michael had taken up his appointment as Parish Priest at Parsons Green in September 2017. He quickly won the hearts and minds of his parishioners because of his commitment to them and to their needs and because of his care for the liturgy and the church building. 

He was entrusted with the supervision of seminarians and deacons in formation for priesthood because of his wisdom and ability to establish meaningful relationships. He was kind and thoughtful and did not shy away from challenging ideas and behaviour when necessary, bringing to bear his dry wit as a helpful means of enabling others to grasp the reality of sometimes difficult situations. The bespoke prayer cards produced annually for the parish feast day, 14th September, for Mothers’ Day and the attractive cards produced to advertise the liturgies at Christmas and Easter were testimony to Fr Michael’s thoughtfulness. 

A large congregation, including staff and children from the parish primary school, attended the first weekday morning Mass in the church following Fr Michael’s death and many beautiful tributes have been written in a memorial book in the church since his death. 

Michael Daley was born on 9th March 1959 to William and Julia Daley. Born in Cardiff, Michael was baptised at St Peter’s, Roath in Cardiff, confirmed in 1966 at St Cadoc’s, Llanrumney in Cardiff and educated at St Cadoc’s Catholic infant and junior school from 1963 to 1970. He then went to St Illtyd’s Catholic College until 1973 and then continued secondary education at a comprehensive school in Dagenham until 1977 before going to London University to study for a degree in English and European History. He graduated in 1981. 

Michael took up employment in clerical work in offices in London and Essex. He then went on to study for a Diploma in Nursing at the College of Medicine of the University of Wales, graduating in 1984. Further studies in mental health nursing resulted in the award of BSc in Psychology in 1986. Michael worked as a Registered General Nurse and Clinical Nurse Specialist in acute medicine and infectious diseases, and in mental health nursing and forensic psychology in Cardiff. He worked for a year at St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, nursing terminally ill patients. 

Michael felt the call of the Lord to Religious life and he tried his vocation by working with the Alexian Brothers caring for elderly residents of their care home in Moston, Manchester as a Senior Staff Nurse from 1997 to 1998 when he joined the Alexians’ novitiate and moved to their house in Camden Town, London. His vocational discernment and formation included attendance at monthly meetings arranged by the Association of Novice Directors during which Michael got to know other Catholics and Anglicans who were open to God’s call and he formed life-long friendships with some. 

His sense of vocation led him to consider diocesan priesthood and he was accepted as a student for the Diocese of Westminster, commencing his studies at Allen Hall Seminary in 2000. Michael was ordained to the diaconate in 2004 and exercised ministry at Westminster Cathedral. He was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral on 21st May 2005.

Fr Michael’s first appointment as a priest was to Our Lady of Grace and St Edward, Chiswick where he served as Assistant Priest from 2005 to 2008. His maturity, education, training and ability led to his appointment as Parish Priest of the two Borehamwood parishes, St Teresa and St Thomas More and John Fisher, in 2008. In 2011 Fr Michael was appointed Parish Priest of Our Lady and St Joseph, Kingsland where he remained until 2017. He had requested an appointment that would enable him to be close to his elderly parents and his sister, Mary, who was living with Down’s syndrome and to support his brother Billy in caring for the family who were living in east London. Mary, described by Fr Michael as his wonderful sister, died in 2015 at age of 50. He felt her loss deeply.

While serving as Parish Priest in Borehamwood in 2006 Fr Michael was appointed Chaplain to Caritas St Joseph’s in Hendon, a long-established centre supporting people with intellectual disabilities, their families and friends, in addition to his parish ministry. His involvement continued until 2021. 

While serving as Parish Priest at Parsons Green Fr Michael was appointed to serve as a member of the Committee for the Welfare of Sick and Retired Priests of the Diocese. He was appointed to serve on the board of the Catholic Children’s Society, becoming Chair of the board in 2020. He led the CCS through the Covid pandemic and the cost of living crisis, working tirelessly to ensure children and families remained at the heart of the Society’s mission. 

These appointments demonstrated Fr Michael’s commitment to the vulnerable in the Church and wider society. He understood their needs, and the needs of those who care for them. He discharged his duties with compassion and wisdom, working closely with other members of the boards and with staff and volunteers. He was able to put people at their ease, and he was accepting and non-judgmental. 

Fr Michael was self-effacing and humble, generous and thoughtful. He was well aware of his strengths and weaknesses, and secure enough in himself not to take himself too seriously. He could laugh at himself. 

He valued his family and his friendships, making time for the people who were an important part of his life. He could have a sharp tongue and dry (at times acerbic) wit, experienced by many with surprise, but at the same time as disarming and affectionate. He enjoyed it when the response was equally robust! 

As a sought-after confessor and counsellor Fr Michael had great capacity for empathy and patience. Fr Michael was accepting of people but was nobody’s fool. Fair and truthful in his dealings with others, he had the ability to communicate with a facial expression when words could have been difficult to hear. Behind his tall priestly exterior was a very perceptive, gentle man who used his interpersonal skills for the betterment of others.

When admitted to hospital in the second week of Lent those who were able to visit him were given instructions about what was to be done in the parish as Lent continued and in preparation for Holy Week and Easter. Even though increasingly unwell Fr Michael’s focus remained his priesthood and his commitment to his parishioners so that they were prepared for the joy of Easter and the new life it promises. 

In Lent 2022 he wrote, ‘Mercy and justice are twin virtues that emerge from the same spirit but stand on opposite sides when it comes to the actions that can result from them. They both pursue righteousness but their methods differ. Justice sees right and wrong as scales that need to be balanced – reward and punishment as deserved. Mercy acknowledges justice but allows the spirit of forgiveness to prevail. 

‘God reveals himself as a God of both justice and mercy, which may be a bit difficult to grasp at first until we realise that, in fact, justice and mercy are not opposing forces at all. Mercy is justice, but with an added ingredient which is compassion, and mercy can be given to those who justly deserve it. 

‘Lent, as we know, is considered to be a time of repentance, and forgiveness should be given as freely as it is received from our merciful God. Our sinfulness far outweighs his goodness in the scales of justice, yet he tips the balance with love and mercy. 

‘So, what can we do to repay the Lord of the love, mercy and forgiveness he gives us? It’s simple – like God, we can practice forgiveness and mercy ourselves…’ This Fr Michael did, and he encouraged others to do the same.

The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and, finally, Trinity Hospice provided Fr Michael with end of life care. The Lord called him to heaven on St Joseph’s day, 19th March 2024. He died peacefully as the Rosary was being prayed at his bedside.

May Fr Michael’s compassionate and wise soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.