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8th December 2019
Father David Whelan

It is with regret that we inform you of the death on Saturday morning 3rd August 2019, in Queen’s Court Hospice, Southport, aged 89, of                       

Father David Whelan

Mill Hill Missionary

May he rest in peace

David was born on 24 April 1930 in Warrington in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, England. His father, who was a caretaker, was married to Louise (née Shepherd). He had four brothers and five sisters. He began his secondary schooling in Freshfield in 1945, just after the Second World War, and completed the final two years in Burnhall, from 1949 – 1951. He then went to Roosendaal, The Netherlands to study Philosophy from 1951 to 1953. After that he studied theology in Mill Hill, London, from 1953 to 1957. He took the Perpetual Oath on 7 May 1956 in Mill Hill and was ordained priest there on 7 July 1957 by William Cardinal Godfrey.

After his ordination David was appointed to Kisumu, Kenya, where he worked among the Luo and Kipsigis peoples. In 1964 he came on home-leave and was temporarily appointed to Burn Hall where he helped out in formation work of aspirants in the early stage of their training for the priesthood. In that same year he received an appointment to Albany in the United States of America where he served for six years. The next appointment, in 1970, was to Auckland, New Zealand, where he served the Maori and Pakeha people in various places including Auckland, Rotorua, Waihi, Otara, Turangi, Kaikohe and Wellsford. People were very impressed with his sermons. As a result David’s weekday Masses too were well attended. In 2010 he retired to Herbert House, Freshfield.

On the occasion of his Silver Jubilee the Superior General spoke about the zeal and dedication which marked David’s work. In 2010 David was operated on a non-cancerous growth in his throat which blocked the oesophagus. He received liquid food directly into his stomach and communication became very difficult. In spite of this inconvenience, David was always remarkable friendly, cheerful and welcoming. Early in July David was admitted to Southport Hospital for treatment. Yesterday he was transferred to Queen’s Court Hospice, where he peacefully died at 6.40 am this morning. May he rest in peace.

In a letter of goodbye to his people David expressed beautifully the sentiments of his leaving: “You honoured me by letting me walk with you on life’s pilgrimage of love and faith. I have been with you in times of great joy: the weddings and baptisms and all other sacramental happenings of your children, and we have been together too in the sad times, the long drawn-out illnesses, the deaths and burials. I have shared in your problems and solutions, your sorrows and joys… As I move to ‘fresh fields and pastures new’ I renew my promise. Not one of you will be forgotten … I leave you with a line from a letter which St Thomas More, imprisoned in the (Tower) of London, wrote to his daughter Meg: ‘…till we merrily meet in Heaven’. Let us make this our desire and devout prayer.”

Reception of the body at Herbert House will take place at 4.30 pm on Tuesday 13 August. The Requiem Mass in the chapel there will take place at 11.00 am on Wednesday 14 August followed by burial in our own nearby cemetery.