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College of Chaplains

Canon Christopher Tuckwell
Canon Christopher Tuckwell
Administrator; Chairman, The Friends; Chairman, Oremus; Editor, Weekly Newsletter; Officiating Chaplain to Wellington Barracks
Fr Martin Plunkett
Fr Martin Plunkett
Sub-Administrator; Rector of the College of Chaplains; Confirmation Course; Welcome Ministry in the Cathedral
Fr Michael Donaghy
Fr Michael Donaghy
Masses in Residential Homes; Visits to the Sick and Housebound; Legion of Mary; Chaplain to Gordon Hospital; Ecumenical and Interfaith Representative
Fr Andrew Gallagher
Fr Andrew Gallagher
Precentor; Prefect of the Sacristy; Chaplain to Westminster Cathedral Choir School
Fr Michael Quaicoe
Fr Michael Quaicoe
First Holy Communion; Oblates; Confirmations at Westminster School
Fr John Scott
Fr John Scott
Registrar; Editor of Oremus Magazine; Cathedral Communications; Sacred Heart Church

Cardinal Herbert Vaughan had originally envisaged Westminster Cathedral being served by a monastic community, but decided to set up a College of Chaplains, drawn from the ranks of the diocesan priesthood, and this College was established in 1903.    He wrote of the chaplains that their chief motivation should be a desire to serve God as apostles, through a life of prayer and public liturgy. Throughout its life, the centre of the College’s being has been the daily celebration of the Mass and the Prayer of the Church, and it remains so to this day. The Chaplains meet together each day for Morning Prayer and each chaplain will celebrate one of the regular Masses.

Originally the chaplains lived together with the Archbishop in one house, but later the house was divided into Archbishop’s House and Clergy House. In the early days there were twenty or more chaplains at the Cathedral; our ranks have now been thinned, but we maintain a degree of common life by sharing meals and recreation as well as the liturgical duties.    The Administrator oversees the whole life of the Cathedral on behalf of the Archbishop and his duties run from liturgy to maintenance, from staffing to finance, and from catechesis to parish visiting.    The Sub-Administrator looks after the domestic arrangements of Clergy House, the duty rotas by which the daily life of the chaplains is governed, and the day-to-day running of the Cathedral.     The Precentor has responsibility for the Cathedral's liturgy, co-ordinating special services, liaison with the Music Department, and the management of the Cathedral diary.  The Registrar maintains all the Cathedral records and documents.

Each of the chaplains has a specific pastoral responsibility, either in the cathedral parish or in a wider context, and these include the normal sacramental programmes, the visiting of the sick, the chaplaincies at the Choir School and St.Vincent de Paul Primary School, visiting the Passage Day Care Centre, an Officiating Chaplaincy at Wellington Barracks and much else.    One of the major works of the Cathedral is the provision of Confessors for the six hours of Confessions heard each day, a very privileged and worthwhile ministry.

The life of a Cathedral Chaplain is a very rich and diverse one, often quite exhausting, but never dull, and we are all very conscious of the great privilege entrusted to us of serving God and his people in this great Cathedral.