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Diocese mourns death of Bishop Philip Harvey

posted on 03 February 2003
Bishop Philip Harvey, auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, died on Sunday 2nd February 2003 after a long illness. He was born on 6th March 1915 in Richmond, Surrey, one of three children of William and Elizabeth Harvey.

He attended the Oratory School and Cardinal Vaughan School, Kensington before studying for the priesthood at St Edmund's College, Ware. He was ordained to the priesthood in Westminster Cathedral by Cardinal Hinsley on 3rd June 1939.

He served as assistant priest in Cricklewood (1939-1944), Kentish Town (1944-1945) and Fulham (1945-1953). In 1953, he was appointed Assistant Administrator of the Crusade of Rescue, the beginning of the welfare work that was to dominate his life, and went on to become Administrator in 1963. He was made an honorary Canon in 1964, awarded the OBE in 1973 for his services to child welfare in the Crusade of Rescue and made titular Canon of Westminster in 1976.

Cardinal Hume consecrated him auxiliary bishop of Westminster in 1977 and he held special responsibility for the North London pastoral area. He served and led a number of committees and councils including the Bishops' Conference Committee for Social Welfare and the Joint Committee for Hospital Chaplaincies. He also represented the Bishops' Conference in a wide range of organisations, such as the Catholic Doctors' Guild, the Federation of Catholic Health Care Institutions and the Catholic Marriage Advisory Council.

However, it was in the area of child welfare that Bishop Harvey made his greatest contribution, particularly as head of the Catholic Children's Society. He gave nearly fifty years of devoted service to children within the Diocese of Westminster and beyond. He was a member of the Houghton Committee which reformed adoption legislation in the mid 1970s and served the Catholic Welfare Council, the National Council of One-Parent Families and the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work. The Catholic Children's Society's Bishop Harvey Family Service based in Hendon is a fitting tribute to the work Bishop Harvey did to help children and families.

Jim Richards, Director of the Catholic Children's Society, said, 'the continuation of this work will be the greatest tribute we can offer Bishop Harvey in ensuring that the service he worked so hard to build and held so dear, will be available to future generations of children and families.'

Hearing of Bishop Harvey's death, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, said, 'Bishop Harvey's life, priesthood and episcopate were lived out with dedication and commitment to the people and priests of the Diocese of Westminster whom he loved so much. He gave enormous service to the Diocese and was renowned for his understanding, approachability and his listening ear. He will be sorely missed.'

Bishop Harvey's body will be received into Westminster Cathedral on Sunday 9 February at 7.45 pm. The Requiem Mass will take place there on Monday 10 February 2003 at 12 noon. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor will be the Principal Celebrant.
Contact Details:
Austen Ivereigh
Telephone: 020 7798 9045 or 07905 224860
posted on 03 February 2003

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