Westminster Cathedral is served by a ‘College of Chaplains’, drawn principally from the ranks of the Westminster diocesan clergy. Cardinal Vaughan wrote that the Chaplains’ chief motivation should be a desire to serve God as apostles, through a life of prayer and public liturgy. Throughout its life, the focus of the College has been the daily celebration of Mass and the Prayer of the Church, and it remains so to this day. The Chaplains meet together for Morning Prayer and each Chaplain celebrates one of the regular Masses.
Fr Slawomir Witoń, Dean
Fr Witoń was appointed to the Cathedral in 2020. In his role as the Cathedral Dean he oversees the whole life of the Cathedral on behalf of the Archbishop. His duties run from liturgy to maintenance, from staffing to finance, and from catechesis to parish visiting. He is Chair of the Friends of Westminster Cathedral and Oremus Magazine, a Governor of Westminster Cathedral Choir School, Chair of the Safeguarding Committee and Editor of the Parish Newsletter.
A native of Poland, his priestly formation was in London: at the Redemptoris Mater House of Formation in Marylebone and at Allen Hall, the Diocesan Seminary, where he studied philosophy and theology. Post-seminary, before his Ordination, he was privileged to minister in Kazakhstan and Siberia, sharing the Gospel with people who had just regained their religious freedom. He spent a year at Holy Apostles, Pimlico before being ordained Deacon. His diaconate year was with the parish of St Scholastica in Clapton with the late Canon Tuckwell. After his Ordination he served as a Chaplain and subsequently as Sub-Dean for a total of six years in Westminster Cathedral before appointment as Parish Priest in the busy north London parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St George, Enfield, where he ministered for nine years. Fr Witoń places his ministry under the protective mantle of Mary, Our Lady of Walsingham, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and Our Lady of Częstochowa, Mother of God and Mother of the Church.
Fr Brian O’Mahony, Sub-Dean
Fr Brian is the Sub-Dean of Westminster Cathedral and Rector of the College of Chaplains. The role of the Sub-Dean is to support the work of the Dean in his day-to-day running of the Cathedral. In particular, he looks after the domestic arrangements of Clergy House and the duty rota which governs the daily life of the Chaplains’ team. As well as the general duties of daily Mass and Confessions, his particular pastoral responsibilities include chaplaincy to Westminster Cathedral Choir School, the Guild of St Anthony and the coordination of the Marriage Preparation Course. He took up his current role in September, 2021. In addition to duties in the Cathedral, Fr Brian is a lecturer at Allen Hall Seminary.
Fr Brian studied for the priesthood in London and was ordained for our Diocese in 2014. His first appointment was as a Chaplain in the Cathedral from 2014-2017, after which he completed further studies in Rome. Before returning here he was most recently the Parish Priest at St Matthew’s in Northwood.
He says the Cathedral is not just the Mother Church for Catholics but also a vibrant parish church, serving a diverse community.
Fr Mike Maguire, Precentor
Fr Mike is the Precentor of Westminster Cathedral and Prefect of the Sacristy. He has responsibility for the Cathedral’s liturgy, coordinating special services, liaison with the Music Department and management of the Cathedral diary. He leads the Cathedral Confirmation Course and is Chaplain to the Guild of St John Southworth. He is also the diocesan Assistant Vocations Promoter.
He joined the College of Chaplains in September 2021. Born in Jarrow in the North-East of England, he spent 13 years in nursing working at busy A & E departments across London. He felt the call to priesthood in Lourdes. He studied at Allen Hall, with placements at Staines and Kensal Rise, Feltham Young Offenders Institution and the Convent of Jesus and Mary Language College. His diaconate year was at St Pius X, Charles Square. He returned to A&E during the first lockdown of the Covid pandemic offering his services to help the sick. He is a Sunderland football fan and enjoys travelling and especially flying. He says the best piece of advice he ever received was from his parish priest: ‘Don’t just hear Christ but listen to him.’
Fr John Scott, Registrar
Fr John is the Registrar for Westminster Cathedral and maintains all the Cathedral records and documents. He is responsible for Cathedral Communications and is the Editor of Oremus Magazine. As Cathedral Chaplain he has responsibility for the Cathedral’s Chapel of Ease, the Sacred Heart Church in Horseferry Road, and he also leads the Confirmation Class for Westminster School. He is Chair of Governors of SVP School and Chaplain to the Catholic Grandparents Association.
Born in Nottingham, Fr John studied Modern Languages at St John’s College, Oxford and worked in Westminster before training for Ministry in the Church of England at Mirfield, in West Yorkshire. His Anglican ministry included the country parish of Oundle, Northamptonshire, inner city Dalston in Hackney, and six and a half years in eastern Enfield where he consolidated a small parish and was instrumental in building a new school junior department. He served for 12 years in Kent as chaplain to an Anglican order of contemplative sisters and says he was deeply influenced by the monastic pattern of life and spirituality. In 2007, he was received and confirmed into the Catholic Church. He expected to spend retirement at the London Charterhouse but he was called by God to follow the path of Catholic priesthood and, after two years formation at Allen Hall, was ordained at Westminster Cathedral. He has known and valued the Cathedral for many years and ‘feels privileged’ to serve as Chaplain.
Fr Michael Donaghy
Fr Michael’s ministry at the Cathedral includes pastoral care for the sick and the housebound of the parish and he regularly celebrates Mass in some of the local residential homes. He is responsible for Baptism Preparation and has pastoral oversight over the Legion of Mary, the Cathedral Oblates and the Filipino Club. He is also the Cathedral’s Ecumenical and Interfaith Representative.
Fr Michael claims both Co. Cork and Lincolnshire antecedents and was brought up in Luton. He considered training as a biochemist, but from childhood had felt the call to priesthood. He studied for his theology degree at Heythrop College in Chelsea and was ordained to the diaconate at Westminster Cathedral. He spent his diaconal year at St Joseph’s parish Hanwell where he was ordained to the priesthood on 27 June 1981, the feast of St John Southworth to whom he has a particular devotion. He was appointed Chaplain at the Cathedral from 1985-1992, where his roles included Prefect of the Sacristy, Registrar, St Vincent de Paul School Chaplain and Keeper of the Clocks. He also ministered to the first HIV/AIDS patients at Westminster Hospital. He went on to serve as Parish Priest in Potters Bar, Teddington, and Hoddesdon. In 1999, he took a sabbatical year and trained for a dual PGCE, as both a primary and secondary school teacher. Specialising in science and RE, he taught at schools in Hereford, London, Luton and Bedfordshire and took a further qualification (PGCCE) in Citizenship Education. He was re-appointed to the Cathedral as Chaplain in 2014. Fr Michael thanks God for the ‘special blessing’ of serving for a second time in the great Cathedral community.
Fr Hugh Mackenzie
Fr Hugh shares his ministry as the Chaplain at Westminster Cathedral with his role as the Chaplain to St John’s Hospice in St John’s Wood, and at the same time pursuing further studies for a PhD in Philosophy.
He was ordained in Westminster Cathedral in the centenary year of the laying of the Cathedral’s foundation stone. He spent his curacy at a parish in Sloane Square and this was followed by Sixth-Form chaplaincy at Harrow-on-the-Hill, seminary teaching and a period as Parish Priest at Willesden Green. Before priesthood, he studied computers at St Andrew’s University but insists technology has ‘moved on’. His doctorate explores the Catholic Tradition of showing rationally that humans have an eternal soul. His role as Chaplain at the Cathedral includes responsibility for the Guild of the Blessed Sacrament.
Fr Vincent Mbu’I SVD
Fr Vincent is Chaplain to St Vincent de Paul Primary School and is responsible for the Cathedral First Holy Communion Programme, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and for the Children’s Liturgy of the Word.
Fr Vincent hails from Indonesia and is a member of the Society of the Divine Word. He trained for the priesthood at St Paul Seminary, Ledalero in Indonesia and in Bonn, Germany. His ongoing formation took him to Friedberg and Hamburg, where he worked as an Assistant Priest. His positive experiences in Germany encouraged him to seek new areas of work and he moved to Ireland for two years and in 2014, to England where he was appointed to Marychurch parish in Hatfield and then to the busy city centre parish of St Mary of the Quay in Bristol. As a member of the College of Chaplains he says: ‘I open my heart to be surprised by new experiences.’
‘We are very conscious of the great privilege entrusted to us of serving God and his people in this great Cathedral.’