Death of Bishop Desmond Williams, retired Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin

24 Feb 2006


24 FEBRUARY 2006



The sudden death has occurred on Friday (24/2) of retired Auxiliary Bishop
of Dublin, Dr. Desmond Williams. Bishop Williams was 76.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said he and priests of the Diocese were greatly
saddened by this news. Dr. Martin said Bishop Williams was a person whose
work for the poor of Dublin was extraordinary, done quietly, without fanfare.
“He was a most caring person,” said Archbishop Martin, “whose life influenced
the lives of many people in all spheres of life throughout the Diocese.”

Bishop Williams was born in Dun Laoire April 1930. He was educated by the
Christian Brothers at Eblana Avenue. He studied for the priesthood at Holy
Cross College, Clonliffe and the Gregorian University in Rome. Ordained
in June 1955 he was a chaplain to Presentation College, Bray and taught
in Bray Vocational school for a year.

In 1958 he joined the staff of Archbishop’s House and a year later became
secretary to Archbishop John Charles Mc Quaid. When Dr. Mc Quaid retired 12
years later Monsignor Williams remained a secretary at Archbishops House
but was given special responsibility for diocesan finance and pastoral
development by Archbishop Ryan. In this role he helped develop the SHARE
fund in 1974, set up to allow all parishes collectively help with the
development of Churches, schools, community facilities and the running of
the Dublin Diocese as a whole. In 1976 he was appointed Episcopal vicar
for finance fort he diocese.

In 1959 he founded St. Kevin’s football club in Whitehall and helped it
expand into one of the largest of its kind in Europe, fielding over 40
competitive teams each week.

In 1980 he became chairman of the Catholic Social Service Conference, now
Crosscare, the social care agency of the Archdiocese. Under his direction
the agency was modernised, updated and expanded towards the multi service
agency that is Crosscare today, providing vital programmes to the poor
and marginalised in the capital. Originally appointed for a three year
term, he served for 10, five years as a Bishop. He was appointed Auxiliary
Bishop in April 1985.

Under his chairmanship the CSSC emphasised that its work was directed towards
helping the poor to realise their human dignity and potential, as well as
being empowered to speak for themselves and change the society of which they
are a part. He lived for some time at Trudder House, a residential home for
travellers at Newtownmountkennedy, which he helped develop. Bishop Williams had a special pastoral concern for Travellers.

In 1990 after 30 years in the central administration of the diocese, he asked
to be relieved of his principal responsibilities in order to devote more time
to his pastoral work as Bishop.

He also served as chairman of the Diocesan committee for parish development
and renewal. He was appointed by the Bishops Conference as president of the
Council for Social Welfare and was also a member of the Bishop’s pastoral
emigrant and finance commissions.

In December 1993 he tendered his resignation as auxiliary Bishop to Pope John
Paul II due to ill health. He did however, continue work visiting prison visits
and he kept an active interest in issues of penal reform.

In later years he resided in the Holy Family Residence in Roebuck Road, where
he died this evening (Friday). Funeral arrangements will be announced later.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilis.

24 February 2006

Further information:

Annette O’Donnell
Communications Office
Archdiocese of Dublin
Tel: 01 8360723