John Carmel HeenanEighth Archbishop of Westminster
Born 24 January 1905, or Irish parents, John Carlem Heenan studied at St
Ignatius College, Stamford Hill, and aged 16 moved to Ushaw seminary near Durham. At the
age of 19 he entered the Venerable English College in Rome. Ordained in 1930, he was
sent to St Ethelburga's Barkingm, in Essex.
In 1837 aged 32, he became Parish Priest of Manor Park where he was to remain
through the ward until 1947. In 1940 he became well-known for his broadcasts to
America - in a series called 'Britian Speaks' - and also for his newspaper articles and
public speaking. In 1947 he became Head of the Catholic Missionary Society, traveling with the future Archbishop Dwyer of Birmingham in a motorised chapel. At this time
was in constant demand for talks and retreats.
In 1951 John Carmel Heenan was named Bishop of Leeds. There, he revitalized the
diocese, choosing to live close to his people. In 1957, he moved to Liverpool as
Archbishop, where he launched a competition to build a new Cathedral, resulting in the
consecration of the famous Metropolitan Cathedral in 1967. However, by 1963
Archbishop Heenan had moved to Westminster, and in 1965 was created Cardinal
Cardinal Heenen attended the Vatican Council from 1962 - 1965, and was cautious yet
determined about implementing its decisions in his diocese. He furthered ecumenical
dialogue through his warm friendship with the Chief Rabbi and the Archbishop of
Canterbury. He was a strong leader of the Bishop's Conference on public statements
about moral issues.
In 1967 Cardinal Heenan suffered a serious illness and for the remainder of his life
battled ill-health. He died on 7 November 1975 aged 70. At his own wish he was
buried in the nave of the Cathedral, close to the people he had served, so that he might
be assured of their prayers.