It is with immense sadness that the Diocese learned this morning that Archbishop Peter Smith, our former Archbishop, died peacefully just before midnight last night, Friday 6 March 2020, at the Royal Marsden Hospital, Chelsea. He had been fortified by the Sacraments and prayers for the Church and had been visited by his family and friends. He was at peace and his former secretary, Fr. Philip Glandfield, was with him when he died.
In a message to the clergy of the Archdiocese of Southwark and to his fellow bishops, Archbishop John Wilson wrote:
“Archbishop Peter’s illness progressed very quickly following his diagnosis of cancer just a few weeks ago. He was a much loved brother, uncle, and friend; a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark, Rector of St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, Bishop of East Anglia, Archbishop of Cardiff and Archbishop of Southwark until his retirement in July 2019. While Archbishop of Southwark, he also served from 2014-2015 as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. So many good wishes have been passed to him in the past few weeks, and prayers and Masses offered. Thank you for all of these.
Our gift to Archbishop Peter now is to pray for the repose of his soul, and to remember prayerfully his family, friends and loved ones at their time of loss.
In a ministry that spanned almost fifty years, Archbishop Peter made an outstanding contribution to the Catholic Church across three dioceses, and nationally through his service on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Most importantly, he was a disciple who witnessed to Christ with straightforward, splendid faith and radiant joy. Together with the other dioceses in which Archbishop Peter served, we mourn him with enormous affection and deep gratitude for all he gave so willingly and selflessly to so many people.
We are grateful for the care Archbishop Peter received from the staff at the Royal Marsden Hospital.
We now entrust our friend and brother to the Lord whom he served with such faithfulness, generosity and gentleness. May Archbishop Peter rest in peace and rise in glory”.
Archbishop Peter Smith served as Archbishop of Cardiff from 2001-2010. He will be fondly remembered by many across our diocese as a very prayerful and thoughtful man with an approachable demeanour.
On hearing of the news, Archbishop George Stack has said:
“We in the Archdiocese of Cardiff have good reason to be grateful to Archbishop Peter Smith for his ministry amongst us between the years 2001 and 2010. His kind and warm presence and his sense of humour ensured that he was an approachble pastor and friend. Once the funeral has been arranged at St. George’s Cathedral Southwark, we shall hold our own Memorial Mass for the repose of his soul”.