Father John Seddon, a former Port Chaplain, Director of the Archdiocesan Youth Service and National Chaplain to Catholic Scouts died on the morning of Friday 27 February at Ince Blundell, aged 62 years. He had been a priest for 29 years.
John Seddon was born in Liverpool on 3 May 1952, the son of John and Mary Seddon. He received his early education at St Peter and St Paul School, Crosby, St William of York School, Thornton, and St Bede’s Secondary School, Crosby. After leaving school he became a clerical assistant at the Inland Revenue, eventually becoming a tax officer, but felt the need to do something else. He joined the Police Force as a Constable for two years, before returning to the Civil Service as an executive officer at the Ministry of Defence. During his time at the Inland Revenue he had become a Royal Naval Reservist and from the age of twenty had started serving as a scout leader. He became involved in the parish at St William of York, Thornton, and was among the founding members of Speakeasy, a discussion and music group for young people. After two of his close friends decided to begin seminary training, it was only a matter of time before the long-standing struggles in discerning his own vocation became more insistent. He eventually applied to start his seminary training and was sent to Ushaw College in 1980.
He was ordained priest by Archbishop Derek Worlock at St William of York, Thornton, on 6 July 1985. Following ordination he was appointed assistant priest at Our Lady of Compassion, Formby, where he remained until August 1989. He then spent a year as Chaplain for the Apostleship of the Sea at Stella Maris, Bootle. Over the years John acted as chaplain on more than 25 cruises, the last on board the Aurora last Easter. In 2012 he gave an interview to the Daily Telegraph about his work as a priest on board cruise ships. He quipped that, ‘We’re actually classified by the cruise lines as an entertainer,’ which in John’s case was probably quite apt, but on a more serious note he also remarked on the various ways in which he could help passengers and crew amid the joys and sorrows of life.
In August 1990 John was installed as Director of the Archdiocesan Youth Service living at St Robert Bellarmine, Bootle. He undertook this role for four years before his appointment as parish priest at St Michael’s, Kirkby. In 1997 he returned to a ministry with young people, this time as National Chaplain to Catholic Scouts, a post he held until his death. John was very proactive in this role. He was instrumental in organising camps for Catholic scouts, including the provision of prayers and reflections to be used. He was, for a time, the religious adviser to the scout movement on Catholic matters, he also chaired an inter-faith committee and he was very involved in the Centenary Jamboree in 2007. On a number of occasions John had the honour to preach at some prestigious venues such as Westminster Abbey and Rochester Cathedral, and for the St George’s Day parade at Windsor, and on one occasion to lead prayers in the US Senate. For ten years John also served as the European Catholic Chaplain for the international scouting movement.
In the last few years John served on the Police-Clergy liaison group for Merseyside as well as being the Priest Chaplain to the Port of Liverpool. Throughout his time as National Scout Chaplain John was based in the parish of St Peter and St Paul, Crosby, where he generously assisted when he was not prevented by his many other commitments.
His body will be received into the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King on Thursday 5 March at 7.00 pm when a Vigil Mass will be celebrated. His Funeral Mass will be celebrated at the Metropolitan Cathedral on Friday 6 March at 11.00 am, followed by burial at St Peter and St Paul, Crosby. May he rest in peace.