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Archbishop Joseph Neil MACNEIL

Archbishop Joseph Neil MACNEIL Archbishop Joseph Neil MACNEIL

Let Us Grow Together in Christ
Joseph Neil MacNeil was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, on April 15, 1924, the eldest of three children. He studied at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1944 before deciding to enter the Halifax Diocesan Seminary. He was ordained as a priest on May 23, 1948, and spent the next seven years serving as assistant pastor in three Nova Scotia parishes. Father MacNeil went on to obtain a Doctorate of Canon Law from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and in 1959 was named administrator of the Diocese of Antigonish following the death of the bishop. He then served a short time as pastor of St. Ninian's Cathedral in Antigonish before being asked to direct the Extension Department at his alma mater, St. Francis Xavier University, a position he held for nine years.
He was appointed Bishop of Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1969 and installed on July 16 at the age of 45. On September 5, 1973, he was installed as the fifth Archbishop of Edmonton, and served in that ministry until his retirement in 1999. Along the way, Archbishop MacNeil pursued graduate studies in economics at the University of Chicago and received Honorary Doctorates of Law from St. Francis Xavier University (1978), St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick (1980), and the University of Alberta, Edmonton (1982). During his time in office, Archbishop MacNeil served as president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1979 to 1981, and in that position extended the formal invitation to St. Pope John Paul II to visit Canada. He described the Pope’s visit to Edmonton as a highlight of his episcopacy.
Archbishop MacNeil was predeceased by his parents, John Martin MacNeil and Katie Alice McLean, and by his sister Rita. He is survived by his brother, Father Malcolm MacNeil and his nephew, Donald, both living in Halifax. He will be remembered with profound gratitude by his brother bishops and priests, and many, many friends in the Archdiocese of Edmonton and across Canada. Regular weekday Mass at St. Joseph’s Basilica (10044 – 113 Street, Edmonton), presided by Archbishop Smith, will begin at 12:05 p.m. on Thursday, February 15, 2018. Following Mass, the casket carrying Archbishop Joseph MacNeil will be formally received into the Church. Those wishing to pay their respects may do so between 1 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. Vigil Prayers, presided by Archbishop Smith, will begin at 7 p.m. followed by further visitation ending at 9 p.m.
The Funeral Mass at St. Joseph’s Basilica, presided by Archbishop Smith, will begin at 12 p.m. on Friday, February 16, 2018. Interment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery, 14611 – Mark Messier Trail, Edmonton.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Archbishop Joseph MacNeil Endowment Fund, 8421-101 Ave NW Edmonton, AB T6A 0L1.
To send condolences, please visit www.connelly-mckinley.com.


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