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Archbishop John Hugh MacDonald

John Hugh MacDonald was born on April 03, 1881, in Maryvale, Nova Scotia. Following his theological studies in 1906, MacDonald was ordained to the priesthood on December 21. He became the Bishop of Victoria in 1934, and in 1936, he succeeded his long-time friend Henry Joseph O’Leary as Edmonton’s third Archbishop.

The Archbishop pioneered credit unions in Catholic parishes, encouraged youth to a more active participation and formation of Catholic Youth Groups, along with the opening of Catholic Charities.

After 26 years as the leader of the Archdiocese, MacDonald retired in 1964 with a well-established reputation as “The Educator.”

The Archbishop's Coat of Arms


Heraldry originated about a thousand years ago in Europe, where it was used by the warrior classes as a means of differentiating combatants on the field of battle. As Europe developed and the feudal warrior class disappeared, the practice of identifying one's possessions with personal emblems flourished. Ecclesiastical heraldry grew out of this practice, initially to differentiate between the various degrees of the clerical estate. The Pope and most bishops adopt a personal coat of arms, which today is used primarily to identify communications from their particular office.


The red arm of Clandonald designates his origin. The Sacred Heart in memory of Sacred Heart Parish in Sydney, Nova Scotia, where he labored for 10 years. St. Joseph to designate the place to which he was being sent. Alberta, the civil province in which his ecclesiastical province is located.


Crux Spes Mea