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Archbishop Joseph N. MacNeil


Archbishop Joseph MacNeil died on February 11, 2018, at the age of 93. As beloved in retirement as he was during his 26 years of active service, he counted hundreds, if not thousands, of people among his friends and colleagues. Below are just some of the many messages of condolence received by the Archdiocese.

For stories, pictures and video related to the passing of Archbishop MacNeil, visit Grandin Media.

Apostolic Blessing

Deeply saddened to learn of the death of Archbishop Joseph Neil MacNeil, the Holy Father sends heartfelt condolences to you, the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Edmonton. With gratitude to Almighty God for Archbishop MacNeil's many years of devoted and faithful service to the Church in Canad, His Holiness joins those gathered for the solemn funeral rites in commending his soul to the compassionate love of our Heavenly Father. To all who mourn the Archbishop MacNeil's passing, Pope Francis cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the risen Lord.

✠Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State, Vatican

In communion with the sentiments of the Holy Father, I heartily unite myself with the confident prayer of the Archdiocese of Edmonton, the eternal repose of the soul of your beloved Archbishop MacNeil.

With my cordial regards,

✠Luigi Bonazzi
Apostolic Nuncio, Ottawa

True friend and mentor

"Archbishop Joseph was a true friend and mentor,” reflects Bishop David Motiuk of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton. “As a young Chancellor, I welcomed guidance and advice from Archbishop Joseph, a fellow Canon lawyer, on a variety of topics."

Bishop David says he and the Archbishop worked on a number of projects together, for example: “At the recommendation and with the support of Archbishop Joseph, the Eparchy of Edmonton co-founded an Inter-Diocesan/Eparchial Ecumenical Commission, working together towards greater Christian Unity.”

The two hierarchs “shared a love and passion for Catholic education,” and each was honoured with having a school named after him.

“While mourning his loss,” concludes Bishop David, “I rejoice in knowing that His Grace now enjoys the eternal reward which awaits him in the Kingdom of God.”

Great love and dedication

On hearing the news of the passing of Archbishop Joseph N. MacNeil, I recall his great love and dedication to the Church and especially his kindness to me when I was Rector of the seminary in Edmonton. I wish that my prayers might me joined with yours and with those of all the faithful who had the pleasure of knowing him, so that he be rewarded with eternal happiness in heaven.

In the Peace of Christ Risen,

✠Marc Cardinal Ouellet
Congregation for Bishops, Vatican City

Joyful hospitality and encouragement

Peace be with you! My most sincere condolences on the death of Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Neil MacNeil. May the Lord welcome him into eternal life. Almost 70 years a priest and close to 50 years a bishop, he served the Lord and His Church with faithfulness and perseverance. Please extend to his family, to the clergy of your Archdiocese and to the faithful who knew and loved him the assurance of my humble prayers for the repose of his soul. We can always count on the mercy of our Loving Father. I remember Archbishop MacNeil's joyful hospitality and words of encouragement.

United in the Hope of the Resurrection,
✠Gerald C. Cardinal Lacroix
Archbishop of Quebec

A great pastor and a good man

It is with sadness that I heard about the death of Archbishop MacNeil. I got to know him well and I consider him as a good friend, especially after I spent some time in the archdiocese on the staff of the Seminary.

My condolences to you and to the diocesan Church, loosing a great Pastor and a good man. I shall keep him in the Eucharistic celebration tomorrow more specifically.

Noël Delaquis
Bishop Emeritus of Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan

A memorable preacher

I want to express to you and to the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese of Edmonton my sincere condolences on the death of Archbishop Joseph MacNeil. I first met him many years ago in Rome and then a few times in Cape Breton. When I was in St. John's, Newfoundland, he preached a memorable retreat for our priests. I am unable to attend the funeral but will celebrate Mass on Friday for the repose
of his soul.

Fraternally in Christ,

Brendan O'Brien
Archbishop of Kingston

An enormous contributor to life of the Church

On behalf of the Diocese of Saskatoon, I wish to express our condolences and prayers to you on the occasion of the passing of Archbishop Joseph MacNeil. Archbishop MacNeil was an enormous contributor to the life of the Canadian Catholic Church - not only in Edmonton, but across the entire country. As you gather later today to celebrate his funeral, please know that we join with you in thanksgiving to Almighty God for Archbishop MacNeil's life and vocation. May we all continue to build on the great good he accomplished for the life and mission of the Catholic Church in Canada. May he rest in the Peace and Light of Christ!

In Christ,

Mark Hagemoen
Bishop of Saskatoon

Wonderful friend and shepherd

We have indeed lost a wonderful friend and shepherd! He has truly reached countless souls, and brought Christ's love to them. I was not able to get to the funeral, but Archbishop McNeil has certainly been in my prayers. All the Daughters of Wisdom who knew him (many are now already in eternity, so I am sure he will be greeted there with joy!) are most, most grateful to him, I know.

Sister Eleanora Baier DW