Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 22, 2003
Bishop Doyle always ready to serve others
Former Edmonton priest dies at 90
By BILL GLEN
"He was very efficient, showing great pastoral sense."
- Msgr. Donald MacDonald
He served as national director of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (1962-86), president of the then Office for Religious Education (1966-70), director of the National Office of Religious Education (1966-67) and chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Religious Education (1966-69).
As a young bishop, Doyle became caught up in the excitement of Vatican II (1962-65).
"It was a good time to be alive," he said of the ferment during and after the Second Vatican Council in a 1998 interview with the WCR.
"So many people were open to change. I've always admired the perception of John XXIII (who called the council). He knew the world was changing. He knew that the Church had to change and speak to a different world."
Evidence of Doyle's admiration was apparent when he named Sister Katherine Meagher as the first female chancellor of a Canadian diocese, in 1976.
Upon returning to Edmonton in retirement, Doyle lived at St. Anthony's Parish where pastoral assistant Bev Curtis was awestruck by his desire to selflessly serve people.
"He was about 77 when he came to St. Anthony's and he lived here for 10 years," Curtis said. "He once joked he was coming here as he pleased and that there would be no meetings because he pictured hell as being one long meeting."
Instead, Doyle wanted to do pastoral work as chaplain to Edmonton hospitals. He didn't want to be known as a bishop, Curtis said. He just wanted to be known as Father Doyle.
"What he wanted to do was to serve, getting in touch with people. And that is what he did. He ran Bible studies. He took care of the Cross (Cancer Institute). He was always willing to do anything that involved helping others.
"And he had a wicked sense of humour. He would say something pointed, but he always had a twinkle in his eye. He gave me a picture from when he was ordained and said it proves that he once had hair."
Doyle assigned himself tasks around the parish including emptying the garbage, returning the recycling and buying the groceries. It was true humility.
He also taught himself the computer and quickly wrote three large volumes of his family history.
"He loved to be the chief cook at any parish function," Curtis said. "His specialty was flipping burgers on a barbecue. He'd show up in his cowboy hat and take over. He'd give big hugs that let you know how much he appreciated you.
"He was so much fun to have around."
Bishop Doyle's funeral was to be held at Immaculate Conception Church in Kelowna Sept. 18 with interment at the Mary Immaculate Cathedral in Nelson.
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