Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 27, 2006
Feehan loved outdoors, was master carpenter
Fr. Grattan Feehan
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
For the second time in less than four months, priests of the Edmonton Redemptorist community have lost a very close friend and fellow priest.
Last November, 93-year-old Father Leonard Fitzgerald died at Foyer Lacombe, the Oblate Fathers retirement home.
And on Feb. 18, Father Edward Grattan Feehan died peacefully at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. He was 84.
Father Joseph Murphy had known each man for more than 50 years.
A better place
"Thank God for our faith that we all have the same purpose in life," Murphy said. "We feel that they have gone to a better place where we are all working together for. It's the idea of community life that we encourage and support one other."
As young priests, Feehan and Murphy found themselves stationed together in Dawson Creek, B.C. Their paths would cross continually.
"We started our ministries in Dawson Creek and we were together in Edmonton at St. Alphonsus Parish for about 15 years. Over the years, we had all kinds of association in various roles. We belonged to the same order and were considered brothers."
Feehan was born on Aug. 10, 1921 in Regina. After the family moved to Saskatoon, his father became superintendent of the district's Catholic schools.
As a young man, Feehan wanted to become a missionary priest. He joined the Redemptorists, making his first vows in 1941. He attended St. Alphonsus Seminary in Woodstock, Ont., where he was ordained on Dec. 22, 1946.
During nearly 50 years as a priest, Feehan served in numerous positions as pastor and superior. After his first assignment to Dawson Creek, Feehan moved on to become pastor and superior in Nelson, B.C. Using his talents as a carpenter, Feehan helped build a new church.
In 1964, he became pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Calgary, where he built a new rectory.
Feehan studied moral theology at the Alphonsian Academy in Rome before obtaining a master of education degree from Ft. Wright College in Spokane.
Feehan served as director of the office of religious education for the Diocese of Calgary before being elected provincial of the Edmonton Province of the Redemptorists in 1969. He served three terms as provincial until 1978.
Murphy described Feehan as a "dedicated, conscientious priest" who led by example.
"Just by his leadership, he saw us through some tough times after the Second Vatican Council. He was a faithful servant."
Following appointments in Vancouver and Moose Jaw, Feehan became pastor of St. Alphonsus Parish in Edmonton, where he retired in 1993.
Sailing and hunting
"Father Feehan helped build our cabin at Lac Ste. Anne. He was a hard worker," Murphy said. "He was well accepted wherever he went because he was a straightforward person. You always knew where you stood with him."
Feehan was instrumental in establishing the order's retirement community at the Grey Nun's Centre where he lived for several years before moving to Foyer Lacombe in 2004.
One of five children, Feehan was predeceased by his youngest brother Leo, who was also a Redemptorist prior to his death in 1971 at age 36.
Feehan was considered a master carpenter who liked to build furniture for himself and others. He enjoyed his free time sailing or hunting.
"When we were younger, we enjoyed hunting together," Murphy said. "He did a fair amount of sailing. He loved the outdoors. He was a good man to get along with."
Feehan was buried Feb. 23 at Holy Cross Cemetery.