Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 23, 2008
CSS honours MacNeil for his 'exceptional contributions'
Retired archbishop turns plaudits back to founder Irwin
By RAMON GONZALEZ
Msgr. Irwin "much of his vision, courage and inspiration and pastoral genius from the archbishop."
- Fr. Mike McCaffery
"He is a passionate and compassionate leader whose keen intellect and exceptional interpersonal skills, humility and great sense of humour have enabled him to attain success in all he has undertaken in the service of his God, his Church and his country," McCaffery said of the archbishop before the award presentation.
A native of Sydney, N.S., MacNeil served as archbishop of Edmonton from 1973 to 1999. He celebrated 60 years of priesthood just last month.
"Rather than resting on his laurels, he continues to serve the people and the Church he so loves," McCaffery said, noting that in recognition of MacNeil's leadership and service to youth an elementary junior high school was named after him in 2006.
"Archbishop MacNeil was a very close friend and trusted confidante of Msgr. Irwin, who drew much of his vision, courage and inspiration and pastoral genius from the archbishop," the priest continued.
"Without Archbishop MacNeil's outstanding leadership and unfailing support, Father Bill (Irwin) often remarked that Catholic Social Services would never have grown into Canada's largest multifunction service agency."
Added McCaffery: "As the prophet Micah stated, a saintly person is one who 'loves tenderly, acts justly, and walks humbly with his God.' And certainly, in every facet of Archbishop MacNeil's life, and in every mark of affection he has shown to both the powerful and the weak, the archbishop has exemplified that calling."
McCaffery, former senator Thelma Chalifoux, Judy and Harry Buddle, and Court of Queen's Bench Chief Justice Allan Wachowich are among past winners of the Msgr. Bill Irwin Award of Excellence.
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