Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 26, 2010
MacGillivray served 23 years in archdiocese
Holy Cross priest loved golf and crossword puzzles
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
WELLAND, ONT. - Father Hugh James MacGillivray, who served in the Edmonton Archdiocese for 23 years, will be remembered as a traditionalist who loved the liturgy and the Scriptures.
Introverted as he was, MacGillivray was a good preacher and even a better golfer. He was also known as a crossword puzzle fanatic.
A Holy Cross priest who served parishes in the archdiocese from 1970 to 1993, MacGillivray died April 16 at Douglas Memorial Hospital in Fort Erie, Ont., after a lengthy struggle with lung fibrosis. He was 81.
Born in New Glasgow, N.S., Oct. 6, 1928, MacGillivray studied at St. Joseph's College in Memramcook, N.B., and did his theological studies at Notre-Dame-de- Ste. Croix in Pierrefonds, Que.
He was received into the Congregation of Holy Cross Aug. 15, 1951 and ordained a priest Dec. 18, 1954.
MacGillivray spent his early years as a priest in education, teaching at schools in Welland, Ont., and as a high school chaplain in Montreal.
He spent some time in retreat work but the greatest part of MacGillivray's ministry was in parishes in Ontario and Alberta. He served as associate pastor at Edmonton's St. Thomas More Parish from 1970 to 1974.
He then became administrator of St. Charles Parish in Redwater, which included Gibbons and Namao. From 1977 to 1981 he served as pastor in Leduc. In 1981 he moved to Red Deer, serving at St. Mary's Parish as an associate and then pastor until 1993. For a brief period in 1974, MacGillivray served as administrator at Lloydminster.
Poor health forced him into retirement to the Holy Cross Residence in Welland in 1993. There he became archivist for his community, did replacement ministry in local parishes and loved having time for his great interests - golfing, building and flying radio-controlled model airplanes, researching genealogies, editing the Clan MacGillivray Canada Newsletter and visiting family.
Due to his condition, MacGillivray was on oxygen on a regular basis since 2000, noted Father John Vickers, superior of the Holy Cross Fathers in English Canada.
"He had a real struggle with his health but he never complained," he said. "He accepted it and he was always very grateful to all of those who helped him, treating everyone with gentleness."
Lloyd Baumgarten, chair of the pastoral council at St. Mary's in Red Deer during MacGillivray's tenure, described MacGillivray as a conservative pastor whose homilies were carefully crafted according to the Sunday readings.
Parish councils were a new phenomenon at the time and MacGillivray accepted them reluctantly, Baumgarten said. He also described MacGillivray as "prayerful" and "introverted." He was excellent at one-on-one interactions, though.
Father Wilf Murchland, the only Holy Cross priest left in the Edmonton Archdiocese out of about a dozen who came in the 1980s, described MacGillivray as "very athletic" and a "good golfer."
"He was a good (liturgical) singer and he was very dedicated to the liturgy," he said. "He was very dedicated to the liturgy and to good preaching. That was his forte."
Vickers agreed with Murchland's assertion.
"Father Hugh had a real love and respect for the liturgy," Vickers said from Welland. "He spent a lot of time reflecting on the Word of God."
MacGillivray played hockey and curled in his youth but stayed with golf in his old age. "He was a fanatical crossword puzzler," recalled Murchland. "He could do New York Times puzzles - two or three a day."
MacGillivray's funeral liturgy was celebrated at Welland's St. Kevin's Church April 21 followed by burial at Holy Cross Cemetery there.
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