Redemptorist was dedicated teacher, avid jazz fan

Fr. John Alan MacGregor

Fr. John Alan MacGregor

February 23, 2015
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Redemptorist Father John Alan MacGregor will be remembered as an excellent teacher and a dedicated pastor.

The Edmonton native did pastoral work throughout much of Canada before he returned to Edmonton in 2012 to live among his Redemptorist confreres at Villa Marguerite. He died of pneumonia Jan. 27 at age 90.

"I knew him very well. He was my teacher in high school at (Edmonton's) Holy Redeemer College," recalled Father Mark Miller, provincial superior of the Redemptorists in Canada.

"He was an excellent teacher, very intelligent, very well organized and disciplined and always supportive of his students."

As a priest, he was gentle and dedicated, Miller said. "He worked hard in his parishes to support people and did everything asked of him."

When he was in his 80s, MacGregor went to Toronto and, even though he was getting frailer, he continued to hear Confessions and to say Mass for as long as he could.

Miller, who works in Toronto, said many former students from Holy Redeemer College attended MacGregor's funeral and remembered the priest fondly.

Father James Mason described MacGregor as an intelligent, sharp-minded and soft-spoken priest with a keen desire to help people.

Born Jan. 16, 1925 in Edmonton, MacGregor was baptized in St. Francis Church in the city and received his education at several locations, including Edmonton, Camrose and Foremost in Alberta as well as Ithaca, N.Y.

Even as a small child, MacGregor knew he would become a priest. He professed his first vows in 1944 in Saint John, N.B. and last year celebrated his 70th year as a Redemptorist.

Ordained a priest in 1949 in Woodstock, Ont., he served throughout much of Canada.

TAUGHT LATIN, MATH

Armed with a teaching certificate from the Ontario College of Education in Toronto, in 1953 MacGregor began seven years of teaching Latin and mathematics at St. Mary's College in Brockville.

He also coached winning debating teams during that period.

Returning to the West, he taught at the newly-opened, now-defunct Holy Redeemer College in Edmonton for about 10 years until 1969. During that time, he received a bachelor of education at the University of Alberta and a master of arts in classics from the Catholic University of America.

When Holy Redeemer College closed, MacGregor embarked on almost four decades of pastoral work, starting with St. Joseph's Parish in Moose Jaw, Sask., from 1969 to 1971 and then again from 1973 to 1979. Between pastoral assignments there, he taught at Moose Jaw's Vanier Collegiate.

He later served at St. Gerard's Parish in Yorkton, Sask., St. Theresa Parish in Kelowna, B.C., and St. Mary's Parish in Saskatoon.

TRIPS TO NEW ORLEANS

Like other Redemptorists, MacGregor was involved in many local parish and community organizations, such as the John Howard Society and Knights of Columbus. An avid jazz fan, he travelled yearly to the New Orleans Jazz Festival.

In 1996, he became a pastoral assistant at St. Patrick's Parish in Toronto where he lived until 2012, when he decided to return to Edmonton to join his retired Redemptorist confreres at Villa Marguerite.

Miller said MacGregor moved to Youville Home in St. Albert just before Christmas 2013 because he needed nursing care.

The priest was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery Jan. 31 following his funeral Mass at St. Clare's Church.