Sydney, NS –
He is described as an icon, a monk and a true friend.
Fr. Hookie D. McDonald has served as parish priest for several Cape Breton communities, and residents are now mourning his death at the age of 95.
“He was the best man I ever met. He gave my life back to me, ”said Jim King, a resident of Port Hawksbury.
King and McDonald have been friends for over 40 years, and King will continue to accompany McDonald, calling on him to help an individual or family he may need.
“I have never met a man who could communicate so easily with people,” King said, adding that McDonald was not so concerned about an individual’s religion because he gave a helping hand.
McDonald died on December 31st. At the time, she was living in a Port Hawksbury nursing home.
Born in Springfield, Antigone County, he completed his high school education in Mapu and later graduated from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigone. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1952.
As noted in his condolences, McDonald’s philosophy of life is deeply rooted in his faith, exemplified by content and compassion. Everyone is equally important.
McDonald was well known for his “Tim Hortons ministry” and worked closely with drug addicts, which he said were some of the most suitable jobs for him. He also ministered to survivors of abuse.
“Sometimes, people who have been sexually abused, especially young people, are in situations where they are not normal, so I often take a person out of the house. During an interview with the Cape Breton Post in January 2018, on the occasion of retiring after 66 years of service, put them elsewhere. .
Even in retirement, McDonald would regularly share a smile at a local coffee shop or give support to someone in need.
“I’m a kind person, people support me, that’s why I enjoyed my life so much. Give them an ear, that’s the big thing,” he said at the time.
McDonald did more than just lend his car, home, buy groceries, and take people to appointments and other favors.
“We are very pleased that he included us in the request for donations (in his memory),” said Larry Evans, Chairman of the Port Hawksbury Food Bank Group.
Evans said McDonald was always interested in what was going on in the community and that the community had great respect for McDonald.
Another group listed for public donations is the Lyceum Transition House, a shelter in McDonald’s, Port Hawksbury for abused women and their children.
“He was a great supporter of LeSite and we are truly grateful that he kindly joined us,” said Sherry Taylor, managing director of the facility.
In addition to Port Hawksbury, residents of St. Peters, Iona, Sydney, Larris River, Picto, Arichat and Greenish will also be remembered by McDonald.
He was a founding member of the Cape Breton Addiction Center in North Sydney and has served on several boards, including the Rescue Home (Addiction Center) in Antigonish, the Fisheries Appeals Board and the boards of St. FX and St. Martha’s Hospital.
In 1996, he received the Governor – General’s Concerned Canadian Award, which “is an outstanding example set by these special volunteers, whose compassion and charity are part of the Canadian role.”
A private funeral will be held Thursday in Antigonis.
Although many consider him a hero, McDonald described his commitment to helping those in need most simply.
“I didn’t save the world, but I take a crack anyway,” he said.