Rev. John Joseph MacDonald

Born: Tue., Nov. 13, 1928
Died: Sat., Dec. 28, 2019


2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, Thu., Jan. 02, 2020
Location: J.M. Jobes Funeral Home

7:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Thu., Jan. 02, 2020
Location: Holy Family Church

Funeral Mass

2:00 PM Fri., Jan. 03, 2020
Location: Holy Family Church

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Music by The Piano Brothers

Reverend John Joseph MacDonald
Sydney Mines

Reverend John Joseph MacDonald, age 91, passed away on Saturday, December 28, 2019, at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney. He was born in Pomquet River, St. Andrew’s Parish, Antigonish, on November 13, 1928. He was the son of the late John Hugh and Sadie (MacDonald) MacDonald. He received his early education at home and high school at St. Theresa’s School, Margaree Forks. He then studied at the Nova Scotia Teacher’s College, Truro, and taught for some time in local rural schools in Frankville and Tracadie. He received the Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Francis Xavier University in 1955, and entered St. Augustine’s Seminary, Toronto, where he received his formation for the priesthood. He was ordained for the priesthood on June 11, 1960, in St. Ninian’s Cathedral by Most Reverend George L. Landry. He served as assistant Parish Priest of the Parishes of Immaculate Conception, Heatherton, Holy Guardian Angels, L’Ardoise, St. Joseph’s, South West Margaree, Holy Rosary, Westmount, St. Pius X, Sydney Mines, and St. Ninian’s Cathedral, Antigonish. He was assigned on loan to the Archdiocese of Ottawa, Ontario, during which time he taught at St. Pius X High School, Ottawa. He served as Parish Priest of St. Peter’s Parish, Larry’s River and Immaculate Conception Parish, Sydney Mines, and Holy Guardian Angels, L’Ardoise. He went on loan to the Archdiocese of Halifax, during which time he was Parish Priest of St. Lawrence Parish, Halifax, and later St. Anselm, West Chezzetcook. During his priesthood, Father MacDonald was a member of the Senate of Priests of the Diocese od Antigonish, Dean of the Guysborough County Deanery, Judge on the Halifax Regional Tribunal and Diocesan Co-ordinator for the 41st International Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia in August of 1976.
He retired from parochial service in 1992 and took up residence in Sydney Mines, but continued to provide pastoral ministry in parishes throughout the Diocese of Antigonish until just four days before his death.
Known as “Father J.J.”, he was keenly intelligent and possessed superb musical talent and ability. He organized and directed many church choirs in the parishes in which he served. He had extensive and in-depth knowledge of Scottish history, local history genealogies, and the history of the Diocese of Antigonish. He was much loved, admired and appreciated by countless people down through the years. He is survived by several cousins.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, January 2, 2020, from 2-4 pm. in J. M. Jobes Funeral Home, Sydney Mines. Thereafter his remains will be transferred to Holy Family Church in Sydney Mines, with a Bible Vigil at 7 pm on Thursday evening. The funeral Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Brian Dunn on Friday, January 3, 2020, at 2 pm in Holy Family Church, Sydney Mines. A reception will be held in the parish hall, following the Mass. The burial will be in the parish cemetery. Words of comfort may be forwarded to his family at

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Pauline White
   Posted Mon December 30, 2019
AWE. FATHER J.J. SUCH AN BLESSING TO ALL WHO HE MINISTERED TO. HIS QUICK WIT AND HUMOUR WILL BE MISSED. THANKYOU FATHER JJ for listening to God and being an example to all to keep going forward no matter how difficult life gets. REST IN PEACE BROTHER

Teresa MacEachern
   Posted Mon December 30, 2019
My good friend safe safe.

Maureen and Ann Eileen Fyfe
   Posted Mon December 30, 2019
To the family of Fr. JJ MacDonald:
Our sincere condolences on the death of Fr. JJ, but he died the way he wanted, to go serve Mass, which he did every day to help the Parishes in need. His wit and kindness will be missed by everyone who got to know him and his history of the Church was beyond, loved to hear anything that he had to say. He is not suffering anymore and is in Heaven now with God, but will be missed so much here on earth. Rest in Peace Fr. J.J. until we meet again. God Bless
Ann Eileen and Maureen Fyfe

Sirena (Harrietha)Jessome
   Posted Mon December 30, 2019
My deepest sympathy to all Fr. J.J's family. He was not only a wonderful parish priest but also a wonderful friend to all. I remember well the comfort and guidance he provided my family in time of need. I was blessed to have J.J say grace at our wedding and a heart felt homily at our mothers funeral. He will always be remembered with fond memories .

Chris Gillis
   Posted Mon December 30, 2019
Rest in peace my friend.

Paul Woodfine
   Posted Mon December 30, 2019
Father J.J. was an absolute blessing to any community he served. He always had kind words and understanding for everyone. He had a true love of music and sang in every sermon I have seen him involved in. He will be missed so much by the people that knew him. Rest In Peace father.

Stewart and Noreen Penney
   Posted Mon December 30, 2019
Father JJ will be sorely missed. He was a wonderful pastor of Immaculate Conception and continued to serve the people of our community until his passing. Our family will remember him with gratitude for all he did for us.

Tony MacIntyre
   Posted Mon December 30, 2019
As a child living in Sydney Mines I was an altar boy & in Father JJ's Boys Choir. I remember vividly serving at my last Mass at Immaculate Conception. It was a hot summer day & I asked Father if he would skip his homily cause he could talk up a long sermon. As he got up to do his homily he told the congregation that the altar boy suggested he forgo the sermon. I was the sole altar boy up there with him. It got a laugh from the people.

I came to Halifax in March '85 & Father was instrumental in helping me find lodging & setting me up as I knew nothing nor anyone in the City. He was a huge supporter & lent a hand if he could help.

He was a great man. Smart & his sense of humor was off the charts. He will be missed.

My sincerest deepest condolences to all who knew him & to his family.

Rest Easy, Fr. JJ

John Glenn
   Posted Tue December 31, 2019
Father MacDonald's parents were my neighbors in St Andrew's after they left Pomquet River. "Father J.J." was a regular visitor from his various assignments and I have many found memories of him. His father, John Hugh, would sometimes have us sit while he read "HANSARD" (mail subscription) to us though I thought the good Father was not too interested in politics. I remember him as, what I think, a Priest should be, Holy, thoughtful, caring, aware of his community , compassionate with a sense of humor. Those Father J.J. Served were fortunate to have had him in their lives. A fine man. RIP

Karen MacNeil
   Posted Tue December 31, 2019
Father JJ led me through my conversion to Catholicism in 1981. He was warm, kind and liked to laugh. He made the process informative and easy to follow. I have thought of him fondly over the years.

Joe Whalen
   Posted Tue December 31, 2019
Will remember my days in the choir in the 70s. His wit and musical prowess were unsurpassed. You student “Joefuzz” as he like to refer to me lol.

Jim & Kathy Corbett
   Posted Tue December 31, 2019
Our deepest sympathies to family and friends, of which I count myself as one. I was an altar server and member of the choir at Immaculate Conception where I first got to know this wonderful man. Years later he did us the honour of presiding at our wedding in Kentville, October 24th, 1981 to my lovely wife of 38 years Kathy Worthylake. He was a great man and a dedicated, gifted priest. He will be missed and we will hold him always in our thoughts and prayers.

Fr Alexander MacDonald
   Posted Tue December 31, 2019
Fr JJ will be greatly missed, for his fire, his pastoral love and having the heart of a lion. "Well done, good and faithful servant: because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."

Greg Mac Donald
   Posted Tue December 31, 2019
I wish to add my condolences to the family of Father JJ.

I was saddened to read father JJ's obituary. I first met Father JJ many years ago on one of his frequent visits to St. John the Baptist parish in New Glasgow where I grew up. He recalled seeing my father act in plays in the Church hall and we established an immediate rapport that has lasted over time.

I regret that I hadn't seen Father JJ in a few years but will never forget his kind and gentle nature and sense of humour. He was my friend. He loved to talk about the law and famous criminal trials and allowed that he thought he might have liked to have been a lawyer at one point. He would have made a good one.

Father JJ's reverence and obvious love of,and life-long service to God and His people and his devotion to the Church and the many congregations he served were never more clearly demonstrated than when he said Mass. His devout focus and attention to the Mass in all it's aspects were an obvious extension of his pious nature even when he would stop on the way up to the altar to compliment the choir.

We have lost a great and holy man.Heaven has gained a new choir director.

God speed my good and true friend.

Joan Melanson
   Posted Tue December 31, 2019
There is so much to say about this dear man.  I will be forever grateful to him and his parents for taking in my father and his brother as foster children in Pomquet River.   It saved their lives.  They gave them a good home and ensured they got an education.  Fr. JJ was  our "foster uncle" and was always a part of our lives growing up.  I will remember him for his love of music, his wicked sense of humour and his brilliant intellect.  God Love his soul. 

Howard Melanson
   Posted Tue December 31, 2019
My father's foster brother, my godfather, my spiritual inspiration and belief in God throughout my life.
His humor, his dry wit, his dedication to his calling to serve God.
An inspiration to us all.

Joan Myatt
   Posted Tue December 31, 2019
Fr.J.J. was our parish priest at St.Anselm's in West Chezzetcook & St.Anne's in Lake Echo from 1983-1988. He loved to play the organ, sing and guide the choir. He was well respected & loved by both parishes. I kept in contact with him by letters and phone calls. We had great conversations and I will truly miss him. He was a great friend.
Joan Myatt & Family

Debbie Gwinn
   Posted Tue December 31, 2019
Our deepest condolences and prayers...I was along with 2 of my sisters were in his girls choir and my brother John was in his beloved boys choir....he had such a passion for music ...sweetest man R.I.P Father JJ.Love from the Romeos and Gwinn Families

Theresa Hildebrand
   Posted Tue December 31, 2019
My condolences on the passing of Fr.JJ. He was much loved and I sang in his choir in Sydney Mines during my school years. A dear man and priest with a huge presence. He will be missed. May his soul Rest In Peace.
Theresa Quinn

Tony MacIntyre
   Posted Tue December 31, 2019
Please accept my deepest condolences. Prayers for Father JJ's family.

Elizabeth Finnigan
   Posted Tue December 31, 2019
Fr. JJ was a wonderful priest and a great supporter of The Lay Catholic Apostolate in the Diocese of Antigonish. Father's kindness, knowledge, and love of the Church inspired us all.
He is now truly home after his life's journey dedicated to God.

May his memory be eternal.

Beth Hodder
   Posted Tue December 31, 2019
I got to know Father JJ many years ago when my husband boarded with Father JJ’s mother in St Andrews,Don Hodder.Father JJ had such a warm and humorous personality.Father JJ married us in June 1973.I was saddened to hear of his passing and my condolences to all his remaining relatives.

Amber MacLean
   Posted Wed January 01, 2020
Rest in Peace Father J.J.
Amber MacLean

Gerard & Judy LaPierre
   Posted Wed January 01, 2020
We were saddened to learn of the passing of Fr. JJ. He presided at our wedding at St. Anselm’s Church in West Chezzetcook in 1986. Even though he left the parish in 1988 we continued to stay in touch every Christmas and this year was no exception. We will miss his kind and caring notes to us. Rest In Peace, Fr. JJ.

Aubrey S Reynolds
   Posted Wed January 01, 2020
We send our condolences to the family of Fr. JJ. I was a foster brother to him when living with his parents in the 50’s. Rita and I were married by Fr. JJ on June 27th 1964 and stayed in touch ever since. We were here in Lake Echo when he was the parish priest and had many good times especially during the Christmas season. He married two of our children. He was indeed a priest and his love of children was a joy to watch. We had a nice letter from him at Christmas and glad he had a peaceful passing.

Fr. JohnF. Morrison
   Posted Thu January 02, 2020
Fr. JJ. and I were good friends and brother priest! He taught me in high school when he was parish priest in Larry,s River. Always witty and a great singer a pleasure to meet at priests meetings and get together s He sent me a beautiful Christmas card with words of encouragement and support I will miss him along with many others lives he touched. Sing with the Angels Fr. JJ.

Bart & Cindy Brown and family
   Posted Thu January 02, 2020
Our condolences to family and friends of Fr JJ.
What a blessing he was to our family.
We have been friends since he came to help at our parish of St Johns the Baptist in New Glasgow 20 years ago. He adopted us; providing friendship, encouragement and prayers. He remembered each of our 10 children with a card and $10 on their birthday every year. We visited him several times, and he especially enjoyed the girls playing a tune for him on his piano. So many wonderful memories of a very special friend.
God Bless you Father JJ- we will miss you!
Bart & Cindy; Matt, Ben, Beth, Jake, Joe, Tess, Anna, Julia, Karol and Maggie Brown

   Posted Fri January 03, 2020
my condolence to the family may he R.I.P. AND GOD BLESS HIM

Helen and Felix Roma
   Posted Sat January 04, 2020
We were very sad indeed to hear of his passing. We were blessed to have had our last notes and Christmas card again this Christmas. I always looked forward to them although sometimes it was a little difficult to decipher his writing. We were blessed to have him at St. Anselm's and a wonderful choir director too. Our deepest condolences to the remaining family. May he rest in Peace.

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