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"CENTENARY OF THE DIOCESE OF HARBOR GRACE YEARS
1856 TO 1956".
BISHOP JOHN M. O'NEILL
Our Fifth and Present Shepherd
John Michael O'Neill was born at Harbor Grace on October 26, 1903. His early boyhood was spent at Bay de Verde where he received his elementary education, before going to St. Bonaventure's College, at which institution he became a honors graduate in Senior Matriculation in 1912. He then proceeded to Laval University in Quebec City, where he was ordained Priest on April 23, 1927, graduating from the University in June, 1927, with a doctorate in divinity, "summa cum laude".
Upon his return to his native diocese, he was first appointed to the Parish of Little Bay, where he served for upward two years. His next appointment was to Buchans, and then on to Grand Falls. In 1930 he was made curate of Harbor Grace, where he labored until his Consecration as Bishop of the Diocese of Harbor Grace on July 7, 1940.
His Excellency Most Reverend Illdebrando Antoniutti, Apostolic Delegate to Canada and Newfoundland , was the consecrator, with most Reverend H. T. Renouf, Bishop of St. George's and Most Reverend J. A. O'Sullivan, Bishop of Charlottetown, as co-consecrators. The Archbishop of St. John's , His Grace Most Reverend E.P. Roche, D.D. preached the sermon. Bishop O'Neill celebrated his Sacerdotal Silver Jubilee on July 1, 1952. His Grace, Most Reverend P. J. Skinner, C.J.M., Archbishop of St. John's and Most Reverend Michael O'Reilly, Bishop of St. George's came to Harbor Grace to do honor to the Most Reverend Jubilarian. Present also were many other members of the Clergy. The preacher for the occasion was His Grace, the Most Reverend P. J. Skinner, C.J.M., Archbishop of St. John's. His Grace took as his text:
"Every High Priest taken from among Men is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God that he may offer up gifts and Sacrifice to Sin". (Heb. V1-1).
Since the elevation of the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Grand Falls to the status of Co-Cathedral of the Diocese of Harbor Grace Bishop O'Neill has built an episcopal residence at that island town. This fact, however, dose not take from the Cathedral at Harbor Grace any of its prerogatives. It is still the same Cathedral enjoying all its right and privileges as in the past. The only difference is that the Bishop now shares his time between Harbor Grace and Grand Falls. The wish of his flock is that Bishop O'Neill may be spared many more years as an eminent member of the Catholic hierarchy in Newfoundland, to live up to St. Paul's conception that Bishops and Priest are "for the perfecting of saints for the works of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ till all meet in the unity of the Faith"
Transcribed by John Baird.
Page Revised: July 2002 (Don Tate)
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