Ode to Father Doug

Source: Our Lady of Lourdes

He was born in Northern New Brunswick
A shy boy
Going to work in the Mill
Like everyone.

But one morning at 17
He woke and knew he was to be a priest.

He meandered to Toronto
And found the Jesuit Seminary
And Jim Webb and Bill Addley
They predeceased him.

He ministered to prisoners in Kingston Pen
Jim admired him
Doug nursed Jim as he was dying
And when Doug died they were not there for him.

He ran the Jesuit farm in Guelph
For convicts and homeless men
Spent time in Manitoulin
That lonely place of beauty and suicides.

Where sometimes in the middle of the night
Someone would phone and ask
“What time is Mass tomorrow?”

I’m told he was at L’Arche
Ministering again out of the main stream.

And then he came to Lourdes,
Where he was loved.
I don’t know if he knew it,
Knew it in his psyche,

he bled from the injustice in the world
And the cognitive dissonance in the Church
Burdened by it
Flailed against it

He didn’t like it when the trees behind the rectory
Were cut down.
To make way for a restraining wall.
Trees that he had planted.

He gave a blistering homily that day
With allusions that were inspired
As were all his homilies.
As were all his homilies.

Leonard Cohen was his hero.
He quoted him:
“There is a crack in everything
It’s how the light gets in.”

The end began last winter
When he broke his ankle
Feeding the birds, behind the rectory.
He did not heal.

Father Doug was my hero.
He let the light get in.

Adelaide (Ada) MacDonald is a graduate of Regis College, grandmother, retired lawyer and a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes, Toronto.

  • allision manitowabi
    Posted at 01:27h, 27 August Reply

    R.I.P. Father Doug, I remember you always. Love lil’Allision.

  • Paul Baker
    Posted at 06:01h, 27 August Reply

    A loving, heartfelt tribute to Fr. Doug. So true!

  • Margaret Manitowabi
    Posted at 06:34h, 27 August Reply

    Father Doug’s homilies always hit to the core of love which was put in our Centre we look to material things to make us happy but it’s in us where God placed it. Love Zaagidwin

  • John Montague
    Posted at 07:58h, 27 August Reply

    Father Doug McCarthy was an example of what a priest is called to be. Humble, honest, caring, and kind. I will miss his presence and homilies at Lourdes. When I woke up today I found myself not praying for him, but praying to him. What a gift he left us.

    John Montague

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 08:35h, 27 August Reply

    Thank you Ada. Well said: He honoured the cracks and helped let in the Light.

  • Bob Doran
    Posted at 09:14h, 27 August Reply

    Shortly before I left Toronto a couple of weeks ago, I had arranged with Doug that he would see a friend of a friend for pastoral help. He gladly agreed. Many will miss him.

    Bob Doran,S.J.

  • Steve Goldring
    Posted at 09:47h, 27 August Reply

    Ignatius Farm Community founder, circa 1976 – bringing together Bob Donaldson, Shirley Rayner, and a host of other souls over the years. Unforgettable power from the pulpit, when the pulpit was the living room couch. Had lunch with him on August 9, hadn’t seen him in many years. What a presence. What kindness, and fire still.

  • Sharon Walters
    Posted at 10:08h, 27 August Reply

    Father Doug was truly an inspiration. He taught us how to love.

  • Elizabeth and Jim Bryant
    Posted at 10:16h, 27 August Reply

    One of the heroic generation of the 1900’s. Father Doug was a steadfast and intrepid disciple of Christ. A generous heart, so self-giving and full of humility, it was breathless to witness. An honour to have walked the way of the cross with this soul and to learn from his example. Miigwetch Father Doug and bless you.

  • Ada MacDonald
    Posted at 12:26h, 27 August Reply


    The Lourdes Afro Caribbean Choir is coming to Holy Cross on Sept 13-15. P
    lease come and see us.

  • Janet Somerville
    Posted at 23:10h, 27 August Reply

    Dear Ada,
    You understood Father Doug McCarthy, soul to soul.
    I loved him too, and like you, greatly appreciated his short, utterly honest and utterly Gospel homilies.
    Thank you for your ode!
    Janet, your next-door neighbour

  • Bill Vogel, S.J.
    Posted at 11:51h, 28 August Reply

    Doug did not have to preach from the pulpit to have an effect on me.
    His very presence was a style that lived in me from our days in philosophy
    studies in Spokane, WA. What a practical, generous soul now with old friends
    Billy Addley and Jimmy Webb. RIP, Doug! Remember: Satan’s delight in the
    middle of the night! So tasty. So memorable. You will be missed, but never
    forgotten. Love you to the moon and back!

  • Karen Arthurs
    Posted at 08:50h, 29 August Reply

    I did not know him, but a beautiful tribute!

  • Ana Maria Rodriguez
    Posted at 21:29h, 29 August Reply

    Father Doug
    Ana he said to me the best business in life is to give fruits from the love of God!!!! These words in my daily actions for ever!!!
    Rest In Peace Father

  • Pearson Alcantara
    Posted at 23:04h, 31 August Reply

    Thank you for being a good teacher and a good listener, and for being the best Spiritual Director young people could ever have. You have inspired me and more people not just to do good, but to do better. See you next time!

  • Susan Tomenson
    Posted at 23:00h, 04 September Reply

    Doug- such a good friend. I am so grateful for your friendship here on earth and now in Paradise.
    With love forever, Susan

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