Celebrating Fr. Greg
Funeral for Fr. Greg MacLeod held Sunday at CBU
People who knew the late Fr. Greg MacLeod best knew he would have approved of the lively fiddle tune that signalled the beginning of the celebration of his life on Sunday.
While celebrated in these parts for a life devoted to economic development and community building, those close to him also knew of his love of Cape Breton culture and a good ceilidh.
As such, his
Sunday funeral service was filled with
Cape Breton and Gaelic influences, ranging from the fiddle and piano selection performed by Brenda Stubbert and Doug MacPhee, to the solemn “Hymn of St. Columba” that Rita Rankin sang in Gaelic.
In the homily, Fr. Dan Doucet
suggested MacLeod’s love of music could be traced back to the influence of his mother.
It seems MacLeod often spoke of the “friendly club”’ his mother Rose was involved in and Doucet suspected that weekly social gathering was a precursor to the house ceilidhs MacLeod would often host.
Through his mother MacLeod also learned the virtue of kindness, while justice was learned from his grandmother. And Doucet said he was able to bring those two virtues together to bring about effective change.
“The different strengths of the two women were not lost on the young Greg,” he said.
“I believe Greg recognized the need for both kinds of strengths.”
Fr. Anthony O’Connor noted that it was appropriate to host the service at Cape Breton University because MacLeod worked tirelessly through the years to promote and develop the university.
Cecil Clarke first met MacLeod through work with BCA Holdings as Sydney Mines Renewal was being established in the aftermath of the closing of Cape Breton’s coal mines.
“Greg truly loved this community and loved the people of this community,” said the mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
“Love doesn’t always mean to agree or to be ready to quickly judge, but you loved the community and saw all the good and that everybody could bring something to the table. Social and economic status didn’t matter. It is what you could contribute — big or small.”
Membertou Chief Terry Paul, called MacLeod a “mentor and a friend” who shared his life and committed “his heart and brilliant mind” to raising the standard of living for families across the island.
“Driven by a similar passion and commitment to our island we often found ourselves in the same room to have thoughtful and meaningful conversations about the future of our island,” Paul said.
“I look back at those moments with a deep respect and admiration for a kind man with a true love of community.”
Whether you agreed or disagreed with what MacLeod had to say or teach, Paul believes he reached his personal goal to encourage deep thought and inspire others to be more.
“Having to say goodbye today to such a crucial element of our island’s architecture is difficult,” he said.
“I hope that the MacLeod family and each of us are comforted by the knowledge that when you contribute to community the way Fr. Greg has, your energy continues on and has a lasting influence on many generations to come.”
More cultural music that would have been known to MacLeod closed Sunday’s service, including “Allez! Allez!” from the Acadian choir and finally a medley of the reels, beginning with a number known as “Father Greg’s Ceilidh Reel.”
A memorial mass for MacLeod will be held at Holy Family Catholic Church today at 11 a.m.
Pallbearers bring the body of Fr. Greg MacLeod into the Canada Games Complex at Cape Breton University on Sunday to begin his memorial service. He died on May 3 at the age of 81.
Faculty and staff of Cape Breton University are shown entering the Canada Games Complex at CBU on Sunday. They were on hand as part of the celebration of life of the Fr. Greg MacLeod who died on May 3 at the age of 81.