Popular priest ‘Father Ted’ succumbs to cancer at age 60
Rev. Ted Hughes, the former parish priest at Sts. Peter and Paul parish in Hamilton, and most recently the priest for Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Waterloo, has died. He was 60.
Hughes, who was pastor of the Lourdes parish since June 2014, died at home on Friday, 14 months after being diagnosed with cancer.
Father Ted, as he was universally known, was born June 21, 1957, in Hamilton where he grew up and was ordained a priest in May 1982.
His funeral is Wednesday at the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King, 714 King St. W., Hamilton. The funeral mass will take place at noon, followed by interment at 3 p.m. at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Burlington
Rev. Con O’Mahony, a former pastor at St. Michael’s parish in Waterloo, became friends with Hughes in 1982, shortly after O’Mahony immigrated from Ireland.
Over the course of the 35-year friendship, O’Mahony said he appreciated his friend’s many qualities as a gentle man who enjoyed people.
“He was very kind,” O’Mahony said. “He had no problem putting himself out there. He could be very funny, and he liked to listen to people’s stories. ”
Hughes was inspired by Pope Francis, who urged priests to get out of the church and the rectory and go out among people, like a shepherd living “with the smell of the sheep.”
Hughes liked to meet with all sorts of people, and enjoyed travelling. O’Mahony and Hughes went on several big trips together, including Australia. Those travels sometimes tested O’Mahony’s patience, he said, as Hughes was “directionally challenged. Travelling with him could be quite frustrating. He had to have an absolutely clear understanding of where he was going. GPS was a godsend for him.”
Previous to serving as parish priest in Hamilton and Waterloo, Hughes also served at St. Dominic parish in Oakville, Our Lady Immaculate parish in Guelph, and St. Anthony Daniel parish in Scotland, just outside Brantford. He also served for 10 years as chaplain in federal prisons in Saskatchewan and Ontario.
“He often talked about the importance of being a presence in the prison, to bring tenderness and kindness,” O’Mahony said. Hughes was quite moved by the Pope’s public gesture of washing the feet of prison inmates this past April, his friend said. “We’ve lost a good one,” O’Mahony said. Fr. Ted was recognized by Hamilton’s Bishop Douglas Crosby and Pope Francis when he was chosen as a “Missionary of Mercy,” one of more than 1,000 priests from every continent named as missionaries.
Rev. Ted Hughes was born in Hamilton