Fr. Murchland, 78, gifted in education, parish ministry



Father Murchland CSC

Rev. Wilfrid Eugene Murchland, CSC of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Region of English Canada died at the age of 78 in the Welland Hospital of heart failure following abdominal surgery.

Father Murchland was predeceased by his parents Gerald and Eileen (Donovan) Murchland, and his brother Richard, his nephew Gerald, his brother-in-law Edward Flanagan and baby brother Carl. He is survived by his brothers Bernard (Joan), Charles (Mary Jo), Francis (Winnifred), Russell, John, sisters Marie Flanagan, Bernadette, his sister-in-law Mary and many nieces and nephews. His Holy Cross Community and former students and parishioners especially in Edmonton and Sherwood Park, Alberta and elsewhere in Canada also mourn his loss.

Born in Debec, New Brunswick, Father Murchland graduated from St. Joseph’s University, Memramcook, New Brunswick and immediately after entered the Congregation of Holy Cross. In 1959 he was assigned to theology studies at the Gregorian University in Rome and was ordained to the priesthood as a Holy Cross Father on February 17, 1963.
The special charism or gift to the church of the Congregation of Holy Cross is “to educate in the faith”. Father Murchland lived this gift of educating in the faith with much talent and great generosity of spirit for more than 50 years.

He was pan-Canadian in his ministry as a Holy Cross Father. In education, he taught at Notre Dame College School, Welland, St. Thomas University, Fredericton, St. Thomas More College, Saskatoon and Newman Theological College, where he served as President, in Edmonton. He was also engaged in coordinating and animating religious education for the Archdiocese of St. John’s, for the Conference of Canadian Bishops in Ottawa, and for the Diocese of Saint John, New Brunswick.

He was especially gifted, in his post-academic years, serving in parish ministry where he continued to educate in the faith in parishes in Newfoundland and Labrador, in Saskatchewan and most recently in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Sherwood Park, Alberta where he served for 13 very happy years until his retirement in 2013. Along with ministering in education and in parish communities, Father Murchland served his own confreres in community in English Canada as Provincial Superior and Region Superior.

Father Murchland was intellectually curious, always seeking a deeper understanding of his faith in the Lord Jesus and looking for ways and openings in our culture to share that faith.

His approach to pastoral ministry was marked by his own personal rules of affection, acceptance, affirmation and appreciation. This approach made him especially loved by all of those he served. These same rules he applied with unconditional love to his brothers in Holy Cross who will greatly miss him as a confidant, friend and fellow pilgrim in educating in the faith.

Visitation will be held Thursday December 3 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at J.J. Patterson & Sons Funeral Residence 19 Young Street, Welland and from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Parish Community of St. Kevin where a Vigil Celebration will take place at 7 p.m.

The Funeral Mass will be celebrated Friday, December 4 at St. Kevin’s at 10:00 a.m. Rite of Committal and Final Commendation will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to Holy Cross Missions or The Hope Centre, Welland may be arranged through the funeral home. on line memories and condolences at As a memorial tribute, a tree will be planted through The Niagara Woodlands Restoration Program. A tree grows – memories live.

(Used with permission)


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