Montreal’s beloved Father John Walsh has died

Father John Walsh has died

The news came as shock to everyone who knew him – and there are many. On Monday November 9th 2020, Father John Emmett Walsh died peacefully after he suffered a heart attack at the age of 78. Just last week, Father John, who played an pivotal role in the plight of the homeless for more than 40 years, especially with the Nazareth Community houses for men and women, was honoured for his commitment when a third Nazareth home that opened in the downtown Shaughnessy Village was named ‘John’s House’. He was a man whose faith led him to “build human relationships in concrete ways so that what we say and do together brings about liberation and peace,” as he wrote in his autobiography ‘God is Calling, Don’t Leave him on Hold’.

At a celebration in 2016 for the 50th anniversary of his ordination, Father John’s impact on society was recognized and shown by the many dignitaries who attended. However, it was all the leaders of different religions and faiths, who he had worked with for decades in various communities that spoke the most of how special and blessed a human being he was. Rabbi Reuben Poupko, who knew and collaborated with Walsh for years on a variety of projects, said the priest ‘was able to unite communities in a way that no other Montrealer could’ and that ‘The passing of Father John Walsh represents a profound loss for our community. It’s a cliché that no one is indispensable, but Father John Walsh was indispensable. He was so effective because it so obviously came from the depths of his spirit. He will be missed.”

Mutsumi Takahashi, CTV Montreal News anchor remembered Father John as ‘an avid painter who was proud of his artistic work’. In a Press Release from the Archbishop’s office of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal they state, ‘As a priest for 53 years, Fr. Walsh has generously served the local Catholic community as a curate, chaplain, pastor, Biblical scholar, professor and in various diocesan ministries. At the same time, his faith has led him.’ In other words, there is no doubt an angel has just arrived in heaven – with his wings already opened wide.

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