Our Franciscan brother Don MacDonald has received a great honour! This recognition was received by him as a much appreciated gift. In January, he was named Honorary Canon of the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton for his work on ecumenical relations.
This honorific title was bestowed on him during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. He was very touched to receive the title of Honorary Canon, which was granted in recognition of all the years he devoted to promoting dialogue among Christian traditions. “I’ve been interested in ecumenism since my ordination, around 60 years ago. The Second Vatican Council clearly stated that ecumenism is part of the mission of the Catholic Church.” During his doctoral studies, he chose as his dissertation topic the theology of the great Anglican theologian and Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey. His interest in the topic did not end there, and he wanted to put it into practice. “Soon after my ordination, I got in touch with some Anglican theologians to form a dialogue group.”
The tribute came by way of a former student of his, the Right Reverend Jane Alexander, who was until very recently the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton. She announced to him by letter that they had awarded him this distinction. Over his long career, Fr. Don often taught students of other religious traditions, including many Anglicans. Jane Alexander had been one of his students in the 1990s. Fr. Don noted that he has excellent memories of Bishop Alexander’s time in his class.
Fr. Don taught at Newman Theological College in Edmonton for 50 years. Now retired, he still recalls the fruitful discussions he had with his students. As a professor who was fond of his students, his aim was always to help them grow, both academically and personally. In all his years of teaching, he mainly taught Christology, the branch of Christian theology that studies the person, doctrine and work of Jesus Christ. In other words, it is about how to place Christ at the centre of everything.