Edmonton Catholic community mourns former archbishop Joseph MacNeil

Edmonton archbishop emeritus Joseph MacNeil died Sunday after suffering a stroke. The Nova Scotia native came to Edmonton when he was appointed archbishop in 1973.

He served as archbishop for 26 years

Former Archbishop Joseph MacNeil died Sunday at the Grey Nuns hospital after suffering a stroke. (Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton)

A former Edmonton archbishop, beloved by Alberta's Catholic community, has died. 

Joseph MacNeil, archbishop emeritus of Edmonton, died Sunday at the Grey Nuns hospital after suffering a stroke.

He was 93. 

The Nova Scotia native came to Edmonton when he was appointed as the city's archbishop in 1973, according to a statement from Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton.

In 1984, he was instrumental in arranging the visit of Pope John Paul II to Edmonton, the only papal visit in the city's history. 

MacNeil served for 26 years, retiring in 1999. But even after his retirement, he continued to serve the church, from presiding over congregations to charity work. 

"Alberta's Catholic community has lost a beloved pastor, collaborator and friend," reads a statement from the archdiocese. 

The archdiocese said MacNeil helped build bridges between various faith communities in Edmonton and encouraged social justice efforts through the church.

In 2003, a new elementary and junior high school in southwest Edmonton was named Archbishop Joseph MacNeil Catholic School.

The building, and its students, brought MacNeil a great sense of accomplishment. 

"In all his time in Alberta, he said one of the biggest thrills was having a school named after him," the archdiocese says on its website.

"He had a gift for connecting with young people, and loved to visit the students at 'his school' in southwest Edmonton."

Funeral details have not been announced.