It is with deepest regret that the parish priest of our church here in Regina, Father Emmett Morrissey, retired on August 1 after eighteen years. He was perhaps the best priest in town, dearly beloved by his parishioners for his devotion, wisdom, intelligence and spirituality. He is also the chaplain of our Knights of Columbus council based in the church.
Emmett Patrick Morrissey, parish priest at Blessed Sacrament Church since 1994, was born in Regina on February 8, 1931 to Thomas and Margaret Morrissey. He was the sixth of seven children, and attended Sacred Heart School and Campion College in Regina.
While at Campion, he wrote for the Campion News, was a member of Sodality, a Bryant Oratorical contestant, and a member of the city championship debating team. After high school, Emmett spent a year at St. Peter’s College in Muenster, Saskatchewan and then entered St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario.
He was ordained to the priesthood by Most Reverend M. C. O’Neill at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Regina on May 31, 1958. His first solemn mass was celebrated at Sacred Heart Church, his home parish. He then served for three years at Little Flower parish in Regina.
He received a B. A. Honours degree in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, a B. Ed. Degree from the University of Saskatchewan, an M. A. in religious education from Fordham University and an M. A. in counseling from Columbia University.
He taught at three high schools in Regina – Bosco, Ursuline and O’Neill – and served as supervisor of student services for the Catholic school system. Father Emmett has been pastor at Marquis, Central Butte, Wadena, Quill Lake, Rama, Kuroki, Vibank, Odessa and St. Cecilia in Regina prior to Blessed Sacrament.
He is an enthusiastic sports fan and a lover of Broadway musicals. He is an avid fan of the University of Notre Dame football team, the Fighting Irish. A few times a year he would fly to South Bend, Indiana to watch home games. His interest in the scripture has taken him to the Holy Land three times and his Irish roots have drawn him to Ireland twice.
Father Emmett joined the Knights of Columbus Msgr. Janssen Council in Regina in April 1960 where he served as Chaplain in 1970-71. In 1983-1988, Father served the Parish of St. Anthony’s in Rama, Saskatchewan and was instrumental in forming the Our Lady of Lourdes Council #9713, which received its Charter on March 31, 1989.
Father Emmett has been the chaplain of the Santo Nino Council #12415 since it was chartered in 1999 and is an enthusiastic supporter of all our activities. He is also a mainstay and organizer of the annual Canada Day Mass, which is sponsored jointly by the Father Hugonard 4th degree Assembly, Blessed Sacrament Parish and our Council.
Father has often said that one of the best things that happened to the Blessed Sacrament Parish was the institution of the Knights of Columbus Santo Nino Council #12415 based at the Church. Now let me say that one of the best things that happened to the Santo Nino Council was to have Father Morrissey as our Council Chaplain.
Father is not only a spiritual advisor to Council and its members, he is an inspiration, a source of strength and a constant supporter of what Council does. He is one chaplain who attends and participates in meetings and functions regularly.
Back in 1999, when we started and I was the Charter Grand Knight, Father suggested to me that the Knights do the liturgy in a regular Sunday Mass once a month. That was like asking an Irishman if he likes to drink. Of course we jumped on the suggestion and we have been doing it every fourth Sunday Mass since.
We were like fish in a pond. We enjoyed doing the liturgy so much and we didn’t do it too shabbily that it came to the notice of Saskatchewan State Council which oversees Knights activities in the province. Now, whenever we have the State Convention in Regina, we invariably get involved with the Holy Masses.
This sonnet is my tribute to Father.
He preaches to us with a gentle touch;
His homilies are on faith, hope and love;
He emulates the life of Christ as much
In suffering as in joy from above;
He lends an ear to our worries and woes
And leads us out of our dire misery;
He has his finger on what comes and goes
And runs our parish like a family;
He has a passion for the Blue and Gold,
The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame U;
Father Emmett is for all young and old,
A blessing, a beloved friend – warm and true;
Blessed Sacrament will lose and lament
When Father Emmett takes his retirement…
August 19, 2012