November 16th saw the sad passing of Don MacDonald. Don was a familiar figure in St. Mary's where for the last number of years he had worked as a voluntary Sacristan. He had just passed the ripe old age of 90.
Don had a sharp keen mind and after his retirement from his profession as a civil engineer with Fingal County Council, he went on to do a degree in theology at St. Patrick's College Maynooth. Don was the quintessential gentleman, he was quiet-spoken and refined and dealt with all comers to the sacristy with a natural graciousness and charm. He loved his involvement in the church and on many occasions recalled how it was Fr. Philip Bradley who, after the death of his beloved wife Riet, had suggested that it might be an interest and an outlet for him. He regarded his work as a service to the Lord and had a sense of privilege about it. Don had a great sense of humour and enjoyed many of my corny jokes laughing loudly. He brought his meticulousness as an engineer to his work and was diligent in all that he did.
He travelled each year to the shrine of Our Lady at Lourdes where he worked for two weeks as a volunteer in the workshops, repairing damaged wheelchairs and the distinctive chariots that convey the invalids to and from the sanctuaries.
He was a man of sterling faith and spent long hours in prayer. On many occasions after he had closed the church in the evening he would spend quiet time with the Lord. He was an avid reader and each Christmas I struggled to find some suitable religious book that would exercise his mind. He always read them in depth and had many questions for me that would give me pause for thought in the weeks after Christmas. In his seventies Don joined the Folk Group and as the 'elder lemon' became a popular figure among them, much loved and respected. (Photo above). In the final weeks of Don's life members of the folk group sang for him outside his window in Marymount care centre, much to his delight.
As a parish St. Mary's honoured Don's contribution to parish life when he, together with two other great figures in the life of the parish - the late Ewan O'Flynn and our own Billy Birnie were conferred with the Papal medal 'Bene Merenti' (Well-deserving). The Apostolic Nuncio presented the medals at a Sunday Mass on 28th January2018, it was a lovely and memorable occasion.
Don died peacefully in Marymount on November 16th. We miss him greatly but know that he is now at home with the Lord. We were blessed to have known him. R.I.P.
St. Mary's Lucan