St. Mary's of the People
Catholic Church
Hunter River, PEI
  
James C. Cardinal McGuigan

Born November 26,1894 at Hunter River, Prince Edward Island,Canada. Son of George McGuigan and Anne Monaghan. Baptized at St. Augustine's Church, South Rustico by Rev. Ronald MacDonald. Recieved first communion from Monsignor Jean Chaisson. Confirmed at St. Augustine's Church by Bishop James Charles MacDonald.

He started his education in 1899 at the village school. After leaving there he went to Prince of Wales College and St. Dunstan's University in Charlottetown (where he was awarded the Governor General's Medal). In 1914 he Graduated with Honors (B.A.) from Laval University, Quebec. In 1918 He received his doctorate degree in Philosophy and Theology at Grand Seminary, Quebec.

In 1918 he was ordained priest in his native parish of St Augustine's by Bishop O'Leary of Charlottetown. He was appointed to faculty of St. Dunstan's University where he instructed for one year. In 1919 he was appointed secretary to Bishop O'Leary. In 1920 he accompanied Bishop O'Leary to Edmonton as secretary upon O'Leary's appointment as Archbishop of Edmonton.

In 1920 he was appointed rector of the newly formed St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton. He was only 26 years of age at the time. In 1923 he was appointed Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Edmonton. In 1923 he was named Vicar-General of Edmonton Archdiocese. In 1924 he was appointed rector of St. Josheph's Cathedral, Edmonton. In 1927 he took post-graduate course at Catholic University of America in Washington,D.C., where he received D.J.C. degree (Doctor of Canon Law). On his return to Edmonton he was appointed Prothonotary Apostolic to Pope Pius XI. He also returned as rector of St. Joseph's Seminary. In 1930 James was appointed Archbishop of Regina, the youngest Archbishop in the world at the age of 35.

In 1930 he organized "Catholic Federated Charites". He became a national figure known for his welfare work to all classes and creeds. In 1932 he established "Religious Vacation School Movement" from which grew the Caltholic Youth Movement. In 1934 He conducted the first Eucharistic Congress ever held in the world. On December 22, 1934 James was appointed Archbishop of Toronto. On March 20,1935 he was consecrated as Archbishop of Toronto's St. Michael's Cathedral. On November 15,1939 , in the presence of President Roosevelt, James received from the Catholic University of Washington a Doctorate Degree.

In 1942 he was awarded honarary LL.D. degree from Niagara University. On May 26,1943 James celebrated his Silver Jubilee on his 25th anniversary of ordination as a priest. During his eight years in Toronto the debt of the archdiocese was reduced almost by one-half. In 1943 he was named Papal Aide (Assistant to the Pontifical Throne).

On December 24,1945 he received "CEREMONIAURUS" from the Pope telling him of his appointment to the sacred College of Cardinals, the first English speaking Cardinal in Canada. On February 18,1946 James was created Cardinal at the Consistory in Rome where he received from the hands of the Pope the "RED HAT", the distinctive emblem and dignity of the Cardinalate. During 1946 he visited both England and Ireland.

March 27,1946 James arrived back in Toronto where at Maple Leaf Gardens there was a reception of over 17,000 people of all creeds and classes, they all came to pay tribute to Cardinal McGuigan. May 19,1946 James Cardinal McGuigan came home to P.E.I to visit at St. Augustine's Church in South Rustico.

In 1947 he was appointed Papal Legate A Latere to Marian Congress, Ottawa. In 1948 he received honorary LL.D degree from University of Toronto. On June 4,1949, James attended the opening of St. Mary's of the People Church in Hunter River,P.E.I. On August 27,1950 ,St. Mary's of the People was duly blessed by the community's most famous son, His eminence James Charles McGuigan.

In 1952 he received honorary LL.D. degree from Dalhousie University. Cardinal McGuigan participated in the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1964. In 1965 Cardinal McGuigan suffered a severe stroke. Later in 1971 ill health forced the Cardinal to retire.

On April 8,1974 Cardinal McGuigan passed away. On April 15, the Cardinal was buried in the "Priest's Plot" overlooking Lake Ontario, just south of St. Augustinne's Seminary. Present at the burial was over 2000 mourners.

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