Biography of Rev. William McDonald
Adams County, NE Biographies





Rev. William McDonald, pastor of St. Cecilia's Catholic church at Hastings, was born in Ireland, May 19, 1860, a son of Lawrence and Elizabeth (Lewis) McDonald. The father was a farmer by occupation and both he and his wife are now deceased. After pursuing his preliminary education in the national schools of Ireland, William McDonald pursued a classical course in the University School at Waterford, Ireland, and studied philosophy and theology in St. John's College at Waterford, having determined to prepare for the priesthood. He was then ordained in the cathedral at Waterford, June 21, 1884, by the coadjutor bishop of Dublin. He was then assigned to the Omaha diocese, which included Nebraska and Wyoming, although since that time a division has occurred in the diocese. He was given charge of his first mission as assistant pastor at Falls City, where he remained for a year, when he was appointed to take charge of the Catholic church at Dawson, Richardson county, where he remained for nine years. In 1894 he was appointed to Hastings as pastor of St. Cecilia's Catholic church and his labors have here since continued, covering a period of twenty two years. The congregation numbers two hundred families. During his connection with this parish the present fine house of worship has been erected at a cost of seventy five thousand dollars. There is a parochial school maintained under the charge of the Sisters of St. Dominic in connection with the academy. The organized bodies of the church include an Altar Society, the League of the Sacred Heart and the Children of Mary. The Immaculate Conception Academy was built in 1880 by the Sisters of the Visitation, but there was a period of drought in Nebraska and the academy found itself in financial difficulties. The building reverted to the mortgagee. After this building had stood idle for twelve years Father McDonald succeeded in raising the money to buy it back, securing a gift of five thousand dollars from the Commercial Club of Hastings. Six years ago the Dominican Sisters came and took charge of the academy and the work of the school has since been in a flourishing condition.

The labors of Father McDonald found fruition in the erection of the splendid house of worship which is now the property of the Catholics of Hastings and is known as St. Cecilia's church. It was dedicated on the 22d of December, 1912, on which occasion the building, one of the finest church edifices in Nebraska, held at the dedicatory services about one thousand people. This congregation had its beginning as far back as 1871, when the Rev. Father Leichleitner of Crete visited the new settlement. He continued to hold occasional services until March 25, 1878, when the Rev. George Glauber was appointed priest in charge. Under his leadership the first church building of St. Cecilia's parish was erected on Second street. A little later the congregation purchased a half block of ground and the old building was afterward removed to that site and enlarged until it had a seating capacity of five hundred. In September, 1881, Father Glauber was succeeded by Father Simeon, who remained until July, 1888, when the Rev. J. E. English was appointed pastor of St. Cecilia's church. During his pastorate the church acquired a half block of land facing on Seventh street between Kansas and Colorado avenues. When Father English was transferred to an Omaha parish in September, 1894, he was succeeded by Father McDonald, who is much loved by his people. He put forth every effort to upbuild the church in all of its departments of work and about ten years ago entered upon the activities which resulted in the erection of St. Cecilia's fine house of worship. The church was built of a brick such as is used in the erection of old European cathedrals. The decorations of the church are most handsome and fitting and in the construction the modern method of reinforced concrete and steel beam construction was used, there being no pillars to obstruct the view in the interior of the church. Father McDonald is continuing his labors, being unfaltering in his efforts to promote the cause to which he has dedicated his life, and his purposes and activities are being crowned with splendid results.

From:
Past and Present of
Adams County, Nebraska
Supervisong Editor: Judge William R. Burton
Assistant Editor: David J. Lewis
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago, 1916


Privacy Policy for OnlineBiographies

NAVIGATION

Adams County, NE
Biographies

Online
Biographies

New York
Histories

New York
Biographies

Maine
Histories

Pennsylvania
Histories

Pennsylvania
Biographies

For all your genealogy needs visit Linkpendium

Family Tree Maker 2012