Farewell to a Good and Faithful Servant

Fr. Lloyd Dwyer, who passed away two weeks ago, was a man who made an impression on the many people whose paths he crossed during an interesting and meaningful life.

Father Lloyd Dwyer

Father Lloyd Dwyer

Born in New Glasgow in 1931, one of seven children of John and Catherine Murphy, he graduated from Normal College in Truro and taught in Ingonish for three years before obtaining his undergraduate degree from St. Francis Xavier University. After pursuing religious studies at St. Paul’s University in Ottawa, Dwyer was ordained for the Diocese of Antigonish in 1960. He spent the next three years teaching at St. Pius X Seminary in Ottawa before returning to the Diocese of Antigonish where he would serve for the next 13 years in parishes in Sydney, North Sydney and West Bay (where he also taught school.)

He returned to St. Paul University in 1973 to pursue studies in Pastoral Care and in 1974 became chaplain at St. Rita Hospital, Sydney City Hospital and the Cape Breton Hospital, ending his career as a chaplain at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, from which position he retired in 1997. The role of a chaplain is to comfort the sick and the dying, not to mention bringing that same comfort to their families. As such, it is probably one of the most important ministries associated with the church and Fr. Dwyer seemed especially suited to this calling.

 

He was definitely a people person, with a knack for remembering each person he met, wanting to know, not only who they were, but what they did and what their interests were. Fr. Doug Murphy, who was ordained with Fr. Dwyer and remained a lifelong friend, said in his funeral homily that what people spoke of most consistently when told of his death was Fr. Dwyer’s kindness. “He was able to engage them in conversation and be a friendly and sympathetic presence during a very stressful time in their lives.” He was a popular daily presence around the hospitals during his 23 years as chaplain, and as Fr. Murphy noted, “those years were undoubtedly his most happy and fruitful.”

Fr. Dwyer came to know everyone from “the administration, the medical staff to the clerical and cleaning staff–knew their parents’ names, their spouses’ names and even, sometimes, the names of their children.” Judging from the number of pictures on display during Fr. Dwyer’s wake, he became, in many cases, part of their lives. According to Fr. Murphy, a trip to the mall with him was pretty much “an exercise in frustration,” as people he knew and people who knew him stopped to chat — something Fr. Dwyer was always up for!

 

In his retirement, he continued his passion for walking, especially in the North End of Sydney, where one gentleman recalled catching up with him on occasion and walking and talking together until one or the other reached his destination. Everyone who knew him knew that Fr. Dwyer loved to talk, but he was also a great listener who didn’t mind telling stories on himself. A jogger in his younger years, he said a lady once told him, “If God had intended you to jog, he would have made you a horse.”

Fr. Dwyer enjoyed music and played the piano, though seldom in public, and was a crossword puzzle addict. He was always interested in events — church related or political — around the city, the province, the diocese, the country and the world, and often expressed cryptic and thoughtful insights into what he’d seen, read and heard. Most importantly, in retirement as in his life, he was faithful to his prayer life and the Eucharist. All in all, a “good and faithful servant” who will be remembered fondly by many.

 

 

 

Dolores Campbell

 

Dolores Campbell, a lifelong resident of Sydney, is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Cape Breton Highlander, the Nova Scotian, Cape Breton Magazine, Catholic New Times and The Cape Breton Post.

 

 

 

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