Indigenous leader and friend to the Jesuits,
Fr. Milton McWatch passes away

December 4, 2017 — The Jesuits in English Canada pray in thanksgiving for the life of Father Milton McWatch who quietly passed away on November 29, 2017, at the age of 80.

“Our brother and companion on the mission, Fr. Milton McWatch, has been called home by God. It has been an honour for the Jesuits to have grown with him and to have served with him and the risen Lord in our common mission. As a First Nations man and a Catholic priest, Fr. Milton embodied reconciliation, with all its challenges and joys. He lived this with commitment, wisdom, grace and good humour. His example and his companionship have helped us all along this same path. We hope his prayers will now continue to sustain us. Chi-Migwetch,” wrote Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in English Canada, Fr. Peter Bisson, SJ, upon hearing of Fr. Milton’s passing.

Fr. Milton was born in Bremner River on November 12, 1937, to Herb and Marie McWatch. He studied at George Brown College in Toronto, Nipissing University in North Bay, and at Regis College in Toronto, the theological school of the Jesuits in Canada.

A survivor of the Residential School System, Fr. Milton overcame many hardships in life before his ordination to the Catholic priesthood at Christ the King Church in Sudbury on November 30, 1990 by Bishop Jean Louis Plouffe. He served in various parish assignments in the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. His most recent appointments were at Our Lady of the Snows Parish in Armstrong, Annunciation Parish in Nipigon, Holy Saviour Parish in Marathon, and St. Francis Xavier Parish in Heron Bay. After his retirement, Fr. Milton continued to assist in a variety of parishes. He was also a member of the Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus.

He loved the outdoors, hunting, berry picking and taking photos. He was a strong believer in education and always made sure family and friends had the necessities to pursue their educational dreams. He was nominated to receive an honorary doctorate for his religious services to the Roman Catholic Church by St. Mark’s College at the University of British Columbia. He is survived by his sisters Noella Hamilton and Maureen McWatch, brother Jerome, and numerous nieces and nephews who refer to him as their warrior, teacher, shepherd, and provider.

Fr. Milton will be greatly missed by the Jesuits and all those whose lives he had touched.

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