Fr. Neal McDermott retires
Dominican Father Neal McDermott, who served as the executive director of the archdiocesan Department of Christian Formation from 2000-11 and as pastor of St. Dominic Parish from 1990-2002, has retired – sort of. He will head up Joseph C. Canizaro’s Donum Dei Foundation and will keep a keen eye on raising funds for Catholic schools, his first love.
“Irishmen cry at the opening of a Kmart, so if I shed a tear, it’s because I’m Irish,” Father McDermott told archdiocesan colleagues at a farewell luncheon on April 17. “Someone said to me, ‘What do you think of retiring?’ and I can truly say this work has never been work for me. This has been my life, my passion. Every day I came here with joy.”
Father McDermott recalled the relationships he has formed as a priest. One of his students won a gold medal in Olympic diving and wrote to him that night “how much he loved me. Four years later, he was dead. I buried him and baptized his kids. It was great to have someone think that much of you.”
Father McDermott said Catholic schools like Cathedral Academy are important.
“We have three Montessori classes there and second graders doing square roots and long division,” he said. “I don’t want to give that up where we’re just teaching Catholics.”