Fr. Tony O’Dell, OMI –

I was born into an Irish family in a small fishing community on the coast of Labrador. I joined the Missionary Oblates in 1986 in Ottawa, Ontario. Over the years I have served as Associate Pastor, Pastor, Vicar General, Episcopal Vicar, Superior, Vocation Director, Formation Director, etc.

I came to the Diocese of Hamilton in 2012 and was assigned Pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Hamilton. My colleague, Fr. Jarek, and I knew we needed to do something to address the needs that were presenting all around our parish as soon as we arrived. There was so much poverty, brokenness, addiction, mental illness at every turn in our neighbourhood. This was the local church we were mandated to journey with, these were now our people  that we were charged to bring hope and compassion and love of God to. The church had to move outside its doors onto the streets into our neighbourhood if we were going to be effective in our ministry.

We established De Mazenod Door to help get us outside the walls and build a church without walls on the street. As an Oblate, the De Mazenod Door is very close to my heart and watching it grow from a few sandwiches a day going out the front door to what it has become, feeding hundreds every day, seven days a week, is truly amazing. Truly a gift from God.