Father Wilf MurchlandRev. Wilf Murchland CSC, a long-serving priest in Sherwood Park and a respected educator who served across the country, has died at age 78.

Auxiliary Bishop Gregory Bittman said Father Murchland was in his home province of New Brunswick when he was fell ill and underwent surgery. Five days after the surgery, on Saturday, he died of heart failure. His funeral is set for Friday in Welland, Ont.

Father Murchland served for 13 years at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Sherwood Park, and celebrated his 50th anniversary of priesthood there in 2013. A Memorial Mass for Father Murchland will be celebrated at Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Thursday, December 10, at 7 p.m.

In addition to his parish ministry at OLPH, Father Murchland was well known for his work as a theologian and adult educator. He served as president of Newman Theological College for almost seven years in the 1980s.

Wilf Murchland was ordained as a priest of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1963 and had been serving most recently in Welland as vicar superior of the Congregation. 

He was proud of having been a student of the Second Vatican Council, calling it one of the most fulfilling periods of his priestly life. He was in Rome at the time of the council, and many of his professors were involved in it.

Over the years, Father Murchland taught in a number of places across Canada, including Notre Dame High School in Welland, St. Thomas University in Fredericton, University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, and Newman in Edmonton.

During the early 1970s he spent four years as an executive assistant in the national office of religious education of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in Ottawa. In 1993, he moved to St. John's, Nfld., to serve as archdiocesan director of religious education. He also started a lay ministries program in his six years there.

Father Wilf will be dearly missed in the Archdiocese of Edmonton. We pray for the repose of his soul and for comfort and solace for his friends, family, and congregation. 

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

May his soul and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.