Father Henry Anthony McDaid, age 84, died of natural causes on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in Bessemer, AL. A native of Derry, Northern Ireland, Father McDaid graduated from St. Columb’s College, Derry (1957) and St. Kieran’s College, Kilkenny (1963). He was ordained by Bishop Peter Birch at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, on June 2, 1963. On July 5, 1963, he traveled to Mobile, AL to join the Diocese of Mobile under Archbishop Thomas J. Toolen, spending his first six years at St. Mary’s Parish, Mobile.
In April of 1969, Father McDaid was assigned to St. James Parish in Gadsden. Within a few months of his arrival, Northern Alabama was established as a separate diocese with Birmingham being the see city. Already serving in Birmingham, he was brought into the Diocese of Birmingham by Bishop Joseph G. Vath. Father McDaid’s priestly assignments took him to all parts of Northern Alabama from larger suburban parishes to medium urban parishes to small rural communities. Father McDaid also pursued post-graduate studies at Catholic University of America from 1971-1973, graduating with a master’s degree in social work.
During his years as a priest, Father McDaid undertook an unusual and privileged part-time ministry assignment in the Diocesan Worship Office from 1975-1980. Along with Sr. Mary Robert, OSB and Sr. Jackie de Bone, he traveled throughout the diocese assisting parishes as they implemented the liturgical developments of the Second Vatican Council. During his priesthood, he also served on various diocesan organizations and committees.
Upon his retirement in 2003, Father McDaid was invited by Father John Fallon, pastor of Prince of Peace Catholic Church, to join Prince of Peace as a retired priest in residence. Fr. McDaid was there until 2014, “retired” for three years, and then returned to Prince of Peace from 2017-2019. At Prince of Peace, he led the ministry to the sick, visiting parishioners in their homes, nursing homes, as well as going to Birmingham area hospitals to offer Mass and Eucharist to the sick. Father McDaid had a strong calling to this ministry and Father John Fallon knew that he would be a perfect fit at Prince of Peace to fulfill this ministry.
Father McDaid had a deep love for music. He was a skilled vocalist and pianist and took piano lessons at Samford University well into his retirement. In addition, he served on the Diocesan Board of Sacred Liturgy and was instrumental in planning and assisting many special liturgies for the diocese. In 2020, Father McDaid published a book of his homilies entitled Pondering.
Father McDaid is survived by his sister Marjorie McDaid and brother-in-law Tony Wren of London, England; niece Rionach McDaid-Wren, and nephew Benedict McDaid-Wren. He was predeceased by his parents Margaret Doherty and William John McDaid, sister Sr. Anne McDaid, IBVM, and brother John McDaid.
Visitation for Father McDaid will be held at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, 4600 Preserve Parkway, Hoover, AL, 35226 on August 1 from 3-5pm. The funeral Mass will be offered at 5pm.