Connors, E.J. (Father)

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                                  Father E. J. Connors
                                  ‘A Johnny On The Spot’

“When I was small, I couldn’t face anyone,” said Rev. E. J. Connors who celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination into the priesthood on June 29. “I used to be so shy that my sister had to take me to school. But once I was ordained I had no trouble even if the cardinal was in the audience,” he laughingly admits.

Father Connors, 79-year-old pastor of St. Peter and St. Paul’s historic church in Bartibogue, has been at the parish for 34 years. “I don’t know why they kept me here so long, usually priests gets transferred every few years.” He prefers to keep church services short but gets carried away occasionally as “they got a good dose of it last Sunday.”

The son of the late William and Emma (White) Connors, Chatham he spent a year and a half of St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish before returning home to help his ailing father who owned a general store. He said his exposure to different kinds of people prepared him for the priesthood.

He graduated from Holy Heart Seminary in Halifax in 1930. He ministered in parishes in South Nelson, Balmoral, Boisetown, Neguac and Atholville before settling in Bartibogue.

He was a curate in Atholville when he performed his first wedding ceremony; a shotgun wedding at that. “There were many shotgun weddings in those days. Some I knew weren’t right but I was in no position to say anything. That first wedding was performed at 8:00 p.m. at the old curling club. The lad was only about four feet tall.

                                    $10 A Month

Times weren’t very prosperous when Father Connors graduated from the seminary. One of his districts extended from Allardville to Ferry Road and down to Barryville. He was paid $10 a month to cover all the parishes. “I had to hitchhike from parish to parish,” he says as he raises a thumb in the air.

Father Connors has a love for the people in his parish. He has graduation pictures of many of his parishioners. “They all lend a helping hand. Some may grumble when they see other people in the church helping out but they soon join in. “I was always the ‘Johnny on the spot,” he said. “I have been called to give last rights to people who were murdered and several suicides. Often the family comes to pick me up.”

“They tried to make a Monsignor out of me but I don’t want the job; I don’t care if I travel.” Father Connors takes over night trips but hasn’t had a vacation since he visited Expo 67 in Montreal. “I saw everything there was to see,” he says. He travelled to New York and London, England during his four years of service in World War II.


His love for his parish and its charm is evident in the furnishings in his home. Every piece of furniture is antique; he will never buy new furniture.

Father Connors remembers some funny incidents which occurred over the years. “There is no situation I could name that I haven’t experienced.” One of the strangest things which happened was when he was at a baseball game in Neguac. An Indian got mad at me and hit me over the head with a baseball bat.”

He remembers giving mass outside at Mount Saint Joseph in Chatham with Sister Agnes when a moose walked across the field. He turned and told Sister Agnes that he had seen a moose, to which she smartly replied, “Father, you’re delivering the Holy Sacrament.”

Source: Northumberland News July 02, 1980

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