Reverend Hugh Donald Cannon
On October 23, 2017 AOH Our Lady of Knock, Division Seven, East Islip, N.Y. Chaplin Father Hugh D. Cannon passed away unexpectedly.
Father Hugh was born on May 20, 1939 in Manhattan, NY. He was the son of Hugh and Mary (O’Donnell) Cannon, both originally from County Donegal.
Father was taught by the Sisters of Charity (grades 1-3), the De La Salle Brothers (grades 4-8) and graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx.
His vocation to the priesthood began in grammar school and continued when he joined the Montfort Missionaries in 1957. He professed his first vows on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1960. This was followed by attending the major seminary in Litchfield, Connecticut for the following six years where he studied Philosophy and Theology, along with other subjects. He was ordained a priest on March 5, 1966.
He was first assigned to Saint Theresa of Avila Parish in St. Louis, Missouri. He spent two and one half years working with the poor in the inner city. At that time, he also served as the Montfort Vocational Director and the Director of the Propagation of the Faith for the community in the Midwestern States.
Father Hugh always said, “Some priests are thoroughbreds and some priests are plow horses. I am a plow horse.” By this he meant that his calling was to be ‘the Parish Priest.’ His love was to work with and be there for the people. All who knew him know that there were none better at this than Father Hugh. His gentle approach, mischievous sense of humor, ability to listen, empathize and counsel often masked that fact that he was a highly intellectual and well-read scholar (he had an M.S. Degree in Education from Iona College and an M.Div. from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception along with a Degree in Alcoholism Counseling and a certificate in Spiritual Direction). He was at ease in any situation with anyone. To say that he was loved by his parishioners would be taken as an understatement by all of us who knew him.
Father Hugh served as an associate pastor at Infant Jesus Parish in Port Jefferson, St. Ignatius Loyola in Hicksville, St. John Nepomucene in Bohemia, and Mary Immaculate in Bellport. He served as pastor at St. Pius X in Plainview and St. Peter the Apostle in Islip Terrace. He retired to St. Mary in East Islip in 2013. (All of these parishes are on Long Island). Wherever he served the parishioners became his extended family and over the years he always came back to those parishioners for the baptisms, weddings, funerals, or just a visit in their homes.
Along with all of this, Father Hugh was a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus, State Chaplin for the New York State Fraternal Order of Police, and Chaplin to the Suffolk County Police Department.
Our Lady of Knock, Division Seven has had many wonderful chaplains over the course of our 55 years. They were all priests of great devotion and spirituality who mentored us in our faith. Father Hugh did this as well but, in a way, he was so much more. Father Hugh was a Hibernian in every way. He lived and breathed his Irish Heritage. He guided us in our faith and in our culture and had a gifted approach in bringing both together through his entertaining stories. He was part of the AOH, not just for his official responsibilities, but as a true member of our division. He was with us at our cultural events, our holiday parties, our fundraising activities and our masses. He regularly came down to our pub just to chat and see how we were doing. At those times he was just one of the Hibernians. He could make a joke and he could take a joke. Most importantly, he was there for our joy and our sorrow, in good times and bad, whether we called him or not. He was the essence of our motto.
Father Hugh was not only a priest. He was the kind of person that we should aspire to be. Because of this, we at Division Seven have decided to rename our annual award that is given to one of our own who best exemplifies our motto the Father Hugh Donald Cannon Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity Award. A small but heartfelt recognition to someone who gave us so much.
God Bless You Father Hugh and Thank You.
October 23, 2017
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