Fr. Francis Jobe Abbass

February 3, 1931January 24, 2019

Father Francis Jobe Abbass, son of the late Jobe Tanus Abbass and Lily (Khattar) Abbass of Sydney, Nova Scotia passed away on January 24, 2019, at Saint Mary’s Parish, East Bay, Nova Scotia where he has served as Parish Priest since 1990.

Born on February 3, 1931, Father Frank was educated in Sydney, attending Saint Joseph School and Sydney Academy. After graduating from St. Francis Xavier in 1951 he attended Holy Heart Seminary in Halifax and was ordained to the priesthood in 1955.

From Sydney Academy; to St. F.X. University: to Holy Heart Seminary in Halifax: to studying and receiving an M.A. in religious Education from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; to studying at Lumen Vitae in Brussels; to a sabbatical tour that took him to London, Switzerland, Nairobi and Beirut Lebanon; to attending as Canada’s English-speaking Representative at UNDA, the world conference of Catholic communicators in Quito, Ecuador, Father Frank was well prepared for his work in education and pastoral work.

Fr. Frank started as a Parish Priest at St. Pius X in Sydney Mines, where he organized the youth, directed a parish musical “The Dixie Minstrels” and helped build the St. Pius Recreational Park, which was opened by the most famous hockey player of the time, Rocket Richard. He served as Director of Religious Education for the Diocese of Antigonish, where he worked with 1100 teachers to renew Religious Education across the Diocese, establishing and conducting programs and seminars in Religious Education throughout the Maritimes. In 1963 Father Frank initiated and produced the televised Mass for Shut-ins, the longest running, religious TV program in Canada. He acted as Director of pastoral planning the Papal Visit to Canada in 1984 and served as Vocational Director for the Diocese of Antigonish. In 1990 he became Pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in East Bay, a role he lovingly carried out for over 30 years until his death. During his busy priesthood, Father Frank found time to be President of the Council of Association for the Mentally Challenged, to teach World Religions at the College of Cape Breton, to play a role in having the Canadian Catechism published; to put on teach-ins on religious education, to publish a newsletter ”Catechesis”, to organize a radio program “Catholic Accent”, bringing news to 14,000 listeners; to serve as advisor to Radio-Canada (French CBC) regarding religious broadcasting and to serve as the Chairman of the Children’s Broadcast Institute. Father Abbass has been a priest for 63 years, something to be celebrated. There has been a quality of “celebration” in all that Father Frank has done throughout his priesthood. Father Frank didn’t just administer the sacraments – he celebrated them with the people and made them more meaningful and spiritual for his particular participation. In gratitude we celebrate the completion this long and productive life.

Besides his parents Father Frank was predeceased by his brothers Joseph, Ferris, George and John and his sister Philomena Hanna. He is survived by brothers, Tony, Moncton, and Cyril, Toronto, and by his sisters Annie Hashem, Katherine Huskey, Sydney, Mary MacDonald, Victoria, BC and Sister Simone Abbass, Sydney. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews for whom he was Uncle Father Frank. Also left to mourn are the many cousins and relatives of the Lebanese community of Cape Breton.

Special gratitude is offered by the family to the people of St. Mary’s Parish who collaborated with and supported Father Frank throughout his years among them. He prided himself on being the oldest parish priest active in the diocese, a tribute to their loyalty to the parish community and its pastor.

Visitation will take place on Sunday afternoon, January 27, 2019 from 1 – 4 pm at T.W. Curry Parkview Chapel, Sydney with a Vigil Service at St. Mary’s Church East Bay at 7:00 pm

Funeral mass will be celebrated by Bishop Brian Dunn at 2:00 pm on Monday January 28 at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Sydney River with a reception to follow. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery at a later date.

Donations requests are for the St. Mary’s Parish Cemetery Fund, 3944 East Bay Hwy, East Bay, NS B1J 1M5; CB Hospice Palliative Care Society or charity of choice. Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting


  • Jobe Tanus Abbass, Father (deceased)
  • Lily (Khattar) Abbass, Mother (deceased)
  • Joseph Abbass, Brother (deceased)
  • Philomena Hanna, Sister (deceased)
  • Ferris Abbass, Brother (deceased)
  • George Abbass, Brother (deceased)
  • John Abbass, Brother (deceased)
  • Annie Hashem, Sister
  • Mary MacDonald, Sister
  • Tony Abbass, Brother
  • Katherine Huskey, Sister
  • Sr. Simone Abbass, Sister
  • Cyril Abbass, Brother
  • Father Frank Abbass is also survived by his many nieces and nephews.


  • Visitation

    Sunday, January 27, 2019

  • Vigil

    Sunday, January 27, 2019

  • Funeral Mass

    Monday, January 28, 2019


Fr. Francis Jobe Abbass

have a memory or condolence to add?

Marie Osmond

January 28, 2021

My condolences to the family ..Father Frank was a very Special man. RIP Father. you will never be forgotten xo

Frances Connell

January 28, 2019

To Sisters Simone and Lorraine and the Abbas Family,
Sincere sympathy to all of you on the passing of Father Frank Abbass.
Strong priest of God
Great son of Lebanon.
May his beautiful soul rest in the peace and light of Divine love.
Frances Connell
Miramichi, NB

Eileen and Peter Walsh

January 28, 2019

I was shocked and saddened to learn that Fr. Abbass had passed away. Fr. Frank was one of a group of special friends who were very close to my parents Helen and Kilmer Dunn from North Sydney. I have many fond memories of special gatherings and parties at my parents home, filled with story telling, laughter and always music. My parents always spoke so very highly of Fr. Frank and had great respect and love for him. May he rest in peace.
I am so sorry I am unable to attend his funeral this afternoon but send sincere condolences to his family and friends and the parishioners of St. Mary's in East Bay.

With sympathy and prayerful thoughts
Eileen and Peter Walsh
North Sydney

Theo MacIntosh

January 27, 2019

I spent my summers in Ben Eoin as a child and would attend East Bay Church. Father Abbass' sermons and mass were always pleasant and heartfelt. He'd sing in a heavy voice - in key - and shake your hand at the end of mass to send you on your way. I know my family has enjoyed his time of service over the years and I will miss knowing he is still here.

Jessie O'Keefe

January 27, 2019

To the Abbass Family....I am so sorry to hear about Father Frank's passing..He will be missed by many...You are all in my thoughts and prayers...Jessie O'Keefe

Layne,Joslynn,Adam and Megan White

January 27, 2019

We were sorry to hear of the passing of Father Abbass. He was such a gentleman and true believer of community and what it means to be supportive to others. We always enjoyed when he would stop by for a cup of tea and a chat. Our condolences to his family and friends.May he rest in peace and be remembered for all the great things he did to make this world a better place.

Bill, Joyce & Kurt Hudson

January 27, 2019

Rest now Father, Thank you!

John MacMillan

January 26, 2019

Sincerest condolences to the
Abbass family

Donna Tomie

January 26, 2019

I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Fr. Frank. My mother (Naphie) always enjoyed that they shared the same birthday and would be able to greet each other with a "Happy Birthday & same to you" Personal memories such as these, along with all he accomplished throughout his life of service, will ensure he lives on in the hearts of many. My love and prayers are will all of my extended family.

Michael Mac Innis

January 26, 2019

Our deepest sympathy to the Abbass family on the loss of Father Frank Abbass who will be ever missed and loved by the people of East Bay ! God bless him . Michael Mac Innis ( Altar Server) Hector ( Donnie ) Mac Mullin ( Altar Reader )