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Most Reverend Claude Champagne, O.M.I., named Bishop of Edmundston

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champagne.jpg(CCCB - Ottawa) – On 5 January 2009, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Most Reverend François Thibodeau, C.J.M., as Bishop of Edmundston, New Brunswick, and named as his successor Most Reverend Claude Champagne, O.M.I.

Bishop Thibodeau, who has headed the Diocese of Edmundston since January 1994 and who turned 69 in July 2008, is leaving office for reasons of health.  At the time of his new appointment, Bishop Champagne was Auxiliary Bishop of Halifax, a position he has held since June 2003.

Born 22 July 1947 in Lachine, Quebec, Bishop Champagne studied philosophy and theology in Ottawa before earning a doctorate in mission studies at the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained a priest in 1975.

Subsequently, he served as professor at Saint Paul University, Ottawa, as well as being involved in youth ministry and vocations work and also with French-language Cursillo groups in the Archdiocese of Ottawa. He has done pastoral work in Eastern Ontario (Saint Albert and Marionville, both in the Archdiocese of Ottawa) and was provincial superior of the Ontario and Western Quebec province of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate from 1996 to 2003.

Bishop Champagne has been an active member of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB),  and is currently serving as one of its two episcopal representatives on the Governing Board of the Canadian Council of Churches, as well as on the National Council of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. He is a member of the CCCB Commission for Christian Unity / Religious Relations with the Jews / Interfaith Dialogue, as well as of the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council.

The Diocese of Edmundston has 27 diocesan priests, 8 religious priests, 94 religious Brothers and Sisters, and 12 lay pastoral workers, serving some 52,000 Catholics in 32 parishes and missions.

Last Updated on Tuesday, October 20 2009  
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Canada’s oldest diocese, the Archdiocese of Quebec, was established in 1674. Most Reverend François de Laval was its first Bishop.