Episcopal Resignation and Appointment for the Archdiocese of Toronto

Saturday, February 11, 2023

11 February 2023 – Ottawa – His Holiness Pope Francis today named the Most Reverend Frank Leo as the eleventh Archbishop of Toronto. At the time of his nomination, Archbishop Leo was an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Montreal. He succeeds Cardinal Thomas Collins, whose resignation was accepted by Pope Francis. Cardinal Collins exercised pastoral responsibility for the Archdiocese of Toronto as its Archbishop since 2007.

Born in Montreal in 1971 to Italian immigrant parents, Archbishop Leo entered the Grand Séminaire de Montréal in 1990 and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese on 14 December 1996. He served in various parish assignments in Montreal until 2006 when he accepted the invitation to enroll in the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome and subsequently enter the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See (2006-2012), serving in Apostolic Nunciatures across the globe. In January 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Chaplain of His Holiness bestowing the title of Monsignor.

Upon his return to Canada, he joined the formation team of the Grand Séminaire de Montréal, teaching theology and philosophy while providing spiritual direction, training and accompaniment to the candidates for the priesthood. In the fall of 2015 he was appointed General Secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), a mandate which came to an end in the fall of 2021.

In February 2022, the Archbishop of Montreal, Most Reverend Christian Lépine appointed him as the Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia of the Archdiocese of Montreal.

On July 16, 2022, memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pope Francis appointed him as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Montreal. His episcopal ordination as Titular Bishop of Tamada and Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal took place on September 12, 2022 in Mary Queen of the World Basilica. Principal Consecrator was Archbishop Lépine; co-consecrators were the Most Reverend Serge Poitras, Bishop of Timmins, and the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton.

In addition to his extensive graduate studies in Canon Law (Lateran University), Diplomacy and International Law, Msgr. Leo holds a Doctorate in Systematic Theology (University of Dayton⁄IMRI) with a specialization in Mariology, a Licentiate in Philosophy (Lateran University), a Diploma in Classical Studies (Université de Montréal), and a Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction (Aquinas Institute of Theology). He has taught, among other places, in Montreal, Canberra (Australia), Dayton (USA) and Ottawa. He speaks English, French, Italian and Spanish.

Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins was born in 1947 and grew up in Guelph, Ontario. His childhood home was situated behind The Church of Our Lady, where he attended and served morning Mass.

In 1969 he obtained a Bachelor of Arts (English) from St. Jerome College in Waterloo. In 1973 he obtained two degrees, a M.A. (English) from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Theology from St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1973 in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Hamilton, by Most Reverend Paul Reding.

While studying in Rome, specializing in sacred scripture and the Book of Revelation, he received a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in 1978 and a Doctorate in Theology from the Gregorian University in 1986.

After holding various academic appointments, in 1997 he was appointed as Bishop of St. Paul, Alberta. He was ordained to the episcopate on May 14, 1997 in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Hamilton, Ontario, by Most Reverend Anthony Tonnos. Two years later, he was named the Archbishop of Edmonton. In 2001, while in Edmonton he was named Apostolic Administrator of St. Paul. In December 2006, he was appointed as the Archbishop of Toronto, and installed in January 2007.

On January 6, 2012, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI announced the appointment of Cardinal Collins to the College of Cardinals. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals as Cardinal Priest of San Patrizio on February 18, 2012.

In 2007 Cardinal Collins became an ex-officio member of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops Permanent Council. He also served on a number of commissions and committees of the CCCB and other organizations. He has been ex-officio Chancellor of the University of St. Michael’s College and the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, in Toronto. He has served as the Chair of the Board of Governors of St. Augustine’s Seminary, and the Chair of the Board of Directors of Redemptoris Mater Missionary Seminary, Catholic Charities and Catholic Cemeteries and as a Trustee of ShareLife’s Advisory Board. In 2008, Cardinal Collins was elected President of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario.

Cardinal Collins has served the global church through his membership with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Commission of Cardinals for oversight of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR). He has participated in the Synod on the Eucharist, and the Synod on the Middle East, served as an Apostolic Visitor in Ireland and also as the Delegate of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for Anglicanorum Coetibus.

The Archdiocese of Toronto, erected in 1841, has an area of 13,000 square kilometers (5,000 square miles) extending to Georgian Bay. In 2021, it had Catholic population of 1.9 million in 226 parishes and 23 missions. In addition to the Archbishop, they are served by four auxiliary Bishops, 382 diocesan priests, 384 priests in consecrated life, 439 women in consecrated life, 147 deacons, and 41 religious brothers. The Archdiocese includes 485 Catholic elementary and 98 Catholic secondary schools and one institute of higher education.