Archbishop Joseph MacNeil of Edmonton Retires

Monday, June 07 1999

(CCCB — Ottawa) — His Holiness Pope John Paul II today accepted the resignation of Archbishop Joseph MacNeil after 26 years of episcopal service in the Archdiocese of Edmonton. Archbishop McNeil had been CCCB President from 1979-1981 and also served for four years as Bishop of St. John, New Brunswick.

Most Rev. Thomas Collins, named Coadjutor Archbishop of Edmonton in February, now succeeds Archbishop MacNeil who reached the mandatory age of retirement on April 24.

Canon 401 of the Code of Canon Law stipulates that a diocesan bishop is required to present his resignation to the Pope on attaining the age of 75. However, Canon 403 allows for a coadjutor bishop to be appointed by the Pope prior to the resignation, permitting a smooth transitional period.

Until his nomination in February, Bishop Collins had been Bishop of neighbouring Saint Paul Diocese since June 1997. Prior to his episcopal nomination, he was rector of Saint Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario. He was born in Guelph, Ontario, on January 16, 1947, and ordained to the priesthood on May 5, 1973.

The Archdiocese of Edmonton has a Catholic population of 294,935 in 160 parishes and missions, served by 195 priests, 33 religious brothers and 437 religious sisters.