Bishop Native to Canada: Death of Most Rev. Michel Gagnon, M.Afr., Bishop of Laghouat, Algeria

Friday, June 04 2004

(CCCB – Ottawa)… Most Rev. Michel Gagnon, M.Afr., a Canadian who became Bishop of the Diocese of Laghouat, in southern Algeria, died suddenly on 1 June 2004, in Ghardaia, Algeria, at the age of 71.

A member of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers), Bishop Gagnon was born in Saint-Roch, Quebec, on 23 March 1933. He entered the Missionaries of Africa on 4 August 1951, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1956, in Carthage, Tunisia.

Before 1970, he had worked in Algeria as a teacher, school principal and chaplain for the Scouts. He was then appointed administrator of a hospital and a centre for social services in North Yemen. In 1978, he became provincial superior of his community for the Middle East and Red Sea region. On 4 May 1980, Pope John Paul II named him Bishop of the Diocese of Djibouti, Africa. In 1987, he was appointed to the Institute of Arabic Pontifical Studies, first as a professor, then as rector. Finally, in 1991, the Holy Father appointed him as Bishop of the Saharan Diocese of Laghouat, Algeria.

The funeral service for Bishop Gagnon will be held on Sunday, 6 June, in Ghardaia, Algeria. A memorial Mass will be celebrated on 12 June 2004, at 10:30 a.m., at Saint-Sacrement parish in Quebec City.

In all, there are nine other Canadian bishops in active ministry throughout the world. Eight of them have dioceses in New Guinea, Peru, Honduras, Malawi, Chad, Australia, France and the United States of America. The ninth, Archbishop Michael Miller, C.S.B., is Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome.