Death of the Most Reverend Joseph-Aurèle Plourde, Archbishop Emeritus of Ottawa

Monday, January 07 2013

Plourde_J-Aurele(CCCB – Ottawa)… The Most Reverend Joseph-Aurèle Plourde, Archbishop Emeritus of Ottawa, Ontario, died on Saturday, January 5, 2013, in Ottawa, at the age of 97, after  almost 49 years as a Bishop.

Archbishop Plourde was born on January 12, 1915, in Saint-François-de-Madawaska, New Brunswick. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Edmundston on May 7, 1944; appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, Ontario, by Pope Paul VI on July 30, 1964; ordained Bishop on August 26, 1964, in Edmundston; appointed Apostolic Administrator of Alexandria-Cornwall on October 15, 1966, and appointed Archbishop of Ottawa on January 12, 1967. For reasons of health because of heart problems, his resignation as Archbishop of Ottawa was accepted by the Holy Father in September 1989, about six months before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75 for Bishops.

Following his ordination as Bishop in 1964, the Most Reverend Plourde was a member of the Second Vatican Council. Shortly after the Council, he had a pivotal role in the restructuring of what was then the Canadian Catholic Conference (after 1977 renamed the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops). In 1966, he was elected to the Conference’s newly constituted Board, on which he served until 1971 (later renamed the Administrative Board, and eventually the Permanent Council). In 1967, he was elected to an ad hoc committee which brought forward recommendations on the nature and role of the Conference in the light of Vatican II. From 1969 to 1971, he was President of the Conference. Later, from 1979 to 1983, he served on its then Commission for Non-believers.

From 1966 to 1967, Archbishop Plourde chaired a committee of the Conference which oversaw the establishment of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace. During October 1969, while Vice President of the Conference, he was in Rome as the Canadian episcopal consultant and spokesperson for the media covering the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on “Cooperation between the Holy See and the Episcopal Conferences”.

His funeral Mass will be on Friday, January 11, at 11:00 a.m. at Notre-Dame Cathedral-Basilica, Ottawa.