Election of New President Highlights First Day of Canadian Bishops Annual Plenary Meeting

Wednesday, October 15 1997

Cap de la Madeleine, QC – (CCCB) His Excellency Jean Claude Cardinal Turcotte of Montreal was today elected president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) at the annual Plenary of Bishops being held in Cap de la Madeleine. Cardinal Turcotte takes over the presidency from Archbishop Francis J. Spence of Kingston following his two-year mandate. Bishop Gerald Wiesner of Prince George, BC, was elected to become vice-president, the post formerly held by Cardinal Turcotte. For the past two years, Bishop Wiesner was Co- treasurer of the Conference.

The election of Cardinal Turcotte and Bishop Wiesner came on the first day of the 1997 Plenary that will end on Tuesday, October 21. The bishops also held a minute of silence to remember the victims from the village of St. Bernard de Beauce who died in the tragic bus accident in the Charlevoix region of Quebec on Monday. The Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, Archbishop Carlo Curis, presented Papal medals to Mrs. Claire Dubé the retired Director of the CCCB’s Publications Service and to Sr. Donna Geernaert, s.c., the CCCB ecumenical officer. Pope John Paul II awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice honours to Mrs. Dubé on the occasion of her retirement after 30 years at the Conference, and to Sr. Geernaert for her generous and tireless service in the promotion of Christian unity.

The plenary meeting also sent a letter of congratulations to the Holy Father on the 19th anniversary of his accession to the chair of Peter. The CCCB is the association of Catholic Bishops in Canada. Its mandate is to assure the coordination of pastoral activities for the Catholic Church in Canada. There are 134 bishop members, including 74 diocesan bishops, 18 auxiliary bishops and 42 bishops emeriti.