Episcopal Nominations for Québec and Gaspé

Friday, November 15 2002

(CCCB – Ottawa) – His Holiness Pope John Paul II today named Most Rev. Marc Ouellet, P.S.S., Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome, as Archbishop of Québec. The Holy Father also named Most Rev. Jean Gagnon, Auxiliary Bishop of Québec and currently Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Gaspé, as Bishop of Gaspé.

Archbishop-elect Ouellet succeeds Most Rev. Maurice Couture, S.V., whose resignation has been accepted by the Pope for reasons of age. Archbishop Couture submitted his resignation in November 2001. He becomes Apostolic Administrator until the new Archbishop takes canonical possession of the Archdiocese.

Born in 1944 in La Motte, Québec, Archbishop-elect Ouellet was ordained to the priesthood in 1968 as a member of the Company of Saint Sulpice. He holds a licentiate in philosophy from Saint Thomas Aquinas University in Rome and a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He served as rector at the Grande Séminaire de Montréal, 1990-1994, and of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Edmonton, 1994-1997. He later became chairman of dogmatic theology at the John Paul II Institute of the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome and, from 1995 to 2000, was a consultor with the Congregation for the Clergy. In March 2001, Archbishop-elect Ouellet was named Secretary to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is entrusted with promoting within the Catholic Church an authentic ecumenical spirit and developing dialogue and collaboration with the other Churches and world communions. As Secretary, he was the highest-ranking Canadian in the Roman Curia.

In assuming the role of Archbishop of Québec, Archbishop-elect Ouellet becomes the Primate for the Catholic Church in Canada, in recognition of that diocese having been the first in Canada. As such, he becomes an ex officio member of the CCCB Permanent Council, a group of 16 bishops that oversees the general work and orientation of the Conference between annual Plenary Assemblies.

The Archdiocese of Québec has a Catholic population of 902,000 served by 511 diocesan priests, 341 religious order priests, 85 permanent deacons and 235 lay pastoral assistants in 268 parishes and missions.


Bishop Jean Gagnon is well familiar with the Diocese of Gaspé, having been named Apostolic Administrator of the diocese in July 2001 following the resignation of Bishop Raymond Dumais. Bishop Gagnon was named Auxiliary Bishop of Québec in December 1998.

Born on May 21, 1941, in Saint-Joseph-de-Lauzon, near Québec City, he completed classical studies at the Collège de Lévis, and theological studies at the Grand Séminaire de Québec where he received a licentiate in theology. He also holds a master’s degree in pastoral theology from Laval University and a master’s degree in missiology from Saint University in Ottawa. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1966.

Bishop Gagnon is currently chairman of the CCCB Episcopal commission for Social Affairs.

The Diocese of Gaspé has a Catholic population of 94,000 served by 60 diocesan priests, 6 religious order priests, 3 permanent deacons and 171 religious sisters and brothers in 66 parishes and missions.