Episcopal Resignation for the Diocese of Thunder Bay

Monday, June 17 2024

17 June 2024 – Ottawa – Today, His Holiness Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Fred J. Colli, after 25 years as the Bishop of Thunder Bay. Bishop Colli submitted his resignation upon reaching the age limit of 75.

Born on June 17, 1949, in St. Catharines, Ontario, Bishop Colli embarked on a path of religious dedication and service early in life. In 1971, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Michael’s College, University of Toronto. His theological training included studies at Saint Augustine Seminary and the Toronto School of Theology from 1968 to 1974, culminating in a Bachelor of Theology from Saint Paul University, Ottawa, in 1974. Furthering his academic credentials, he earned a Licentiate in Canon Law from the Gregorian University in Rome in 1976.

Bishop Colli was ordained to the priesthood on June 21, 1975, at Saint Alfred’s Parish in St. Catharines, Ontario. His initial pastoral assignments included roles as Associate Pastor at St. Teresa Parish in Port Colborne (1975) and St. Kevin Parish in Welland (1975-1978). His commitment to religious education and guidance was evident early on, serving as Chaplain to the Knights of Columbus from 1976 to 1993 and Director of Vocations for the St. Catharines Diocese from 1978 to 1984.

Over the years, Bishop Colli assumed various significant roles within the Church. From 1985 to 1995, he served as Chancellor of the Diocese of St. Catharines, while also being a member of the Board of Consultors from 1980 to 1995. He served as the Administrator of Saint Julia’s Parish in St. Catharines (1984-1986), and later as Pastor of the same parish until 1995. Additionally, he contributed to the ecclesiastical judicial system as a Judge at the Toronto Regional Tribunal and Associate Judicial Vicar of the Catholic Marriage Tribunal from 1979 to 1995.

Bishop Colli’s service were recognized on December 22, 1992, when he was conferred Prelate of Honour. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Ottawa on December 19, 1994, and ordained Bishop at Notre-Dame Basilica, Ottawa, on February 22, 1995. His episcopal journey continued with his appointment as Bishop of Thunder Bay on February 2, 1999.

Throughout his ministry, Bishop Colli held numerous influential positions. He chaired the Clergy Commission of the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops (OCCB) from 1998 to 2004, and later the Institutional Chaplaincy Committee of the OCCB. He served as a member of the Commission for Education for the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario (ACBO) from 2008 and as Liaison Bishop with the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association and the Ontario Association of Parents for Catholic Education since 2007.

He served as Chairman of the then Episcopal Commission for Social Communications (1995-1999) of the the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and was involved with various other commissions and committees within the CCCB. His roles included Chair of the then Episcopal Commission for Relations with Associations of Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Laity (2005-2007), and member of the English Sector Commission for Liturgy and Sacraments (2008-2011, 2011-2014, 2020-2024). He also contributed to the Standing Committee of Relations with Movements and Associations from 2014 to 2020.

The Diocese of Thunder Bay has 43 parishes and missions, with a Catholic population of 73,780 served by 31 diocesan priests, together with 5 priest and 28 permanents deacons.




Media Inquiries:
Maribel Mayorga
Director of Communications
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB)
Email: communications@cccb.ca

Telephone: 613-241-9461, ext. 225