First Nominations of Canadian Bishops by Pope Benedict XVI

Monday, July 11 2005

(CCCB – Ottawa)… Two new Canadian bishops were named today by Pope Benedict XVI: Father Sylvain Lavoie, O.M.I., as Coadjutor Bishop of Keewatin-Le Pas, Manitoba, and Reverend Gerard P. Bergie as Auxiliary Bishop of Hamilton, Ontario. These are the first Canadian bishops to be appointed by the new Pope.


Born on 22 April 1947 in Delmas, Saskatchewan, Father Lavoie was ordained to the priesthood after joining with the Community of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (O.M.I.) in 1974, and following his education in theology at St. Charles Scholasticate in Battleford, Sask. He later became Provincial Superior and Consultor of his religious community and worked in a number of parishes in the Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas, whose territory includes parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. At the time of his nomination, he was pastor of a Cree community in Makwa, Sask. Bishop-elect Lavoie will succeed Most Reverend Peter Sutton, O.M.I., the current Archbishop of Keewatin-Le Pas. When a bishop is close to retirement, a coadjutor bishop (from the Latin adjuvare, to help) is often named to assist him and to assure a smooth transition upon retirement, in accordance with Canon 403 of the Code of Canon Law.

The Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas has a Catholic population of 37,000 in 48 parishes and missions, served by 16 diocesan and religious order priests, nine religious Sisters and Brothers and 13 pastoral assistants.


Rev. Gerard Paul Bergie was born on 4 January 1959 in Hamilton, Ontario. He studied at St. Jerome’s College, the University of Waterloo and St. Peter’s Seminary, London, Ontario. He received a master’s degree in Divinity from the University of Western Ontario in 1983 and a licentiate in Canon Law from the University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome in 1991. Ordained to the priesthood on 12 May 1984, he has served in the parishes of Our Lady of Lourdes (Hamilton), St. Francis Xavier (Stoney Creek) and St. Margaret Mary (Hamilton), where he was pastor at the time of his nomination. He has also occupied various positions within the diocese, including Chancellor.

The Diocese of Hamilton, the fourth largest in Canada, has 118 diocesan priests, 90 priests belonging to religious communities, six permanent deacons, 301 religious Sisters and Brothers, and 55 lay pastoral assistants, serving a Catholic population of 560,000 in 150 parishes and missions.

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