New Archbishop for the Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall

Monday, December 07 2020

Ottawa – On 4 December 2020, His Holiness Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, S.J., as Archbishop of the  Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall. He is succeeded by the Most Reverend Marcel Damphousse who has served as Coadjutor Archbishop of Ottawa-Cornwall since his appointment in May 2020. Archbishop Prendergast had earlier submitted his resignation when reaching the age limit of 75 as stipulated by Canon 401 of the Code of Canon Law.

Archbishop Damphousse was born on 19 March 1963 in Saint-Joseph, Manitoba. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1984 from the University College of Saint Boniface, followed by a Bachelor’s degree in theology in 1989 from Saint Paul University, Ottawa, and in 2002 obtained a Licentiate in Spiritual Theology from the Teresianum in Rome. He was ordained a priest on 28 June 1991 for the Archdiocese of Saint-Boniface and served in pastoral ministry in parishes throughout the Archdiocese before being named Rector of the Cathedral in 2008. On 28 June 2012, he was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall and ordained Bishop on 2 September 2012. On 12 November 2015, he was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Sault Ste-Marie and installed on 13 January 2016. On 6 May 2020, with the amalgamation of the Archdiocese of Ottawa with the Diocese of Cornwall-Alexandria, he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall and began his ministry on 16 June 2020.

Archbishop Prendergast was born 19 February 1944 in Montréal. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in philosophical studies from Fordham University in New York, followed by a Master of Divinity, Licentiate in Theology and later a Doctorate in Sacred Scripture from Regis College, the Jesuit Faculty of Theology at the University of Toronto. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1961 and was ordained a priest 10 June 1972. From 1967 to 1995 he taught a diverse range of subjects at several educational institutions, including Latin, Greek and religious studies at Loyola High School in Montréal (1967-1969), as well as New Testament studies at the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax (1975-1981) and at Regis College (1981-1995). While at Regis College, from 1981 to 1987 he served as Rector and later from 1991 to 1995 as Dean. He was the Daniel Hannin Visiting Jesuit Professor at Campion College at the University of Regina (1988-1989) and the Catholic Biblical Association of America visiting professor at École biblique et archéologique française de Jerusalem (1994-1995). He likewise lectured at Campion College, the Vancouver School of Theology, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Newman Theological College in Edmonton, St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto and the Anishnabe Spiritual Centre in Espanola, Ontario. On 22 February 1995, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto and ordained 25 April 1995. On 30 June 1998, he was appointed Archbishop of Halifax and on 24 January 2002 also Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Yarmouth. On 14 May 2007, he was named Archbishop of Ottawa, and 27 April 2018 also appointed Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall. With the creation of the new Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall on 6 May 2020, he was appointed its first Archbishop. On 29 November 2020, he was named Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Hearst-Moosonee.

Prior to being appointed Bishop, Archbishop Prendergast served the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops as a resource person at the Synod of Bishops on Priestly Formation in Rome (1990), as a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue (1990-1995), as a member of the Ad hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse (1991-1992), and as the English Sector Executive Secretary for the Holy See’s Visitation of Canadian Seminaries (1992-1994). Following his episcopal ordination in 1995, he served as a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue (1995-2000), as well as its Co-Chair (1995-1997). He likewise served as a member (1995-1997) and subsequently Chair (1997-1999) of the then Commission for Relations with Associations of Priests, Religious, and Laity, as member of the then Programmes and Priorities Committee (1997-1999) and the then Commission for Theology (1999-2003), as Bishop ponens with the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities of Canada (1999-2005), as member of the Commission for Doctrine (2005-2011), member of the then Standing Committee for Communications (2011-2014), and member of the Standing Committee for Development and Peace (2014-2020). He also served on the CCCB Permanent Council as a Regional Representative (1999-2003, 2009-2011, and 2015-2019). He likewise served as a Board member (2000-2001) and later as Chairman (2001-2004) of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF).

On behalf of the Holy See, Archbishop Prendergast has served as its Pontifical Commissioner for the Sons of Mary (2003-2007), since 2005 as member of the Vox Clara Committee of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as Apostolic Visitator in Ireland (2010-2012), and since 2003 as a Director and later Chair, when appointed Archbishop of Ottawa, of CNEWA Canada (Catholic Near East Welfare Association), an agency of the Congregation for Oriental Churches.

A special Mass to mark Archbishop Prendergast’s 25 years of episcopal ordination was celebrated in Ottawa’s Notre Dame Cathedral-Basilica 3 December 2020, the Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, with participation enabled online. The Inaugural Mass for the commencement of the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall by Archbishop Marcel Damphousse will be celebrated on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December 2020, and will be livestreamed on the Archdiocese’s website at 7 pm (ET).

The Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall has 132 parishes and missions, with a Catholic population of 454,515 served by 144 diocesan priests, as well as 105 priests, 12 Brothers and 467 Sisters who are members of institutes of consecrated life,  94 permanent deacons and 12 lay pastoral assistants.