Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 10, 2000
Major changes on tap for Canadian bishops
By GLEN ARGAN
Major changes in the Canadian Catholic hierarchy are likely over the next two years as 10 bishops reach the age of retirement.
Those bishops soon to retire include the primate of the Church in Canada as well as four former presidents of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Six Western Canadian dioceses will be preparing for the appointment of new bishops, including two Alberta dioceses which are currently without a leader.
As well, eight dioceses in the East have bishops approaching 75, the age at which they are required to submit their resignations to the pope.
The changes mean lots of work ahead for Archbishop Paolo Romeo who is beginning his first full year as the apostolic nuncio to Canada. The nuncio's office does much of the groundwork before the appointment of a bishop by the pope.
In Alberta, Catholics in the Grouard-McLennan Archdiocese have been without a shepherd since the sudden death of Archbishop Henri Goudreault in July 1998.
The St. Paul Diocese was also left leaderless in February 1999 when Bishop Thomas Collins was named coadjutor archbishop of Edmonton.
Administrators - Father Arth‚ Guimond in Grouard-McLennan and Father Walter Laliberty in St. Paul - currently oversee those dioceses. But they are barred from making major decisions affecting the dioceses' future.
As well, the Kamloops Diocese is vacant because of the early retirement in the fall of Bishop Lawrence Sabatini. So is the Saskatoon Ukrainian Eparchy where Bishop Cornelius Pasichny was sent east in the spring to head the Toronto Eparchy.
Further, Winnipeg's two Roman Catholic archdioceses will likely soon receive new leaders. Archbishop Leonard Wall of Winnipeg turned 75 in September while Archbishop Antoine Hacault of St. Boniface will reach retirement age in January 2001.
In Ontario, two former presidents of the CCCB - Bishop John Sherlock of London and Archbishop Francis Spence of Kingston - will turn 75 in 2001.
Sherlock served as president during Pope John Paul's 10-day trip across Canada in 1984.
As well, Bishop John O'Mara of St. Catharines reaches the age of retirement in November 2000.
In Quebec, the primate of the Church in Canada, Archbishop Maurice Couture of Quebec, will turn 75 in November 2001.
Two more former CCCB presidents heading dioceses in Quebec will soon step down. Bishop Robert Lebel of Valleyfield turned 75 in November 1999 and Bishop Jean-Guy Hamelin of Rouyn-Noranda will hit retirement age in October 2000.
Bishop Jean Gratton of Mont-Laurier turned 75 a month ago.
The only bishop in Atlantic Canada slated to retire soon is Archbishop James MacDonald of St. John's Nfld. He will be 75 in April.