Archbishop Joseph-Aurèle Plourde

Archbishop Joseph-Aurèle Plourde

January 14, 2013

OTTAWA – Archbishop Emeritus Joseph-Aurèle Plourde of Ottawa died Jan. 5 in Ottawa, one week short of his 98th birthday and after almost 49 years as a bishop.

Plourde was a former president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops who played a key role in restructuring the conference as well as in establishing the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

Plourde was born on Jan. 12, 1915, in Saint-François-de-Madawaska, N.B.

He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Edmundston on May 7, 1944, appointed auxiliary bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall, Ont., by Pope Paul VI on July 30, 1964 and ordained bishop on Aug. 26, 1964, in Edmundston.

He was appointed apostolic administrator of Alexandria-Cornwall Oct. 15, 1966, and appointed archbishop of Ottawa on Jan. 12, 1967.

For reasons of health because of heart problems, the pope accepted his resignation as archbishop of Ottawa in September 1989, about six months before he reached the mandatory retirement age for bishops of 75.

Following his ordination as bishop in 1964, Plourde attended the Second Vatican Council.

Shortly after the council, he had a pivotal role in the restructuring of what was then the Canadian Catholic Conference (after 1977 renamed the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops).

In 1966, he was elected to the conference's newly constituted board, on which he served until 1971. In 1967, he was elected to an ad hoc committee which brought forward recommendations on the nature and role of the conference in the light of Vatican II.

From 1969 to 1971, he was president of the conference.

Later, from 1979 to 1983, he served on its then Commission for Non-believers.

From 1966 to 1967, Plourde chaired a committee of the conference which oversaw the establishment of CCODP.