CORNWALL – There’s a new head of the Catholic church in Eastern Ontario.
Rev. Marcel Damphousse takes the position of archbishop, held by Terrence Prendergast, who retired on Friday (Dec. 4).
One of Prendergast’s last tasks was a mass celebration for the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario prior to its annual meeting on Wednesday. Prendergast will still be busy in the Catholic church as an administrator for a diocese in Hearst.
Damphousse is looking forward to charting the path forward for Eastern Ontario Catholics.
“I inherit a diocesan Church that is both young because it is newly created, but also rich in history, culture and traditions. The greatest treasure is to be found first of all in each of the persons who make up our living Church because we find God’s gift in each of them,” Damphousse said in a written message to the faithful Saturday.
“As your pastor, your servant leader, I hope I will model for you the life of an authentic missionary disciple. With a touch of humility and a good dose of joy of the Gospel, I believe it is possible to transform hearts and awaken souls to life in abundance,” he wrote.
This is the second archbishop since the Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese and the Ottawa Archdiocese merged in May 2020.
Damphousse had been the bishop of the Alexandria-Cornwall Catholic Diocese before he left to be a bishop in Sault Ste. Marie in 2016. Most recently, he has been the coadjutor archbishop since the diocesan merger.
The diocese covers an area from Stittsville to Ingleside and east to Quebec and is home to 133 parishes which serve 460,000 Catholics.