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A new archbishop for Montreal

Andrew Santos

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Earlier today, Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Christian Lépine, Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal as Archbishop of Montreal. He will succeed His Eminence, Jean Claude Cardinal Turcotte. 
Born in Montreal on Sept. 18, 1951, Christian Lépine was ordained a priest on Sept. 7, 1983. He studied theology at the University of Montreal and philosophy in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University.  After pastoral work at Saint-Joseph-de-Mont-Royal and Notre-Dame-des-Neiges parishes in Montreal, he served as Secretary to the Archbishop, from May 1996 to September 1998.
He subsequently worked at the Vatican, first at the Secretariat of State, from September 1998 to September 1999, then at the Congregation for Divine Worship until June 2000. Upon returning to Canada, he was appointed director of the Grand Seminary of Montreal, starting September 1, 2000. In 2006, he was named pastor of Notre-Dame-des-Champs and Purification-de-la-Bienheureuse-Vierge-Marie parishes.
On July 11, 2011, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Montréal and his Episcopal ordination took place on September 10, 2011. His date of installation as Archbishop has not yet been set.
On the other hand, His Eminence Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte was born in Montréal on June 26, 1936 and he was ordained to the priesthood May 24, 1959. In 1964, upon his return to the archdiocese from a year of studies at the Catholic Faculties of Lille in France, he was named diocesan chaplain of JICF (Jeunesse indépendante catholique féminine) and of the Christian Worker Movement. From 1967 to 1974, he was responsible for a number of areas within the Office for Clergy. In 1974, he became director of the Office for Parishes, and in 1977, he was named diocesan bursar. Archbishop Paul Grégoire appointed him Vicar General of the archdiocese and general co-ordinator for pastoral activities, September 25, 1981.
Pope John Paul II promoted him April 15, 1982, to the see of Suas and to the office of Auxiliary Bishop of Montréal. The Episcopal ordination was conferred to him by Archbishop Paul Grégoire, June 29, 1982. Pope John Paul II named him Archbishop of Montréal, March 17, 1990. The pope announced his elevation to the rank of Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, October 30, 1994. He became a member of the College of Cardinals on November 26, 1994, in Rome. Over the course of his 30 years as Bishop, Cardinal Turcotte was, for over 20 years, Ex Officio Member of the CCCB Permanent Council. He also served as president of the Episcopal Conference from 1997 to 1999.  As a member of the College of Cardinals, he served on the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and of the Special Council for America of the Synod of Bishops.
At the present, the Archdiocese of Montreal is home to more than 1.5 million Catholics in 220 parishes and missions.  It is served by 457 diocesan priests, 557 priests who are members of religious orders and societies of apostolic life, 100 permanent deacons, 3,670 religious brothers and sisters, and 123 pastoral agents.
During this time of transition, we pray for both His Eminence, Jean Claude Cardinal Turcotte as well as Archbishop-elect Lépine. Cardinal Turcotte has been a great friend and supporter of Salt and Light Television from our earliest days. In fact, he was the first subscriber to our network on Videotron in Quebec. Both bishops have served the Canadian Catholic Church so faithfully and diligently. May God bless them and the faithful of Montreal.

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