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By Kevin Connor ,Toronto Sun
Toronto’s Catholic community is mourning the death of Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic who passed away Friday morning at the age of 81.
He died after a lengthy illness, the archdiocese announced.
Ambrozic was a priest for 56 years, bishop for 35 years and served as ninth Archbishop of Toronto from 1990 to 2006.
“Cardinal Ambrozic’s tremendous contributions to the spiritual life of the faithful of our Archdiocese and the heritage of his wisdom, his knowledge, and his love of the priesthood will remain with us all,” said his successor, Archbishop Thomas Collins.
Ambrozic was born in Gaberje, Slovenia and was the second of seven children.
The family fled to Austria in 1945 and lived in refugee camps for three years until the family came to Canada and settled near Markham.
Shortly after arriving in Canada, Ambrozic entered St. Augustine’s Seminary.
After 21 years as a diocesan priest, Ambrozic was named an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Toronto in 1976 and he served with Archbishop Philip Pocock and Emmett Cardinal Carter.
He was named Archbishop of Toronto in 1990.
Pope John Paul II nominated him as Cardinal in 1998 and Ambrozic served on a number of Vatican committees related to immigration, culture, worship and the economy.
Ambrozic organized World Youth Day in 2002 — the largest gathering of
Catholic youth in Canadian history — that included a mass by the pope.
His legacy is honoured in several places including Cardinal Ambrozic Catholic Secondary School in Brampton and the Cardinal Ambrozic Houses of Providence, a long-term care facility where he passed away.
Premier Dalton McGuinty said he had the honour of meeting Ambrozic on several occasions and will remember his grace and commitment to his faith.
“Like many Ontario Catholics, I was saddened today to learn of the death of
His Eminence, Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic,” McGuinty said in a statement, lauding his work with youth. “An immigrant himself, Cardinal Ambrozic helped many new Canadians feel welcome in Ontario through his work in the church.
Ambrozic was “a great inspiration” to the Canadian Catholic Rights League especially in his help in making the group welcome in the archdiocese,” said Philip Horgan, the orgnization’s president.
“Throughout his ministry he showed a strong interest in fairness for the Church in the public forum, and he was always very supportive of the League’s efforts in this regard,” Hogan said.
Ambrozic will lie in state at St. Michael’s Cathedral for a public viewing where his funeral will also take place, however, dates and times have yet to be determined.