[Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese website]
May 2, 2018
On April 27, 2018, it was announced that Pope Francis has united the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall to the Archdiocese of Ottawa “in the person of the bishop”. Archbishop Prendergast is no longer the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall but now its Bishop. Moreover, an Auxiliary Bishop will be appointed at a later date to assist Archbishop Prendergast specifically for the territory of Alexandria-Cornwall.
In light of this decision, Archbishop Prendergast thanked Pope Francis for affirming the wide-ranging consultation and the decision taken. “I am grateful to Pope Francis for addressing the challenges we face and affirming the importance of the presence of a bishop in Alexandria-Cornwall. I look forward to taking part in working with the clergy, religious and faithful of Cornwall in mapping out our future together. For my part, I pledge respect and my whole-hearted commitment to our future together.”
“I recognize that this decision will not satisfy everyone and that some people may be upset,” stated Archbishop Prendergast. “However, it is my hope that this decision will ultimately contribute to the creation of vibrant faith communities in Alexandria-Cornwall, which will be evangelizing presences in our midst.”
The Diocese of Alexandria (Cornwall was not added to the name until 1976) was created by the Vatican on January 23, 1890, and Father Alexander Macdonell of Lochiel was named her first bishop. The Diocese is made up of the counties of Glengarry and Stormont and includes more than 56,000 Catholics, 26 parishes and 29 priests.
On January 13, 2016, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, following the reassignment of Bishop Marcel Damphousse. The archbishop’s main task was to make a recommendation to the Vatican as to whether the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall should be unified with neighbouring Ottawa or whether a new bishop should be appointed to oversee the Diocese.
After many conversations and consultations with the affected parties, including clergy, religious and parishioners, a report was sent to the Vatican at the end of June 2017. Further consultations with the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops extended the period of deliberation until March 2018.
As the unification of dioceses is extremely rare, the transition period will take some time as plans are elaborated to effect the change.
Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall united to Archdiocese of Ottawa “in persona episcopi” – appointment of Most Rev. Terrence Prendergast as Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall
According to the CCCB 2018 Directory, the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall has 27 parishes and missions, with a Catholic population of 60,000 served by 29 diocesan priests, two priests who are members of institutes of consecrated life, 18 permanent deacons and 22 religious Sisters who are members of religious institutes. The Archdiocese of Ottawa has 107 parishes and missions, with a Catholic population of 394,515 served by 155 diocesan priests, 111 priests who are members of institutes of consecrated life, 91 permanent deacons, 447 religious Sisters and 13 religious Brothers who are members of religious institutes, as well as 13 lay pastoral workers.