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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Installation of Francis Leo as Archbishop of Toronto at St. Michael’s Cathedral

Francis Leo was installed as Archbishop of Toronto at a solemn mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral on the 25th of March 2023. 

Newsroom (25/03/2022 12:45 PM, Gaudium Press) Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Francis (Frank) Leo, currently Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Montreal, as the 14th Archbishop of Toronto. The archbishop-designate succeeds Cardinal Thomas Collins, who has served the archdiocese since 2007. 

Before the mass, there was an organ prelude consisting of Fantasia on a Theme of Gustav Holst, Cortege et Litanie(Marcel Dupré), Prelude and Fugue in E-Flat “St. Anne”, BWV 552 (JS Bach) ably played by cathedral organist Philip Fillion. The introit for the installation mass was Rorate caeli desuper. 

Archbishop-Designate Leo was met at the doors of the Cathedral and greeted by Reverend Frank Portelli, Rector of the Cathedral, who presented him with a crucifix for veneration. The archbishop designate then blessed himself and those present. In attendance were the papal nuncio of Canada Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, Primate of Canada Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, President of the CCCB Bishop Raymond Poisson and President of the Assembly of the Bishops of Ontario Bishop Gerard Paul Bergie amongst various other religious and lay people. In attendance was also the retiring Cardinal Collins.

After a welcome and an introduction by Archbishop Jurkovic, Msgr. Antons Prikulis First Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in Canada read the Apostolic Letter from His Holiness Pope Francis, appointing Reverend Francis Leo, as the Archbishop of Toronto.

The Apostolic Nuncio then asked the Archbishop-Designate if he is willing to accept the Metropolitan See of Toronto, and he replied in the affirmative. Fr. Edward Curtis, the chancellor, showed the Apostolic Mandate to the College of Consultors for inspection, and then to the people.

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Archbishop Leo was then led to the cathedra by Archbishop Jurkovic and Cardinal Collins. He was then seated and presented with his crozier, the sign of his pastoral office, as the Archbishop of Toronto.

Archbishop Leo was then greeted by members of the local clergy, religious and representatives of the Catholic faithful. Archbishop Leo had a mitre with a Blue Marian M on it as his installation is on feast of the Annunciation.

Although it is Lent, the Gloria “Missa de Angelis” was sung which warmed this author’s heart to hear the Gloria in lent. 

The readings and gospel of the mass followed the readings for the feast of the Annunciation, the feast where Our Lord Jesus who is God becomes a slave to humanity by condescending to take on human nature. The feast where Our Lady says “fiat voluntas tua” thy will be done. We Catholics of the archdiocese of Toronto pray and accept the will of God be done in giving us, Archbishop Frank Leo. The Marian dimension of Bishop Leo’s piety can be seen in his episcopal dates: nominated as auxiliary bishop on July 16, 2022 (Our Lady of Mount Carmel), ordained a bishop on Sept. 12, 2022 (Holy Name of Mary) and appointed archbishop of Toronto on Feb. 11, 2023 (Our Lady of Lourdes).

The homily of our new Archbishop was delivered from his chair and the entire mass can be seen at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/live/ZMvoOPHjafc?feature=share

One line that spoke volumes in the homily was “The world needs Priests because the world needs Christ”, another was “the 9 promises a bishop makes during the rite of consecration by which he becomes a successor to the apostles ” Do you resolve to guide the holy people of God in the way of salvation as a devoted father”… The Archbishop then compared this to the marital relationship, the bond that a Bishop has to his diocese. That a bishop is wedded to his diocese. Archbishop Leo does have a phenomenal sense of humour, keeping with the theme of marriage, Leo did introduce the almost blood feud between Montreal and Toronto in hockey between the Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens, officially le Club de hockey Canadien and colloquially known as the Habs. The newly anointed Archbishop said that compromise is essential for a lasting marriage, but in the case of the Leaf and the Habs, marriage counselling is called for. 

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The prayers for the faithful were multi-lingual (English, French, Spanish, Italian, Tamil, Polish, Tagalog and some indigenous languages ) as Toronto is a city which has many different races and covered all the usual topics. Breaking from the printed documents, Archbishop Leo reminded everyone present both physically and online to renew the consecration to Our Lady which Pope Francis recommended and then he proceeded to re-consecrate the Archdiocese of Toronto to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Archbishop concluded the prayers of the faithful by reciting the Hail Mary.

The Eucharist prayer for the mass was the roman canon (Eucharistic Prayer 1), and the Our Father was sung in Latin (Pater Noster) . The rest of the mass proceeded as per usual. Before the mass concluded Cardinal Collins provided a lovely speech and welcome and words of encouragement to Archbishop Frank Leo. Also Archbishop Frank Leo did apologize for his rather lengthy sermon promising to be more succinct in the future. 

An explanation of the coat of arms of the new Archbishop of Toronto can be found on this website soon.

  • Brett Sequeira 





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