Fr. Gregory Bittman has been appointed auxiliary bishop of the Edmonton archdiocese

Appointment of Canadian bishops continues despite summer doldrums

  • July 17, 2012

OTTAWA - The Holy Father may have moved to his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, but that has not stopped announcements of new episcopal appointments as the Catholic Church in Canada enjoys the dog days of summer.

On July 16, the Pope also accepted the resignation of Keewatin-Le Pas Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie and appointed Fr. William Stang as apostolic administrator. Stang has been serving as vicar general and chancellor of Keewatin-Le Pas and confirmed that health reasons are the reason behind Lavoie's resignation.

That announcement came two days after Pope Benedict XVI appointed Fr. Gregory Bittman as auxiliary bishop of the Edmonton archdiocese, where he has been serving as judicial vicar and chancellor, and two weeks after the appointment of Fr. Marcel Damphousse as bishop of the eastern Ontario diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall.

Bittman is a native son of Edmonton, born there in March 1961. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1996. He has a Master's of Divinity from Christ the King Seminary in Mission, B.C., and a JCL Degree in Canon Law from the Catholic University of America.

Bittman also brings experience as a spiritual director to seminarians. He will serve with Archbishop Richard Smith who is president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Edmonton archdiocese has 126 parishes and missions, 94 diocesan priests, 84 religious priests, 20 permanent deacons, 271 religious sisters and brothers, and 42 lay pastoral workers, ministering to a Catholic population of 378,545.

Since 2008, Damphousse had been rector of the cathedral in the archdiocese of Saint-Boniface, Man., where he was also a member of the diocesan finance committee and commission for liturgy.

Born in 1963 in Saint-Joseph, Man., he was ordained a priest in 1991 for the Saint-Boniface archdiocese. He has a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University College of Saint Boniface. He studied theology at Ottawa's Saint Paul University, obtaining a Bachelor's degree in theology in 1989. He went on to obtain a licentiate in spiritual theology from the Teresianum in Rome.

Damphousse taught at the Manitoba Catholic School of Evangelization for a number of years, served as chaplain at St. Boniface Diocesan High School for five years, and as vocations director for more than 12 years.

He will fill the vacancy left by Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher who left Alexandria-Cornwall when he was appointed archbishop of Gatineau, Que.

Alexandria-Cornwall serves a Catholic population of 55,570 with 29 diocesan priests, one religious priest, 25 religious sisters and brothers and 19 permanent deacons.

Among remaining vacancies are a bishop for the Timmins diocese in Ontario and auxiliary bishop positions in Quebec and Montreal.

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