Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick preaching at the World Day of Migrants and Refugees Mass in St. Philip Neri Church. Michael Swan

Pope Francis appoints Toronto Auxiliary Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick to Antigonish

  • December 18, 2019

TORONTO -- Toronto Auxiliary Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick has been named by Pope Francis as the new Bishop of Antigonish, N.S.

He will replace Bishop Brian Dunn, who earlier this year was appointed a coadjutor archbishop for the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth.

“I am humbled by the trust placed in me by the Holy Father to serve the faithful of the Diocese of Antigonish as their shepherd,” said Kirkpatrick.

“I look forward to meeting the people from many diverse backgrounds who call this beautiful part of Canada home. 

“I know there have been significant challenges on the journey for the community. With God’s love and our support for one another, we can face the joys and struggles together, reflecting the face of Jesus to those we encounter.”

Kirkpatrick has served as auxiliary bishop of the northern region of the Archdiocese of Toronto since being made a bishop in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.

“We will miss Bishop Kirkpatrick in the Archdiocese of Toronto where he served with joy and faithfulness since 2012,” said Cardinal Thomas Collins. “We are grateful for his extensive contributions and pastoral outreach to so many, especially in the Northern Pastoral Region.”

The Diocese of Antigonish, which celebrated its 175th anniversary this year, has faced a long list of legal issues and financial challenges, a legacy of past sex abuse scandals and settlement payouts to victims. The diocese website currently contains a long list of Church land and buildings for sale as a result of a class-action settlement agreement. 

The diocese also suffers from declining Church attendance, a decreasing rural population, an aging priesthood and lack of new vocations that has led to church closures and the amalgamation of some parishes. 

Kirkpatrick, 62, is a native of St. Catharines, Ont. He studied at the University of Waterloo, St. Jerome’s College, earning a Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy) before entering St. Augustine’s Seminary in 1980. He completed a Masters of Divinity and was ordained to the priesthood in 1984, and earned a Licentiate (Masters) in Canon Law in 1990 from St. Paul University in Ottawa.

As a priest, Fr. Kirkpatrick served the Diocese of St. Catharines in diverse roles, including 22 years in diocesan administration, concurrently serving as a pastor for 17 years. He served as Moderator of the Curia, Chancellor and Judicial Vicar of the diocese, as well as rector of the cathedral.  

He was named a Prelate of Honour by Saint John Paul II in June 1999, a Papal Honour that bestows the title of “Monsignor” on priests recognized for their service to the Church

In addition to serving as an auxiliary bishop, Kirkpatrick also served the Archdiocese of Toronto as Episcopal Vicar for Religious institutes of men and women, and Episcopal Vicar for the Francophone community. Since 2014, he has served as President of St. Augustine’s Seminary, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Toronto School of Theology.  

His installation as the 10th Bishop of Antigonish will occur sometime in the new year.  

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