Archbishop Marcel Gervais is pictured in a 2004 file photo. CNS photo/Art Babych

Ottawa Archbishop Emeritus Gervais dies at 91

  • August 9, 2023

Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais, who shepherded the bilingual diocese covering Canada’s capital from 1989 to 2007, died Aug. 6, Ottawa-Cornwall Archbishop Emeritus Terrence Prendergast announced in an Instagram post.

“Commended to our prayers: Archbishop Marcel Gervais who had a passion for evangelization (his motto « evangelizare » means to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and God’s Kingdom); he passed away Sunday evening, funeral plans are pending: R.I.P.”

Born in St. Elie, Man., in 1931, Gervais went to study for the priesthood at St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ont. He was ordained a priest in 1958 and was sent to study sacred Scripture in Rome and Jerusalem. 

He returned to London to teach at St. Peter’s Seminary and in 1974 was asked by Bishop Emmett Carter to take over as director of the Divine Word International Centre of Religious Education, a centre for adult education in the spirit of Vatican founded by then-London Bishop Emmett Carter.

Father Gervais was ordained an auxiliary bishop of London in 1980 and subsequently was made Bishop of Sault Saint Marie Diocese. After four years he was named Archbishop of Ottawa, where he retired in 2007.

He authored the scripture-study series Journeywhich was translated into various languages including French and Chinese. He served as vice president and president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

In 2003, Archbishop Gervais issued the decree establishing the Companions of the Cross as a society of apostolic life. In June of that same year, the Servants of the Cross, a group of sisters following the spirituality of the Companions of the Cross, was established.

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