Archbishop Adam Exner, the ninth Archbishop of Vancouver, died Tuesday at the age of 94. A 2002 file photo shows him at the Archdiocesan Synod he launched. B.C. Catholic files

Archbishop Adam Exner, OMI, dies at age 94

  • September 6, 2023

Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller said he was “deeply saddened” to learn of the death of Archbishop Adam Exner, OMI, who served as Archbishop of Vancouver from 1991 to 2004. 

Archbishop Exner died Tuesday morning at the age of 94 in his residence in Grayson, Sask.

Archbishop Miller offered his condolences and prayers, saying his brother archbishop’s life of dedication, compassion and service would be remembered. “We offer our prayers and support to his family, friends, and all those whose lives he touched.”

Archbishop Exner, who was Vancouver’s ninth archbishop, was born on Christmas Eve in 1928 to Austrian immigrants in Killaly, Sask., a tiny village 150 kilometres east of Regina.

His service to the Church spanned several decades and included roles as a professor, rector, and superior at St. Charles Scholasticate in Battleford, Sask., as well as professor of moral theology at Newman Theological College in Edmonton.

In 1974, he was appointed as Bishop of Kamloops and, in 1982, as the archbishop of Winnipeg. His contributions extended beyond local dioceses, as he served as a member of the Congregation for Bishops. 

On a national level, Archbishop Exner was an active participant in various commissions and dialogues within the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), including the Permanent Council, the Social Communications Commission, Theology and Christian Education Commissions, and the National Catholic-Lutheran dialogue.

Archbishop Exner was appointed as the Archbishop of Vancouver on May 25, 1991, where he served until his retirement in January of 2004, in accordance with the mandatory retirement age for archbishops.

His funeral will be held in Saskatchewan, and a memorial Mass will be held at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver, likely next week. Details for the services will be announced.

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