New Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall making concerted effort to get to know the people

CFN –Now that his first task of participating in what’s referred to as the “Bishops’ Course 101” as well as some regularly scheduled gatherings of bishops, Alexandria-Cornwall’s new bishop, Marcel Damphousse, is eagerly taking up the challenge of getting to know not only the people of the diocese and our needs, but also of getting to know the people of the region.  Generally, when a bishop is assigned to an area, prevailing wisdom has it that the first several months to a year is spent primarily learning to read the pulse of the diocese.

On October 14th Bishop Marcel Damphousse welcomed the community to a special Meet and Greet /
Open House for Agora Catholic Centre / Ministries Showcase

“In the very first months of my ministry as the new bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese, I seek to meet with the people who, through their service, leadership and participation, build up the Kingdom of God. A day never goes by without meeting new individuals and groups, allowing me to discover the richness in diversity and talent these men and women and children live out their faith lives. I believe there is plenty of good to work with for the future of our Church and our community.”

Due to the planned suppression of Nativity Parish, the diocese has taken over responsibility for the former Nativity Hall, transforming the lion’s share of the building into a faith education centre and gathering place.  The diocese continues to operate Nativity Lanes and also offers the public the possibility of renting either of two halls for gatherings of various sorts.  In part, the Open House was to afford the public an opportunity to view the larger of the halls, which easily houses 500 for a banquet-style  meal.  Come along with us for a video tour of the Meet and Greet and get a glimpse of the more than 30 ministries which were showcased that day.

Each Autumn, the bishop, priests and deacons along with the prayer partners gather for a special
Mass of Thanksgiving and Reception.
The celebration, which changes location each year,  took place on October 11th at Precious Blood Parish.

Locally, the Daisy progam (prayer partners for priests) and overlapping Trillium program (prayer partners for deacons) have witnessed an evolution this year which brought about the added participation of priestly seminarians.

Members of the Legion of Christ with Bishop Marcel Damphousse

Speaking of boys and men preparing for the priesthood, the diocese is home to the novitiate for the Legionaries of Christ, located in Summerstown.  Legionaries participated in the Daisy/Trillium Mass, the Agora Open House and other recent events.

Bishop Marcel joined with St. Francis de Sales Pastor Fr. George Maloney and M.P. Guy Lauzon
in recognizing and celebrating the parish’s 75 years of service to the community.
CFN covered that event. Click on the photo to read our news article.

Regular viewers of CFN may well recall our report on the October 21st 75th Anniversary celebration at St. Francis de Sales Parish.

On November 4th, Bishop Marcel helped to lead a group of area pilgrims who made the trek to
Kateri Tekakwitha’s shrine in Kahnawake and Mass of Thanksgiving
at St. Joseph’s Oratory Basilica Church.
This photo was taken as the pilgrims boarded the charter coach for the return journey.

Of course, not everyone was able to be in Rome for the recent canonization of the first Native North American Saint, Kateri Tekakwitha.  Fortunately, related celebrations were available closer to Cornwall, as reported recently on CFN.

The Francophone Religious of the diocese enjoyed a day-long gathering at the Agora Catholic Centre in Cornwall.

Francophone men and women religious from seven congregations/communities took advantage of the opportunity to share with their new bishop a summary of their ministry efforts here in the diocese.  18 of the 20 religious were able to participate.

Sisters of the Holy Cross
Sr. Barbara Hackett, Sr. Elizabeth Dilio, Bishop Marcel Damphousse, Sr. Kathryn Cameron, Sr. Terry Ann Wilson

More recently, the Anglophone Sisters of the Holy Cross received Bishop Marcel at one of their houses in Alexandria for a gathering over lunch.

Front row: Paula Wheeler (Roman Catholic Educator), Mostafa Elgazzar (Muslim), Bishop Marcel Damphousse (Roman Catholic), Barbara Helms (Muslim), Peter Morgan (United Church), Rev. Daniel Hayward (United Church)
Back row: Neil Macmillan (Baha’i), Gary Friedman (Jewish), John Towndrow (Post-modern spirituality)
Not present: Reverend Donald Wachenschwanz (United Church), Jane Macmillan (Baha’i), Carolyn Ruda (United Church), Abdollah Vakily (Muslim), Ashok Bharti (Hindu), Naresh Bhargava (Hindu), Dr. Mehar Reen (Sikh), Kavleen Reen (Sikh), Sister Terry Wilson (Roman Catholic), Father Matthew Brunet (Roman Catholic)

It may come as a surprise to some to learn that the ministry of a bishop, and indeed Christians in general, is not even remotely limited to one’s own denomination or faith group.  People of faith are challenged to build bridges, striving for greater understanding and appreciation of others who make up the mosaic of our community.  As such, Bishop Marcel is a member of an ecumenical group of Christian leaders as well as a member of a group of spiritual leaders which goes well beyond the realm of Christianity.

Rev. Fritz Clarke, Rev. Peter Hincke, Fr. Matthew Brunet, Rev. Russell Bates, Mrs. Betty Bates, Pastor Stephen King, Mrs. Glenys King, Pastor Brad Montsion, Pastor Glenda Cole, Pastor Oren Cole, Bp. Marcel Damphousse, Rev. Stephen Silverthorne, Fr. Claude Halle
Bishop Marcel was an invited guest at a recent meeting of Le Club Richelieu de Cornwall.
V.P. Bernard Rozon, Bishop Marcel Damphousse, President Michel Pilon

No doubt, in the months ahead there will be more opportunities for people to get to meet the new bishop.  Bishop Marcel will preside at a special celebration for veneration of the Icon of Our Lady of Guadeloupe on Dec. 12, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Andrews Church. As well, details are being finalized for another “Meet the Bishop” evening on January 27, 2013 at the Agora Catholic Centre.

Don Smith reports on a variety of topics, notably good news items as well as social justice issues.




  1. We really enjoyed having Son Excellance Mgr. Damphousse at our meeting. Coming from another French diocese he really fits in well here.

  2. It did not take him long to show his true colours, his true agenda, usually it takes several months to read the pulse of his diocese. He came from a French diocese to promote the French here in Cornwall area. He sought out Agora Catholic Centre & Le Richelieu club which hold his same goals. He said that he wants to meet with people who through their leadership & participation, build up the Kingdom of God……..REALLY……”.The Kingdom of God” through Frenchification …….hmmmmmm We have your number. Go back to saving souls & stay out of politics!!!! Makes me want to leave the Catholic Church, which for years now has been pushing French, turning St John Bosco church to French only was a big mistake in a unilingual English community…oh yes …what happen to that one & another church at Eamers Corners….We are not stupid….quit acting like we are!!!!

  3. Bernie November 18, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    “Coming from another French diocese he really fits in well here.”

    Presently French Catholic churches are struggling in Cornwall, yet English Catholic churches are thriving, so now the church will start getting involved in the politics of language.

    So, meeting with the French-only club whose purpose is to push the French language says it all!

    The bishop must keep in mind that he serves all parishioners no matter the cultural background, but already Franco rights groups are getting involved – he needs to isolate religion and politics, but both intermingle too easily and never should.

    Look at Quebec politics and the Church of the past.

    For it was the Church that oppressed the French; it is easier to control the masses through religion than through politics.

  4. Oh people, just to get a little taste of what happens in the background, click on Bernie’s name in the first response … it says that the diocese is a member of Franco Cornwall!

  5. why are you picking on “french” again . but your group keeps denying your picking on french … New Bishop is breath of fresh air. get over it!!!

  6. The bigger question is why you troll any comments that are made by me? Are you paid for this by the Franco rights groups which are sponsored by government funding ?

  7. just don`t like intolerance for anything you don`t understand…. Roman Catholic Church believes in forgiveness of sins and the intolerance you show needs lots of forgiveness… I`ll pray for you to open your heart and mind… stop lying to the general public ..

  8. I will pray for you lying with your statements of LFA.

    Oh trust me I do understand how intolerance exists ,hell the church played a large part of it over the centuries.

    If you knew me personally you would find an individual that truly believes in tolerance hense that is why I disagree in how the government approaches bilingualism.

    It’s once again the government that promotes the divide of culture one comes to Mind Quebec and a lesser degree Ontario and Federal government.

  9. Unbelievable how this wonderful article can turn into a language debate……

  10. stellabystarlight
    November 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Yup Julie. L. its unbelievable how insidious language politics is in this country!

  11. It is mind boggling how this language battle BS seems to infect so many stories and threads both here and at the CSF. Is there something in the local water besides fluoride?

  12. good job with this article cfn. its more enjoyable to read this type of news on the computer versus print newspaper. the new bishop has a beautiful smile

  13. How can it not turn into a language issue, did you see the design within the cross of their website? The Scotsman in 1789 who started this group would not be happy.

    Of course, I wish only the best and hope faith can deliver us, in all honesty.

  14. Why put political symbols on the crucifix? As I’m shaking my head in confusion I’m trying to wrap my mind around this.. I just don’t get it..why isolate yourselves?

  15. Church getting more brazen

  16. Why were my comments not posted (2)-there were not rude in any form,and didn’t violate any terms?

    Do we see the Union Jack on the cross as part of the English catholic congregation?no and should’t be.

    Once again having the fleur de lis on the cross in Alexandria website only asserts that politics of language are at play ,and surely this would be a political statement .

    Church and state should be separate and this fleur de cross is affirmation that both politics and religion are at play.

  17. @ Highlander. The fleur-de-lis is an ancient symbol going back at least a thousand years. Are you seriously gonna get your shorts in a knot about this too?

  18. Church no longer has any business in politics,haven’t enough people left over other matters wrong in the church

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