Bishop Crosby leaving for ministry in Ontario

Gary Kean
Published on September 24, 2010
Bishop Douglas Crosby, seen here outside Sacred Heart Church in Corner Brook, will be installed as bishop of the Hamilton diocese in early November.
Gary Kean

CORNER BROOK Bishop Douglas Crosby has been given a new appointment in Ontario and will be leaving western Newfoundland in early November.

Crosby, who served as bishop for what is now known as the Corner Brook and Labrador diocese of the Roman Catholic Church for seven years, will remain in the area as the diocese’s administrator until his departure.

He will be installed as bishop of the Hamilton diocese on Nov. 8.

While the dates are not yet firm, Crosby anticipates he will be leaving Corner Brook for one final visit to Labrador around Nov. 4 and will depart from Labrador for the Hamilton area around Nov. 6.

Crosby succeeds Bishop Anthony F. Tonnos, who has reached the mandatory retirement age for bishops, which is 75.

The move marks a big change for Crosby, who goes from a diocese containing about 40,000 Catholics to one that has more Catholics than the entire population of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Hamilton diocese has an estimated 560,000 Catholics.

“It’s going to be a very challenging job,” Crosby said Friday afternoon. “It is a huge diocese compared to the diocese of Corner Brook, but you do have a little bit more support in terms of personnel to do the work.

“I think it’s going to be harder just to get to know the people of the diocese because there are so many of them. We will have to work on it slowly.”

The Corner Brook and Labrador diocese had its own challenges, including the geography of western Newfoundland and all of Labrador. Formerly known as the St. George’s diocese, it was under Crosby that the diocese was re-organized to include the Labrador region.

He was also bishop of the diocese during the difficult process of reaching a settlement to compensate victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests, overseeing the sale of many church properties to help pay those victims.

“Everything is a work in progress because there are lots of things we haven’t accomplished as you would like to have ... I am glad we did get a lot of work done,” he said.

Crosby, 61, will be leaving next week for a retreat at a shrine in Cap de la Madeline near Trois Rivieres, Que. Priests about to make a significant change in their life are recommended to do so by the Vatican, which notified Crosby of his new appointment about 10 days ago.

He is not sure when a new bishop will be appointed to the Corner Brook and Labrador diocese, adding that could happen quickly or could take up to a year. When he leaves, an administrator will be appointed to oversee the diocese until a new bishop is named.

In the interim before Crosby was appointed in 2003, Msgr. Edwin Gale of Holy Redeemer Parish in Corner Brook served as administrator.

Vital Statistics

* Born in Marathon, Ont., on June 28, 1949

* Ordained at the Holy Canadian Martyrs’ Parish in Ottawa on Sept. 27, 1975

* General secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) from 1996 to 1997

* Ordained as a bishop and installed as bishop of Labrador City-Schefferville diocese in 1998

* Named Bishop of St. George’s in 2003 and of the newly formed Corner Brook and Labrador diocese in 2007

* Currently co-treasurer of the CCCB

* Member of the CCCB’s English Sector Commission for Liturgy and the Sacraments

Source: Archdiocese of Toronto