ROME, ITALY February 18, 2012 – At the request of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, Cheryl Gallant, Member of Parliament for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, as a member of Canadian Delegation, attended the ceremony for the elevation of Archbishop Thomas C. Collins to the College of Cardinals in Rome. The ceremony was held at St. Peter’s Basilica, in the Holy See, on February 18, 2012.
Cardinal-designate Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, was made Cardinal, along with 21 other top churchmen, by Pope Benedict XVI.
“It is an honour and privilege, on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the Pembroke Diocese, and all Canadians of the Roman Catholic faith across Canada, for me to warmly congratulate Cardinal Collins on this special occasion. I am humbled by the respect given to me by our Prime Minister Stephen Harper to be part of this historic event,” stated Cheryl Gallant, MP from Rome.
“Cardinal Collins is a most appropriate choice. His life-long commitment and dedication to our loving father assures Canadian Catholics of strong representation at the Vatican,” said MP Gallant. “My experience here at the Holy See to witness this event has strengthened my faith for greater hope in Canada.”
On May 6, 1898, Pope Leo XIII named Narcisse Z. Lorrain as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Pembroke. The Diocese includes all of the upper Ottawa Valley and an area that reaches as far north as Temiskaming, Bancroft to the west as well as the Pontiac in Quebec to the east.
At that time, the diocese contained 33 churches, 37 chapels, 4 convents, 3 hospitals, 24 parishes, 33 missions, 36 priests and a Catholic population of about 40,000. Today, there are over 57,000 Catholic faithful in the Pembroke Diocese.
Archbishop Collins is the fourth Cardinal in the 110 year history of the Church in Toronto and the 16th Canadian bishop to be named cardinal in the history of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada.