The Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto has a new archbishop.
Francis Leo who previously served as auxiliary bishop for six months, was appointed by Pope Francis to replace the retiring Cardinal Thomas Collins as leader of the diocese.
Leo, 51, was chosen by the pope during his visit to Canada in July of last year. He was officially installed at Saint Michael’s Cathedral Basilica on March 25. The cathedral is the main hub for the largest diocese in Canada, the Archdiocese of Toronto.
During the two- and half-hour ceremony, Leo addressed the congregation on topics such as reconciliation with Indigenous people, protecting minors from abuse and ways the church should “care for our common home.”
Leo thanked those living consecrated and religious lives. “The world needs priests because the world needs Christ,” he said.
The archbishop said for young Christians not to be afraid to “live a life of heroic virtue.” He warned against giving up when faced with anxiety.
Leo is the son of Italian immigrants and was ordained as a priest in 1996 in the Archdiocese of Montreal. His appointment was met with enthusiasm from the community, with more than 300 priests from across the region in attendance, according to Neil MacCarthy, the communications director for the diocese.
Rev. David Twaddle, the priest at St. Joseph the Worker’s Parish in north Oshawa says that he was moved by Leo’s ascension.
“The moment [Leo] ascended to take the chair and control of the diocese I was almost drawn to tears,” he said.
On the other hand, Rev. Michael Hughes, a priest at St. Gertrude’s parish in Oshawa, found Leo to be outgoing and personable and celebrated his installation as “a great start, great homily, and very encouraging.”