The Canadian Diocese of Sault Ste-Marie received a rare gift today from Pope Benedict XVI, not just one but two auxiliary bishops. The two bishops-elect are Father Noël Simard and Father Brian Dunn.
The appointment of the two priests as auxiliary bishops comes a little over a year after Bishop Robert Harris, the previous auxiliary of Sault Ste-Marie, was appointed to lead the Diocese of St. John in New Brunswick. The two bishops-elect will assist Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe in leading the faithful of the Diocese of Sault Ste-Marie.
Bishop-elect Noël Simard was born in St-Aimé des lacs, in the region of Charlevoix, Quebec, in 1947 and ordained to the priesthood in 1972.
After having worked in the education milieu, from 1972 to 1980, he studied at the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome, where he obtained a doctorate in theology in 1984. He then served as parish priest until 1988, when he started working as professor in religious studies and ethics at the University of Sudbury and later as professor of moral theology and bioethics at Saint Paul University, in Ottawa.
At the time of his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Sault Ste-Marie, he was the director of the Ethic Centre at Saint Paul University.
Bishop-Elect Brian Dunn was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 1955 and ordained to the priesthood in 1980.
He was then assigned to a number of parishes in the Diocese of Grand Falls until 1988, when he moved to Ottawa to complete his Doctoral studies at Saint Paul University. In 1991, he was assigned to parishes while working as Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor for the diocese of Grand Falls and teaching theology in the Maritimes. Since 2002, he has served on the faculty at St. Peter’s Seminary, in London, Ontario. Since 2005 and until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Sault Ste-Marie, he has served as Dean of Studies.
The Diocese of Sault Ste-Marie has 97 diocesan priests, 26 religious order priests, 101 permanent deacons, and 194 religious Brothers and Sisters serving a Catholic population of 206,405 in 106 parishes and missions, according to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.