Pope Francis names Bishop Frank Leo to lead Archdiocese of Toronto in Canada

Archbishop Frank Leo of Toronto Archbishop-designate Frank Leo of Toronto. | Archdiocese of Toronto

Pope Francis on Saturday appointed Bishop Francis (Frank) Leo to lead the Archdiocese of Toronto, Canada’s largest Catholic diocese.

Leo has been an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Montréal, Québec, since September 2022. He also served in various diplomatic posts for the Vatican from 2008-2012.

The archbishop-designate succeeds Cardinal Thomas Collins, who has led the Toronto Archdiocese since 2007. Pope Francis accepted the 76-year-old Collins’ resignation on Feb. 11 for reasons of age.

Leo, 51, will be installed as archbishop in a ceremony at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica. The date has not yet been announced.

The Metropolitan Archdiocese of Toronto covers the territory of the Greater Toronto Area, capital of the province of Ontario. It has 225 parishes, almost 400 priests, and close to 2 million Catholics.

“I thank Pope Francis for the confidence he has placed in me. This was a most unexpected appointment, yet I have learned throughout my priesthood and service to the Church that God’s special plans for us unfold in unexpected moments that lead to tremendous blessings,” Leo said.

Cardinal Collins said he offers his prayers, best wishes, and support to Leo in his new role.

“His knowledge of the Church, both in Canada and around the world, as well as his unfailing service over many years, demonstrates his commitment to serve joyfully and faithfully,” he said.

Leo is the son of two Italian immigrants. He was born in Montréal in 1971 and entered the city’s seminary in 1990.

He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Montréal on Dec. 14, 1996.

Leo served in parish assignments for 10 years, until accepting an invitation to enroll in the Vatican’s Rome academy for diplomatic training in 2006. For two years he studied canon law and philosophy.

He then served in the apostolic nunciature in Australia and in the Study Mission of the Holy See in Hong Kong before returning to Montréal in 2012.

In Canada, the priest was on the formation team of the Grand Séminaire de Montréal.

He was general secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) from 2015-2021.

From Feb. 1, 2022, Leo served as vicar general and moderator of the curia of the Archdiocese of Montréal, before being named an auxiliary bishop of the diocese five months later. He was consecrated a bishop on Sept. 12, 2022.

The archbishop-designate speaks English, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Among other degrees, Leo has a doctorate in systematic theology, with a specialization in Mariology, from the University of Dayton/International Marian Research Institute.

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