Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall
The Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall includes the two most eastern counties in the province of Ontario: Stormont and Glengarry. The Diocese is bordered by the St. Lawrence River to the south and the Province of Quebec to the east. The Diocese serves a Catholic population of more than 56,000 led by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Marcel Damphousse.
The Diocese, which is divided into English and French deaneries, has a total of 27 parishes: 15 English, 6 bilingual and 6 French.
History of the Diocese
During the 1780s, Catholic Scotsmen and their priests settled in the counties of Stormont and Glengarry. The first parishes to be established were Saint Andrew in the county of Stormont, and Saint Raphael in the county of Glengarry. In 1802, Pierre Denaut, Bishop of Quebec, granted canonical status to both of these parishes.
The Reverend Alexander Macdonell, who was appointed the third pastor of Saint Raphael in January 1805, became Vicar General for the Bishop of Quebec in 1807. He was put in charge of all the pastoral activities for Upper Canada. With residence in Saint Raphael and with the same responsibilities, he became the Auxiliary Bishop for Bishop Plessis in 1819. On January 27, 1826, he was appointed the first Bishop of Kingston, although he did not leave Saint Raphael until 1829.
The Diocese of Alexandria was established on January 23, 1890.
On September 17, 1976, Bishop Eugène LaRocque was granted permission by the Sacred Congregation for Bishops to affix the name Cornwall to Alexandria and to have a co-cathedral in Cornwall. Saint Finnan's Cathedral is located in Alexandria and the Cocathédrale de la Nativité is located in Cornwall.
Bishops of the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall
- Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, SJ, Apostolic Administrator
- Most Rev. Marcel Damphousse (2012 to 2015)
- Most Rev. Paul-André Durocher (2002 - 2011)
- Most Rev. Eugène LaRocque (1974-2002)
- Most Rev. Adolphe Proulx (1967-1974)
- Most Rev. Joseph-Aurèle Plourde (Aux.) (1964-1967)
- Most Rev. Jacques Landriault (Aux.) (1962-1964)
- Most Rev. Rosario Brodeur (1941-1966)
- Most Rev. Félix Couturier, O.P. (1921-1941)
- Rt. Rev. William S. Macdonell (1906-1920)
- Rt. Rev. Alexander Macdonell (1890-1905)
Significant Dates in Our History
Catholic Scotsmen, with their priests, settle in the area that becomes the parishes of St. Andrew’s in Stormont county and of St. Raphael’s in Glengarry county.
Upper Canada becomes the Diocese of Kingston and Reverend Alexander Macdonell, third pastor of St. Raphael’s, is appointed its first Bishop of Kingston on January 27. His residence remains in St. Raphael until 1829.
The Diocese of Alexandria is established on January 23 and comprises Stormont and Glengarry counties. The Diocese remains part of the ecclesiastical province of Kingston. Reverend Alexander Macdonell, named for the first bishop of Upper Canada, is chosen as the new Diocese’s first bishop.
Bishop William Macdonell establishes the parish of Sacré-Coeur to serve the French speaking population of Alexandria. He blesses the corner stone on April 10, 1910.
Following the death of the Diocese’s second bishop, William Macdonell, the French born, British raised Felix Couturier, becomes the Diocese’s third bishop. He oversees the Diocese through both the Great Depression and the first few years of WWII.
Rosario Brodeur, is named the Diocese’s fourth bishop. During his episcopate, many churches are built and the number of vocations rise.
1963 – 1965
Bishop Brodeur attends the four sessions of Vatican II.
The Diocese’s fifth bishop, Adolphe Proulx, oversees the preparation and carrying out of the 1972 Diocesan Synod whose purpose was to implement the recommendations of Vatican II. There were five hundred participants.
On September 17, Eugène LaRocque, the Diocese’s sixth bishop, was granted permission by the Sacred Congregation for Bishops to affix the name Cornwall to Alexandria and to have Nativité has a co-cathedral.
The Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall celebrates its 100th anniversary.
The Diocese welcomes its 7th bishop, Paul-André Durocher. During his episcopate, Bishop Paul-André must deal with a number of turbulent issues including the abuse scandals and the closing of several parishes.
Under the guidance of 8th Bishop, Marcel Damphousse, the Diocese celebrates its 125th anniversary as it sets its sights on the future.
Diocesan Coat of Arms
The Diocesan Coat of Arms shows in the first quadrant the Cross of Iona on a thistle-mauve
background to represent the founders of the Diocese, Catholic Scottish Highlanders.
The fleur de lis on the azure background with the initials SJB (Saint John the Baptist) represents the French Canadian sector of the Diocese.
The eagle feather represents the Mohawk First Nation which is situated within the Diocese.
The wavy line represents the St. Lawrence river, the first highway of colonization and symbolizes the waters of Baptism into Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.
The dwelling and the superimposed hearts is an adaptation of the United Nations’ symbol for the Year of the Family (1994) and represents the Diocesan Family under the patronage of the Immaculate Heart of Mary which leads us to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
- Mauve, 1st quadrant, with Cross of Iona, stone-grey;
- azur 2nd quadrant with SJB superposed and fleur de lis au naturel;
- the two separated by an eagle feather;
- a broken wavy line, azur and au naturel; lower segment au naturel with green lines, Alpha and Omega in gold;
- in red a double heart within a dwelling with a small cross in gold;
- surmounted by a white and gold mitre.