Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Archbishop Emeritus

Most Reverend
Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Archbishop Emeritus

Archbishop Prendergast was born on February 19, 1944, in Montréal. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Fordham University in New York, followed by a Master of Divinity, a Licentiate in Theology and a Doctorate in Sacred Scripture from Regis College, the Jesuit Faculty of Theology at the University of Toronto. He entered the Jesuit Novitiate in 1961, was ordained Priest on June 10, 1972, and Bishop on April 25, 1995.


From 1967 to 1995, Father Prendergast taught classical languages at Loyola High School in Montreal (1967-69) and was Professor of New Testament at the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax (1975-81) and Regis College in Toronto (1981-87, 1989-94). From 1981 to 1987, he served as Rector of Regis College, in Toronto, and as its Dean of Theology from 1991 to 1995. From 1988 to 1989, he lectured as the Daniel Hannin Visiting Jesuit Professor at Campion College at the University of Regina, and, from 1994 to 1995, as Visiting Professor at l’École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem.


On February 22, 1995, Pope John Paul II appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Toronto with his Ordination taking place on April 25, 1995. On June 30, 1998, the Holy Father transferred him to serve as Archbishop of Halifax and on January 24, 2002, named him Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Yarmouth. On May 14, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI named him Archbishop of Ottawa and, on April 27, 2018, appointed him as Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall, uniting the two dioceses “in persona episcopi,” that is, in the person of the Bishop. On May 6, 2020, Pope Francis named him the first Archbishop of the newly created Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall. On November 29, 2020, he became Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Hearst-Moosonee, shortly before the Holy Father Francis accepted his resignation as Archbishop in Ottawa on December 4, 2020.


Among other responsibilities, Archbishop Prendergast served the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops as a Priest resource person at the Synod of Bishops on Priestly Formation in Rome, in 1990, and as a Bishop delegate at the 2008 Synod of Bishops on the Word of God. From 1995 to 2000, he served as a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue, and as its Co-Chair from 1995 to 1997. From 2005 to 2017, on behalf of the Holy See, Archbishop Prendergast was the Canadian member of the Vox Clara Committee of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. From 2003 to 2010, he was Pontifical Commissioner for the Fils de Marie (Quebec) and from 2010 to 2012, he served as Apostolic Visitor to the Archdiocese of Tuam and its suffragan sees in Ireland. In retirement, Archbishop Prendergast lives in the Ogilvie Jesuit Community of Ottawa and devotes himself to pastoral and spiritual ministries.

Coat of Arms

Heraldry speaks of two sides of a shield – dexter and sinister – which are right and left sides; these are reversed for the observer. The sinister, or left, side of the shield (right for the observer), makes reference to the Archbishop’s family and religious community:  “Azure a Sun in its splendor Or charged with a monogram of the Holy Name Sable” (a golden sun inscribed with the first three Greek letters of the name of Jesus in black, all on a blue background). These, along with the motto, represent the bishop’s ties to the Society of Jesus or Jesuit Order. 


“Between a Shamrock slipped and a Rose in chief and a Fleur-de-lis in base all Argent” (on the upper level are a shamrock with stem attached and a rose, while on the lower level there is a lily – all these in silver).  The shamrock and the rose represent the Archbishop’s forebears in Ireland and England, and the fleur-de-lis, his upbringing in Montréal, Quebec. The fleur-de-lis and the colour blue also represent the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Society of Jesus.


The right side of the shield (left for the observer) blends the double-barred cross from the coat of arms of the Archdiocese of Halifax, chosen by Archbishop Prendergast during his episcopate there (the flowering cross, like the blazing sun represents the power of Christ’s resurrection to transform human experiences into a share in Jesus’ glorification), with a new element, the wavy blue Y-shape representing the three great rivers of the National Capital Region: the Ottawa, the Rideau and the Gatineau. The presence of the Cross above nature suggests the healing of Christ that touches not only people’s lives but all of creation.


The motto, “In nomine Jesu” (in English: “At the name of Jesus”), is taken from St. Paul’s hymn to the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ, in the Epistle to the Philippians (2:10). Besides expressing the desire that his ministry be in the name and manner of Jesus, it expresses Archbishop Prendergast’s goal to praise and to give glory to God, echoing the Jesuit motto “Ad majorem Dei gloriam” (“to the greater glory of God”).


The achievement is completed by a reference to the pallium, a liturgical vestment represented by the three black crosses on wool, conferred on Metropolitan Archbishops by the Pope, successor of Peter, as a symbol of the sharing of his universal jurisdiction. The broad rimmed galero hat and the double-barred cross are also emblems of Metropolitan Archbishops.

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