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Biographical notes

[Updated: 21.03.2012]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press.


TURCOTTE Card. Jean-Claude

© Gregorz Galazka



Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, Archbishop emeritus of Montreal (Canada), was born in Montreal close to the parish of St Marguerite Marie, on 26 June 1936.

He had a classical education at the André-Grasset school (1947-1955). He entered Montreal's Major Seminary, continued to study theology and obtained a diploma in theology. He was ordained priest on 24 May 1959 in the Church of St Vincent de Paul by Auxiliary Bishop Laurent Morin of Montreal.

He was first named vicar to the parish of St Mathias (1959-1961), and subsequently, diocesan assistant-chaplain for Christian working youth (1961-1964). He continued his studies in France at the Catholic faculties in Lille, studies which were rewarded by a diploma in social ministry (1964-1965). Returning to his own country, he was made diocesan chaplain of the JICF and the Movement of Christian workers (1965-1967).

From 1967-1974, he held various posts in the Office for Clergy: he was responsible for seminarians in the Diocese of Montreal, Secretary of the Commission des Traitements, and in charge of the studies and ongoing formation of the clergy. In 1974 he became director of the department for the parish's pastoral care. On 25 September 1981, Archbishop Paul Grégoire appointed him Vicar General of the Diocese, and general co-ordinator of the pastoral programmes.

On 14 April 1982, he was appointed titular Bishop of Suas by Pope John Paul II, and simultaneously, Auxiliary to the Archbishop of Montreal. He received his episcopal ordination from the hands of Archbishop Paul Grégoire on 29 June 1982.

He was delegate of the Bishops of Quebec to the provincial Government at the time of the Holy Father's visit in September 1984. He was also responsible for co-ordinating the visit in the Diocese of Montreal.

On 17 March 1990, Pope John Paul II named Bishop Jean-Claude Turcotte Archbishop of Montreal.

In August 1993, the Eighth World Youth Day was held in Denver. Archbishop Turcotte was invited to give a catechesis to the French-speaking youth on this occasion, on the theme: 'For me, proclaiming the Gospel is not a reason for glory, but a duty'. Invited by Pope John Paul II, he took part in the Synod on 'The consecrated life and its role in the Church and in the world', which was held in Rome in October 1994 and in the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of 1997, in which he was President of the Commission for the message.

President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1997 to 2000.

Archbishop emeritus of Montreal , 20 March 2012.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by the Bl. John Paul II in the Consistory of 26 November 1994, of the Title of Nostra Signora del SS. Sacramento e Santi Martiri Canadesi (Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Canadian Martyrs).

Member of:

  • Congregations: for the Causes of Saints; Evangelization of Peoples;

  • Special Council for America of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

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