Catholic Community Mourns the Loss of Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic
Toronto (August 26, 2011). With great sadness, the Archdiocese announces that His Eminence, Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, retired Archbishop of Toronto, died earlier today, after a lengthy illness, at the age of 81. The late Cardinal was a priest for 56 years, bishop for 35 years and served as 9th Archbishop of Toronto from 1990 to 2006.
Aloysius Ambrozic was born in 1930 in Dobrova, Slovenia, the second of seven children. In May 1945, the entire family fled to Austria, living in several refugee camps, where the young Ambrozic completed his high school education. In September 1948, the family immigrated to Canada and settled near Markham, Ontario. Shortly afterwards, Aloysius Ambrozic entered St. Augustine’s Seminary, a spiritual home he would return to often as a student, professor, bishop, archbishop and cardinal.
After almost 21 years as a diocesan priest, Fr. Ambrozic was named an Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Toronto in 1976. Bishop Ambozic served alongside Archbishop Philip Pocock and Emmett Cardinal Carter, before his appointment as Archbishop of Toronto on March 17, 1990. In January 1998, Pope John Paul II nominated him as Cardinal, a position that resulted in his participation in the conclave of 2005 that elected Pope Benedict XVI.
Cardinal Ambrozic served on a number of Vatican committees related to immigration, culture, worship and the economy. He also hosted the largest gathering of Catholic youth in Canadian history, World Youth Day 2002, that culminated in the celebration of Mass by Pope John Paul II at Downsview Park for more than 750,000 pilgrims.
The Cardinal’s legacy is commemorated in several places throughout the GTA, including Cardinal Ambrozic Catholic Secondary School in Brampton as well as the Cardinal Ambrozic Houses of Providence, the long-term care facility in Scarborough, where the Cardinal spent his final months.
Archbishop Thomas Collins, the cardinal’s successor as Archbishop of Toronto, offered his condolences to the Ambrozic family and Catholics across the Archdiocese:
“Cardinal Ambrozic's tremendous contributions to the spiritual life of the faithful of our Archdiocese and the heritage of his wisdom, his knowledge, and his love of the priesthood will remain with us all.”
The Cardinal will lie in state at St. Michael’s Cathedral for a public viewing, dates and times to be determined. His funeral Mass will also take place at the Cathedral, the mother church of the Archdiocese.
An online tribute to Cardinal Ambrozic including photos, a complete biography and other relevant information can be found at: www.archtoronto.org.