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IMRI Graduate to Archbishop

By Gloria Falcão Dodd

Appointed by Pope Francis on Feb. 11 — the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Leo selected March 25 — the solemnity of the Annunciation — for his installation as archbishop. The congregation of 1,200 by invitation only included about 300 priests and 60 bishops at the installation Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in Toronto. Those unable to attend the installation Mass will have the opportunity to meet Leo at four regional Masses in the Archdiocese of Toronto between April 11 and May 3.

Leo’s Marian devotion is expressed in his episcopal symbols. His mitre has an M for Mary. The curved top of his episcopal staff, or crosier, features Mary kneeling in prayer. His motto is the Blessed Virgin Mary’s final words in the Bible, from John 2:5: “Do whatever He tells you.” Leo’s coat of arms includes a seven-pointed silver star on a blue background to represent Our Lady as the Morning Star. 

Salt and Light Media’s video of the installation Mass starts with a 14-minute interview with Leo and provides helpful commentary that begins at minute 30. Leo’s homily beautifully highlighted the Blessed Virgin’s Fiat, or “Yes,” to God’s plan as the model for all. After the intercessions, Leo entrusted his new archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Leo earned his Licentiate of Sacred Theology in 2002 from IMRI with his thesis “The Virgin Mother in the Treatises of Fra Girolamo Savonarola” and a Doctorate of Sacred Theology in 2010 with his dissertation “The Virgin Mother in the Sermons of Fra Girolamo Savonarola.” A longtime member of the Mariological Society of America, he is a founding member and president of the Canadian Mariological Society.

Gloria Falcão Dodd is a research professor with the International Marian Research Institute at the University of Dayton and adjunct faculty in the Department of Religious Studies.

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