Dominicans in Canada rejoiced as a member of the Dominican Family was officially installed as the new Archbishop of Toronto, the largest Catholic diocese of the country. On the morning of the Solemnity of the Annunciation, 25 March 2023, Most Rev. Francis (Frank) Leo was officially installed at the St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica, succeeding Cardinal Thomas Collins.
Born in Montreal on 30 June 1971, Archbishop Frank underwent formation to the priesthood at the Grand Séminaire de Montréal in 1990 and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Montreal on 14 December 1996. Since then, with his extensive academic formation, he served in various capacities in teaching and parochial ministry, seminary formation, tribunal ministry, the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See, General Secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), and Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia of the Archdiocese of Montreal.
Pope Francis named Abp. Frank in July 2022 as Titular Bishop of Tamada and Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal. He was ordained to the episcopacy in September of the same year. He was named the Archbishop of Toronto on 11 February 2023. In his homily during his installation, he recalled the powerful words that he received from a priest when he was an altar server about to enter the seminary: “There is nothing more beautiful than to give your youth to the Lord”. Echoing the same words to the young people of the Archdiocese, he appealed to them to not be afraid of the world and to give their lives in service of others: “Do not be afraid to dream big dreams and to want to transform the world. Do not be afraid to commit to Jesus and to his Gospel. Do not be afraid to love the Church, to be an integral part of her witnessing, and to live a life of heroic virtue. Do not be afraid to give your youth to the Lord.”
Abp. Frank joined the Dominican Third Order on 18 November 2007 at the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, while he was undergoing formation at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy. He eventually made profession in the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic on 11 May 2008 in the same convent of the Italian Dominicans. In what could be a fitting tribute to his Dominican link, Abp. Frank cited the motto of the Order of Preachers as expressed in the work of St. Thomas Aquinas: “since it is better to enlighten than to merely shine, so it is better to share with others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.” He underscored the importance of seeking to illumine persons and communities through the light of Christ that we carry within us. Accordingly, we who have received the gift of faith must not keep it hidden under a bushel; rather with humility, we ought to allow the Spirit in us to enlighten the lives of others.