TORONTO, ON August 26, 2011 – Statement from Philip Horgan, President of the Catholic Civil Rights League:
Members of the Catholic Civil Rights League were greatly saddened to learn of the death this morning of His Eminence Cardinal Ambrozic. He was a great inspiration to us, especially in the earlier days of the League when we valued his help in making us welcome in the archdiocese. Throughout his ministry he showed a strong interest in fairness for the Church in the public forum, and he was always very supportive of the League’s efforts in this regard.
Cardinal Ambrozic will be remembered for his leadership in making all newcomers to Canada and to the archdiocese feel welcome. His gifts as a scholar and teacher are also
valued aspects of his legacy.
It was my pleasure to have had numerous dealings with His Eminence. I particularly remember the warm welcome the then-Archbishop received from over 500 pilgrims from Toronto gathered at a private meeting in a local high school at the first North American World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado, in 1993. It was not terribly surprising to learn subsequently of his enthusiastic support to have Toronto host (now Blessed) Pope John Paul II for World Youth Day in Toronto in 2002, where upwards of one million young people gathered for what remains the largest-ever hosting of young people in this country.
Cardinal Ambrozic had tremendous responsibilities in heading an archdiocese with over 225 parishes, upwards of 900 priests, and hundreds more in religious life, as well as the Catholic population of the greater Toronto area. After his elevation to the College of Cardinals, his responsibilities grew, and he represented the Canadian Church on the international stage.
Despite all of these responsibilities, Cardinal Ambrozic had a warm side, and was known for his support for particular apostolates, including Birthright, an international pregnancy counselling service founded in Toronto by Louise Summerhill, to numerous immigration support causes.
He will be deeply missed.