Pope Francis accepted the renunciation of Bishop Robert Harris as Bishop of the Diocese of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, and on October 15, 2019, appointed his successor, Bishop Christian Riesbeck, CC At the time of his appointment, Bishop Riesbeck was Auxiliary Bishop to the Archdiocese of Ottawa. Bishop Harris has been bishop of the diocese of Saint John for the last 12 years. He submitted his renunciation to the Holy Father when he reached the age of 75, in accordance with the Code of Canon Law.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, on February 7, 1970, Bishop Riesbeck attended the University of Ottawa, where he obtained a Bachelor of Social Science in Political Science. He then obtained a Bachelor of Theology (STB) from Saint Paul University in Ottawa and a Master of Divinity from St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto. He was ordained a priest as a member of the Companions of the Cross on October 12, 1996. He practiced pastoral ministry from 1996 to 1999 in the archdioceses of Kingston and Ottawa. He was then parish priest at Queen of Peace parish from Houston, Texas, from 1999 to 2008. He completed further studies at Saint Paul University in Ottawa and obtained a Master’s and Licentiate degree in Canon Law in 2010. From 2011 to 2016, Bishop Riesbeck was Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Ottawa and later became Episcopal Vicar for Canonical Affairs in 2012. From 2012 to 2014, he was Associate Superior General of the Companions of the Cross. On January 7, 2014, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Ottawa and ordained bishop in Ottawa on March 19, 2014. After his episcopal ordination, he served as Vicar General and Delegate for National Parishes, communities and the faithful of the archdiocese. As a member of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB),
Bishop Harris was born in Montreal and served the Archdiocese of Montreal from 1969 to 2002 as parish priest, ecclesiastical lawyer and collegiate judge of the Montreal Regional Court, director of vocations, trainer at the Grand Seminary of Montreal, episcopal vicar to the English-speaking faithful, and director of the Office for English Pastoral Services. In 2002, he was named Monsignor by Pope John Paul II. Later that year, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie where he remained for five years until his appointment in 2007 as Bishop of Saint John.
As a member of the CCCB, Bishop Harris served on the former Social Communications Commission (English Sector) from 2003 to 2005, the former Program and Priorities Committee from 2005 to 2007, and the Permanent Council from 2005 to 2007, and to the former Anglican Ordinance Implementation Committee from 2010 to 2012. He was also the Chair of the former Canon Law Commission (2005-2008), the moderator of the Canadian Appeals Tribunal ( 2005-2011), and the bishop-promoter of the Apostleship of the Sea-Canada (2009-2014).
The Diocese of Saint John has 68 parishes and missions, with a Catholic population of 115,400 served by 52 diocesan priests, ten priests and 66 nuns who are members of institutes of consecrated life, two permanent deacons, and one staff member. pastoral lay.