Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast S.J.

Archbishop of Ottawa


A native of Montreal, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1972. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University, Master of Divinity and Doctor of Theology degrees from Toronto School of Theology and a Licentiate in Theology from Regis College.

Archbishop Prendergast taught in Halifax at Atlantic School of Theology from 1975-1981, then was Rector of Toronto's Regis College from 1981-87 and Dean of Theology from 1991-1994. In 1988-89, he lectured as Daniel Hannin Professor at Campion College, University of Regina. From 1992-1994, he served as Executive Secretary of the Vatican's Apostolic Visitation of Canadian seminaries (English sector). When nominated bishop in 1995, he was Catholic Biblical Association of America Visiting Professor at the Ecole Biblique, Jerusalem. Named Titular Bishop of Slebte and Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto on February 22, 1995, Archbishop Prendergast received episcopal ordination in St. Michael's Cathedral, Toronto, on April 25, 1995.

Appointed eleventh Archbishop of Halifax on June 30th, 1998, he was installed in St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica on September 14th that year. In January 2002, he became Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Yarmouth and in May 2003, was named Pontifical Commissioner for the Sons of Mary. He is the Canadian member of Vox Clara, an advisory commission to the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments on the English translation of the Roman Missal. In the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, he has served on its Permanent Council, been a member of the Commission for Relations with Associations of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Laity, co-chair of the national Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue, a director of the Catholic Office for Life and the Family, and is now serving a second time on the Theology Commission.


The shield is divided in two parts. On the viewers left, the coat of arms has been altered to blend the double-barred cross from the coat of arms of the Archdiocese of Halifax chosen by Archbishop Prendergast during his episcopate there (the flowering cross, like the blazing sun represents the power of Christ's resurrection to transform human experiences into a share in Jesus glorification) to add a new element which represents the three great rivers of the National Capital Region: the Ottawa, the Rideau and the Gatineau. The presence of the Cross above nature suggests the healing of Christ that touches not only people's lives but all of creation too.

The left side of the shield (right to the viewer) makes reference to the Archbishop's family and religious community: "Azure a Sun in its splendour Or charged with a monogram of the Holy Name Sable" (a golden sun inscribed with the first three Greek letters of the name of Jesus in black, all on a blue background). These, along with the motto, represent the bishops ties to the Society of Jesus or Jesuit Order. "Between a Shamrock slipped and a Rose in chief and a Fleur-de-lis in base all Argent" (on the upper level are a shamrock with stem attached and a rose, while on the lower level there is a lily - all these in silver). The shamrock and the rose represent the bishop's forebears in Ireland and England, and the fleur-de-lis his upbringing in Montreal, Quebec. The fleur-de-lis and the colour blue also represent the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Society of Jesus.

The motto, "In nomine Jesu" ("at the name of Jesus") is taken from St.Paul's hymn to the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ in the epistle to the Philippians (2:10. Besides expressing the desire that his ministry be in the name and manner of Jesus, it expresses its goal as the praise and glory of God, echoing the Jesuit motto ad majorem Dei gloriam ("to the greater glory of God").

The achievement is completed by a reference to the pallium, a liturgical vestment (represented by the three black crosses on wool) conferred on metropolitan archbishops, by the Pope who shares his universal jurisdiction in the Ottawa ecclesiastical province, including the dioceses of Hearst, Pembroke and Timmins.