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Archbishop Emeritus Thomas Cardinal Collins


  • Date of Birth: Jan. 16, 1947
  • Ordination to the Diaconate: May 14, 1972
  • Ordination to the Priesthood: May 5, 1973
  • Ordination to the Episcopate: May 14, 1997
  • Born in Guelph, Ontario
  • Ordained to the Priesthood in Cathedral of Christ the King, Hamilton, Ontario, by Most Reverend Paul Reding
  • Ordained to the Episcopate in Cathedral of Christ the King, Hamilton, Ontario, by Most Reverend Anthony Tonnos
  • Installed as Bishop of Saint Paul, Alberta, June 30, 1997
  • Installed as Archbishop of Edmonton, Alberta, June 7, 1999
  • Apostolic Administrator of Saint Paul, Alberta, March 26, 2001 – November 9, 2001
  • Installed as Archbishop of Toronto, Ontario, January 30, 2007
  • Elevation to the College of Cardinals: February 18, 2012
  • Retired: March 25, 2023

Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, where his father was the circulation manager of the Guelph Mercury and his mother was a legal secretary. He is the only son and the youngest of three siblings. His childhood home was situated behind The Church of Our Lady, where he attended and served morning Mass.

Cardinal Collins considered being a teacher or a lawyer but was profoundly inspired by his Grade 11 English teacher, Father Newstead, at Bishop Macdonell Catholic High School, who knowing him, suggested that he should consider the priesthood. In 1969 he obtained a Bachelor of Arts (English) from St. Jerome College in Waterloo. In 1973 he obtained two degrees, a M.A. (English) from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Theology from St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ontario. That same year he was ordained to the priesthood on May 5, 1973 in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Hamilton, by Most Reverend Paul Reding.

While studying in Rome, specializing in sacred scripture and the Book of Revelation, he received his Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in 1978 and a Doctorate in Theology from the Gregorian University in 1986.

After holding various academic appointments, in 1997 he was appointed as Bishop of Saint Paul, Alberta. Two years later, he was named the Archbishop of Edmonton. In 2001, while in Edmonton he was named Apostolic Administrator of Saint Paul. In December 2006, he was appointed as the Archbishop of Toronto, and installed in January 2007.

In 2007 Cardinal Collins became a ex-officio member of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops Permanent Council, the Chancellor of the University of St. Michael's College and the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, in Toronto. He is the Chair of the Board of Governors of St. Augustine's Seminary, and the Chair of the Board of Directors of Redemptoris Mater Missionary Seminary, Catholic Charities and Catholic Cemeteries and is a Trustee of ShareLife's Advisory Board. In 2008, Cardinal Collins was elected President of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario.

During his time thus far in Toronto, Cardinal Collins has served the global church through his membership with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Congregation for Catholic Education and Commission of Cardinals for oversight of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR). He has participated in the Synod on the Eucharist, and the Synod on the Middle East, served as an Apostolic Visitor in Ireland and also as the Delegate of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for Anglicanorum Coetibus.

On January 6, 2012, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI announced the appointment of Cardinal Collins to the College of Cardinals. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals as Cardinal Priest of San Patrizio on February 18, 2012.


  • 1969 Bachelor of Arts (English), St. Jerome’s College, Waterloo, Ontario
  • 1973 Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.), St. Peter’s Seminary, London, Ontario
  • 1973 M.A. (English), University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario
  • 1978 Licentiate in Sacred Scripture (S.S.L), Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome
  • 1986 Doctorate in Theology (S.T.D.), Gregorian University, Rome
    Dissertation: Apocalypse 22:6-21 as the Focal Point of Moral Teaching and Exhortation in the Apocalypse, Director: Rev. Ugo Vanni, SJ.


  • 2007 Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa), University of St. Michael's College, Toronto
  • 20078 Doctor of Humane Letters, Niagara University, Niagara, NY


  • 1973 Associate Pastor, Holy Rosary Parish, Burlington, Ontario.
    Associate Pastor, Christ the King Cathedral, Hamilton, Ontario.
  • 1973 Teacher & Chaplain, Cathedral Boys’ High School, Hamilton, Ontario.
  • 1978 Lecturer, Department of English, King’s College, University of Western Ontario.
  • 1978 Lecturer in Scripture, St. Peter’s Seminary, London, Ontario.
  • 1981 Group Leader & Spiritual Director, St. Peter’s Seminary, London, Ontario.
  • 1985 Associate Professor of Scripture, St. Peter’s Seminary, London, Ontario.
  • 1989 Associate Editor, Discover the Bible.
  • 1992 Dean of Theology, St. Peter’s Seminary, London, Ontario.
    Vice-Rector, St. Peter’s Seminary, London, Ontario.
  • 1995 Rector of St. Peter’s Seminary, London, Ontario.
  • 1997-99 Bishop of St. Paul, Alberta.
  • 1997 Member of the National Commission of Theology, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).
  • 1999-01 Chairman of the National Commission of Theology, CCCB.
  • 1999-03 Member of CCCB Permanent Council.
  • 2000-02 Member of the Organizing Committee of WYD 2002 in Toronto, Canada.
  • 2001-03 Chairman of the National Commission on Christian Unity, CCCB.
  • 1999-07 President, Alberta Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  • 1999-07 Chairman, Newman Theological College Board of Governors, Edmonton.
  • 1999-07 Chairman, St. Joseph’s College Board of Governors, University of Alberta, Edm.
  • 1999-07 Member of Board of Directors, Caritas Health Group, Edmonton.
  • 1999-07 Member of Board of Directors, Alberta Catholic Health Corporation.Author of numerous publications, pastoral letters and reflections.
  • 2007- Member of Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops Permanent Council
  • 2007- Chancellor, University of St. Michael's College, University of Toronto
  • 2007- Chancellor, Pontifical Institute of Medieaval Studies, Toronto
  • 2007- Chair of the Board of Governors, St. Augustine's Seminary, Toronto
  • 2007- Chair of the Board of Directors, Redemptoris Mater Missionary Seminary, Toronto
  • 2007- Chairman, Board of Directors, Catholic Cemeteries - Archdiocese of Toronto
  • 2007- Trustee, Advisory Board, ShareLife, Toronto
  • 2007- Chairman, Board of Directors, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Toronto
  • 2008- President, Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario
  • 2008- Board Member, Catholic Near East Welfare Association
  • 2010- Member, Pontifical Council for Social Communications
  • 2010/2011- Apostolic Visitator, Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, Ireland
  • 2010- Member, Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, Rome
  • 2012- Member, Congregation for Catholic Education
  • 2014- Member, Commission of Cardinals for oversight of the Institute for the Works of Religion
  • 2014- Member, Executive Committee of the Governing Committee, International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC)


  1. “Thanks Be To God: The Bible and the Liturgy”, Canadian Catholic Review 11 (1993), 7-13.
  2. Review: T. F. Forestell, As Ministers of Christ: The Christological Dimension of Ministry in the New Testament, Canadian Catholic Review 11 (1993), 26-27.
  3. Review: O. Lukefahr, We Believe: A Survey of Catholic Faith, and D. Pilarczyk, Twelve Tough Issues: What the Catholic Church Teaches and Why, Canadian Catholic Review 10 (1992), 28-29.
  4. “An Instrument of God: Newman and Scripture”, Canadian Catholic Review 8 (1990), 368-377.
  5. “The Apocalypse: A Book of Hope”, Canadian Catholic Review (1989), 120.
  6. “Moral Guidance in the Apocalypse”, Emmanuel 95 (1989), 502-9.
  7. Scripture Column, Bread of Life Magazine, 1987-1989
  8. “The Old and the New” [Hebrews and James], “Peter and John”, “Come, Lord Jesus”, [Revelation], Journey, Guided Study Programs, volumes 38, 39, 40.
  9. The Eucharist: “It is the Lord!”: A Pastoral Letter, Edmonton, 2000.
  10. Reconciliation: “Go in Peace”: A Pastoral Letter, Edmonton, 2003
  11. Stewardship: “Well done, good and faithful servant”: A Pastoral Letter, Edmonton, 2004
  12. “Pathway to our Hearts:  A Simple Approach to Lectio Divina with the Sermon on  the Mount”, Ave Maria Press, 2011
  13. “Cornerstones of Faith:  Reconciliation, Eucharist and Stewardship”, Novalis, 2012
  14. cardinal collins COA

The motto "Deum Adora" (Worship God) is taken from Revelation 22:9. When St. John seeks to worship the angel who has shown him the great visions of the book, the angel rebukes him: "Worship God." It is God who claims our adoration and loyalty, in worship and in action. St. Thomas More expressed this when in his last words before martyrdom he said: "I die the king's good servant, but God's first." Our priorities in life must be clear and determined by our adoration of the Lord.

The shield with a gold cross on a red background is based on that of St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ont., where Cardinal Collins studied, lectured and was eventually Dean of Theology and Rector. The Alpha and Omega recall Revelation 22:13, where Jesus says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." The open Bible and the chalice represent the two great ways in which we experience Jesus in the Church, in Word and Sacrament.

The symbol above the coat of arms of a red galero (wide-brimmed hat) with 15 tassels on each side, is a widely-recognized indication of a cardinal, commemorating the tradition (prior to Second Vatican Council) of the Pope's presentation of a red tasseled galero to new cardinals.

The golden metropolitan cross behind the shield signifies Cardinal Collins' position overseeing an archdiocese (a metropolitan see).