Most Rev. Wayne Kirkpatrick was appointed Bishop of Antigonish on December 18th, 2019 by His Holiness Pope Francis, and installed as the 10th Bishop of the Diocese of Antigonish on February 3rd, 2020. He was previously Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Toronto, Ontario where Bishop Kirkpatrick has overseen the care of the pastoral needs of the Northern Pastoral Region.
Bishop Kirkpatrick was born on June 5th, 1957 in St. Catharines, Ontario, the fourth of five children. He studied at the University of Waterloo, St. Jerome's College, earning a Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy), before entering St. Augustine's Seminary in 1980. He completed a Masters of Divinity and was ordained to the priesthood on September 1st, 1984. He received a Licentiate (Masters) in Canon Law in June 1990 from St. Paul University, Ottawa. He has also served as Episcopal Vicar for Religious institutes of men and women in the Archdiocese and Episcopal Vicar for the Francophone community. Since 2014, he has been the President of St. Augustine’s Seminary as well as a Member of the Toronto School of Theology Board of Trustees.
Coat of Arms designed by Rev. Canon D. G. Bowyer
About his Coat of Arms:
The external heraldic symbols of dignity for a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church are those assigned by the Special Instruction of Pope Paul VI on March 31st, 1969. These are a simple gold-coloured processional cross (placed behind the shield) and above it the bishop's green ecclesiastical hat with cords and twelve tassels, six per side, arranged in three rows also all coloured green.
The Celtic cross above and behind the shield calls to mind Bishop Kirkpatrick’s Irish heritage with his mother’s maiden name being Phelan and his surname Kirkpatrick, meaning Church of Patrick.
The main colours are red and blue from the shield of the Diocese of Saint Catharines in Ontario, red being the colour associated with divine love, compassion and sacrifice and blue the colour associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary. The blue also calls to mind the waters of baptism. Both the Celtic cross and the triangular shape symbolize a church with a steeple. The blue triangle is also reminiscent of Niagara Falls, the most notable geographical feature of the Diocese of St. Catharines where he has lived and exercised his priestly ministry.
Bishop Kirkpatrick is a canon lawyer and the upper part of the shield bears a traditional depiction of the Tablets of the Law or Ten Commandments. Grape vines are also a feature of the upper part of the shield and along with the wheat stalks in the lower part of the shield give us the elements of the Eucharist, bread and wine, a symbol of Jesus Christ who is the bread of life. Vineyards are also a notable feature of the Niagara area. The vines are a reference to John 15: 4-5, the source of the Bishop's motto: “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches.”
Given that one of Bishop Kirkpatrick’s baptismal names is Joseph the lower part of the shield bears a carpenter’s square, an emblem of St. Joseph the Worker. It is inscribed with the letters “J, M, J” signifying Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, but here also a reference to his parents, James and Margaret as well as his own middle name Joseph. His Episcopal ordination date is July 25th, the Feast of St. James the Apostle. Saint Mary of the Assumption, his home parish in St. Catharines from birth to ordination is symbolized by the lily, emblematic of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and here placed within the protective arms of St. Joseph's carpenter's square. Centrally placed is the broken wheel of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, the patroness of the diocese and cathedral that bear her name, places where the Bishop has lived and ministered. The wheel can also be seen as a reference to Bishop Kirkpatrick’s first baptismal name, Wayne, as a wainwright is a tradesperson who is skilled in the making and repairing of wagons, one who may also fix damaged wheels; a fitting emblem for pastoral ministry. The placing of the charges on the shield creates the effect or shape of a heart and to quote the Bishop, “The law of love is supreme”.