Diocese of London remembers John Sherlock, former Bishop and friend of Pope John Paul II
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story read that Sherlock’s brothers Philip and James were also priests, this has been corrected to Philip and William.
The Diocese of London says retired Bishop John Sherlock passed away on Monday at the age of 93.
A visitation will be held Thursday at St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica in downtown London from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Friday morning from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. A funeral mass will be held at the basilica at 11 a.m. Friday.
“Bishop Sherlock was a true pastor who was close to his priests and his people,” wrote current Bishop Rev. Ronald P. Fabbro.
“In his episcopal ministry over the past 45 years, he gave his life in service of our diocese and the wider Church in Canada. We will miss him, and we pray for him that he will rest in peace.”
Sherlock was bishop of the Diocese of London from 1978 to 2002.
He was born in Regina, Sask., on Jan. 20, 1926, and “grew up in Brantford, Ontario with his parents, two sisters, and five brothers,” according to the diocese. He entered St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto after high school and was ordained to the priesthood on June 3, 1950. Two of his brothers, Philip and William, were also ordained as priests.
Sherlock worked in parishes in Hamilton and Dundas before becoming pastor of St. Charles Garnier Parish in Hamilton and teaching sacred scripture at McMaster University and working with school and hospital boards.
In 1974, he was named auxiliary to London’s Bishop G. Emmett Carter and was “named the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of London and installed at St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica on August 21, 1978.”
Described as a “tireless and forward-thinking Bishop,” Sherlock “made important contributions in Catholic education, health care, social justice, pastoral care, and the implementation of changes resulting from the Second Vatican Council.”
Sherlock was elected president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1983 and was responsible for organizing the 1984 papal visit to Canada. Sherlock accompanied Pope Saint John Paul II during the cross-country visit and the two developed a lifelong friendship.
Sherlock also launched the PENTECOST 2000 capital campaign in 1989 which raised more than $21-million to provide a lasting endowment for St. Peter’s Seminary as well as funding to establish a Youth Ministry Office, Diocesan Refugee Office, Office of Liturgy, and Justice Office.
Sherlock retired in April 2002 but chose to stay in London and remain active by “teaching, conducting retreats and parish missions, helping at parishes on weekends, and participating in diocesan celebrations.” Up until late 2018, he continued to hear confessions and celebrate mass almost every Monday.
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