Most Reverend Roger LaRade, O.F.A., Primate Archbishop
Most Reverend Roger LaRade, O.F.A. is Primate Archbishop of L’Église Catholique Eucharistique - Eucharistic Catholic Church (ECE-ECC). He is founding pastor of Beloved Disciple Eucharistic Catholic Church in Toronto, Canada. He is Founding Father of the Order of Franciscans of the Annunciation of the Infinite Love of God (Franciscans of the Annunciation). He holds degrees in Philosophy, Education, Theatre and Theology.
He entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1977 and was ordained a Roman Catholic (Jesuit) priest in 1986. He left the Jesuits in 1990. His decision to leave was based on two factors: taking a public position against the Church’s teaching on gay and lesbian lives and a desire to be in a committed relationship. He and his husband Mark met in 1991 and live in Toronto. After 12 years together, they were married in the summer of 2003 following Ontario’s recognition in law of same-sex marriages.
Archbishop LaRade was called back to ministry by the gay and lesbian couples who asked him to officiate at their commitment ceremonies and Holy Unions. He returned to active ministry as a priest in 2003. On June 11, 2005, then-Father Roger was called to the Episcopate to be chief shepherd of ECE-ECC; he was ordained and consecrated a bishop in Apostolic Succession on December 10, 2005 in Washington, D.C.
Archbishop LaRade has been featured on CITY-TV and VISION TV. His views on gays and the priesthood have been carried in the Toronto Star, and The Globe and Mail – Canada’s national newspaper – has published his comments on Catholicism and LGBTQ issues. In 2015 he participated at the invitation of Mariela Castro Espin in Cuba's Jornada Contra la Homofobia y Transfobia, blessing over one hundred same-sex couples.
Clergy of the ECE-ECC do not receive remuneration from the Church. Archbishop LaRade is in private practice as a Registered psychotherapist, Jungian Analyst, and Spiritual Director. In addition, he has held positions as a teacher, university chaplain, health educator and Manager of HIV-AIDS Support Services.
He is a member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, the International Association for Analytical Psychology, the Canadian Association of Psychodynamic Therapy, Spiritual Directors International, and the Ontario Association of Jungian Analysts. He was a Board member of the latter for nine years, six of which were as President. His work as an Analyst and Spiritual Director conforms to the ethical standards, codes and norms of these bodies.
Born of Acadian parents and heritage, Archbishop LaRade is fully bilingual in English and French. He is currently learning Spanish.
Reflecting on his ministry, Archbishop LaRade says, “My life as a Jesuit for thirteen years, and my priestly ministry since then, has given me experience and training which is helpful to others as they search to make sense of faith and spirituality. This search can be difficult because it is often based in the context of a negative experience within the church of their youth. My ministry is open to all. As an openly gay man prohibited as such from ministry within the Roman Catholic Church, I feel a special calling to assist others excluded by their church of origin who are searching for spiritual meaning. We desire to claim our rightful place in Christian life. The Eucharistic Catholic Church, given its origins in seeking justice and inclusive Catholic practice for lesbians and gays, and its affirming and respectful inclusion of all believers, provides a Catholic community which can nurture our spiritual yearning.”
Learn more about Archbishop LaRade’s Spiritual Direction approach http://www.curaanimarum.com/spiritual-direction.html
Coat of Arms of Archbishop LaRade, O.F.A.
In accordance with Church heraldic tradition, the Coat of Arms of the Primate is composed of:
- a shield with its charges (symbols) coming from family, geographic, religious and historical meanings and/or referring to the name of the Primate;
- a golden Patriarchal Cross, with two traversal bars, to represent the rank of the Primate as Archbishop, “impaled” (vertically) behind the shield;
- a ceremonial green hat (galero) with 30 (15 on each side) attached tassels, proper to primates and patriarchs, as shepherds of self-governing Churches;
- the primatial pallium, sign of the Primate's jurisdiction over the Church; and,
- a scroll with the motto, written generally in black, below everything.
Archbishop LaRade's shield is composed of three areas, representing God the Most Holy Trinity. These three sections are coloured white, red and blue, respectively, and are the colours found in the Acadian and French flags, representing his French Acadian heritage. Each third is religiously symbolic. By heraldic tradition, the arms of the Primate are joined (marshalled) to the arms of the ECE-ECC. This is seen in the main part of the shield, the top third, and represents the Eucharistic Body of Christ. On the right side (as seen by the viewer), the colour red and the chalice represent the Eucharistic Blood of Christ. On the left side, the colour blue is representative of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as is the star, symbolising Stella Maris, Mary, Star of the Sea, a symbol also found on the Acadian Flag. Thus, the Archbishop's Arms image the Most Holy Trinity, the Body and Blood of the Eucharistic Christ, and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Archbishop LaRade's episcopal motto, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), is retained from his Presbyteral Ordination. The Archbishop has always understood his vocation as having its source and foundation in this truth from the First Epistle of Saint John, the Beloved Disciple.