MOST REV. CHRISTIAN RIESBECK, CC, V.G.
Auxiliary Bishop of Ottawa
Motto: “Evangelii Gaudium”
Birth: February 7, 1970 Montréal, Québec
Ordination to Priesthood: October 12, 1996 (Companions of the Cross)
Ordination to Episcopate: March 19, 2014
Studies: Political Science (B. Soc. Sc.,1991) – University of Ottawa, Theology (S.T.B., M. Div., 1996) – St. Augustine Seminary, Toronto, Canon Law (JCL, 2010) Saint Paul University, Ottawa
1996 Associate Pastor, Our Lady of Lourdes, Kingston, ON
1997 Administrator, St. Jude Parish, Hawkesbury + Our Lady of Divine Love Parish, Pendleton, ON
1997-1999 Associate Pastor, St. Francis Xavier, Brockville, ON
1999-2008 Pastor, Queen of Peace Parish, Houston, TX
2011 Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Ottawa
Judge on the Ottawa Regional Tribunal
2012 Episcopal Vicar for Canonical Concerns
March 2014 Auxiliary Bishop of Ottawa
2014 Vicar General and Vicar for the National Language Parishes, Communities and Faithful
2016 CCCB Catholic/Evangelical EFC Dialogue
Consultor on CCCB Standing Committee for Canon Law
Chair of ACBO Priests' Commission
ACBO Liaison Bishop to Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services of Ontario
Coat of Arms
The arms are shown with the traditional heraldic attributes of a bishop: a green galero, or ecclesiastical hat, with six green tassels suspended from each side, and a gold processional cross. Bishop Riesbeck’s cross is in the form of a “cross-crosslet,” which symbolizes the spread of the Gospel to the four corners of the earth. It has also occasionally been referred to as a “German cross” and thus alludes to Bishop Riesbeck’s paternal German ancestry.
The dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit; the principal agent of the Church’s evangelizing activity. The host in the dove’s beak points to the importance of the Eucharist as the center of the Church’s life. Saint John Paul II wrote about the close relationship of the Holy Spirit and the Eucharist in his Encyclical Letter
Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003, no. 17: “Through our communion in his body and blood, Christ also grants us his Spirit. Saint Ephrem writes: ‘He called the bread his living body and he filled it with himself and his Spirit… He who eats it with faith, eats Fire and Spirit… Take and eat this, all of you, and eat with it the Holy Spirit. For it is truly my body and whoever eats it will have eternal life.’ The Church implores this divine Gift, the source of every other gift, in the Eucharistic epiclesis.”
The roses represent the flowers given to St. Juan Diego in his tilma by Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and Star of the New Evangelization, and they also commemorate Bishop Riesbeck’s ministry to a predominantly Hispanic parish in Houston, Texas for nine years as pastor.
The lilies are a symbol of St. Joseph, the patron saint of the universal Church, of Canada and of the Archdiocese of Ottawa, and on whose feast day Bishop Riesbeck was ordained a bishop. Along with the blue color, they also refer to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to the province of Quebec, Bishop Riesbeck’s birthplace.
The cross at the bottom, symbol of Christ crucified, the Power and Wisdom of God - its red colour symbolizing the blood of Jesus - is taken from the emblem of the Society of the Companions of the Cross, Bishop Riesbeck being the first member of the Society to be made a bishop.
The arching division line represents the Church’s presence throughout the world.
Evangelii Gaudium. This Latin phrase, meaning “The Joy of the Gospel,” is the title of the Apostolic Exhortation issued by Pope Francis shortly before Bishop Riesbeck was named to the episcopacy. Sharing the joy of the Gospel is the focal point of Bishop Riesbeck’s episcopal ministry.