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Bishop Mark O'Connell: 'I plan on being a happy bishop'


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Bishop Mark O'Connell has always felt fortunate that God called him to the priesthood.

"An altar server once asked me 'If you had another life to live, and you could be anything -- anything at all -- what would you be?,'" he recounted, smiling.

"I answered him, 'I would be a priest. That's what I would be. I am a priest, that is who I am, this is who God created'. I don't have any other identity," shrugged Bishop O'Connell, adding with a laugh, "That altar server was very confused."

"I've always been a happy priest -- I'm really lucky that way," Bishop O'Connell said.

Bishop Mark O'Connell was born June 25, 1964 in Toronto, Canada to American parents. The youngest of four children, he spent the first 12 years of his life in Toronto while his father, Thomas O'Connell worked as the university librarian at York University in Toronto.

"His job there was to build a library completely from scratch," Bishop O'Connell said. "There's a story that my father went into a small little bookstore in Toronto and quite literally bought every single book to begin what is now the Scott Library at York University."

While living in Toronto, the O'Connell family attended St. Gabriel Parish, run by the Passionist Fathers. It was at the parish school that Bishop O'Connell was first drawn to the priesthood.

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