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Schonenbach Peter

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A LA DOUCE MÉMOIRE DE Msgr. / Mgr Peter Schonenbach

On December 7th, 2023, Msgr. Peter Schonenbach passed away at the age of 86. A man of great faith and perseverance, he was born and died in withing the Ottawa diocese, and we honour him for his service as a priest and as a leader in our community.

Msgr. Schonenbach was born on May 4, 1937, to parents Franz Schonenbach and Helen Klaas. He attended the University of Ottawa as well as St. Paul University, obtaining a B.A. in political sciences, and both a B.A. and a master’s degree in theology. After his time at the University of Ottawa, he worked for the Government of Canada as chief of the program division at Historic Parks Canada.

Answering the Lord’s call, Msgr. Schonenbach was ordained to the priesthood on May 29, 1971, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish. He went on to greatly impact the Ottawa Catholic community, serving as pastor of the following parishes: St. Elizabeth (Ottawa), Holy Redeemer (Kanata, founding pastor), Annunciation of the Lord (Gloucester), St. Joseph d’Orléans, Notre-Dame-des-Champs (Navan). He was also Rector of the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa. Early on in his priesthood, he joined the diocesan staff family and held positions as the Director of Vocations (1973), the Diocesan Pastoral Coordinator (1975), the Episcopal Vicar (1989), and the Vicar General (1993). He also served with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) as General Secretary.

His reach extended beyond parish boundaries. He supported and was involved as a spiritual director with the Ottawa Cursillo Movement and was appointed the National Chaplain of the St Vincent de Paul Society. In 1989, he was appointed Prelate of Honour. From 1957 to 1967, he was active in Diocesan Scouting and appointed DCC (Gilwell) in 1966. He was president of the Christian Council of the Capital Area (1985-1993), member of the United Way Board of Directors (1975-1979), president of the Social Planning Council of Ottawa (1984-1987), and a member of the Board of the Community Foundation of Ottawa (1996 to 2004).

He is survived by his sister Hildegard Lalande (the late Aimé), nieces Louise Lalande (Phil Doyle and Nicole, Miriam and Laura), Katherine Fitzgerald (Shannon (Sam) and Cameron) and a nephew Richard Lalande (Christine and Alex and William).

Msgr Schonenbach will lie in state at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Ottawa on Wednesday, December 13th from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Condolences will be received by family on Thursday, December 14th beginning at 9:30am, with the funeral to be held at 11am at the Notre Dame Cathedral. Interment will be held at St. Joseph Cemetery, Orléans.

Please keep Msgr. Schonenbach and his family in your prayers.


Mgr Peter Schonenbach est décédé le 7 décembre 2023à l’âge de 86 ans. Il était un homme de grande foi et de persévérance. Né et décédé au sein du diocèse d’Ottawa, nous lui rendons hommage pour son service en tant que prêtre et leader dans notre communauté.

Mgr Schonenbach est né le 4 mai 1937 et était le fils de feu Franz Schonenbach et de feu Helen Klaas. Il a gradué de l’Université d’Ottawa, ainsi que l’Université St-Paul, obtenant un B.A. en sciences politique, ainsi qu’un B.A. et une maîtrise en théologie. Après son passage à l’Université d’Ottawa, il a travaillé au Gouvernement fédéral en tant que chef de la division des programmes à Parcs historiques Canada.

Répondant à l’appel du Seigneur, Mgr Schonenbach a été ordonné prêtre le 29 mai 1971 à la paroisse Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Il a ensuite eu un impact considérable au sur la communauté catholique d’Ottawa, en tant que curé des paroisses suivantes : St. Elizabeth (Ottawa), Holy Redeemer (Kanata, prêtre fondateur), Annunciation of The Lord (Gloucester), St-Joseph d’Orléans, Notre-Dame-des-Champs (Navan). Il a également été Recteur de la Basilique -Cathédrale Notre-Dame d’Ottawa. Il a aussi occupé les postes de directeur des vocations (1973), Coodonnateur pastoral diocésain (1975), vicaire épiscopal (1989) et vicaire général (1993). Il a également servi au sein de la Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada (CECC) en tant que secrétaire général.

Son service communautaire s’étend au-delà des frontières paroissiales. Il a soutenu et était impliqué en tant que directeur spirituel du mouvement Cursillo d’Ottawa et a été nommé aumônier national de la Société Saint-Vincent de Paul. De 1957 à 1967, il a été actif dans le scoutisme diocésain et a été nommé DCC (Gilwell) en 1966. Il a été président du conseil chrétien de la région de la capital nationale (1985-1993), membre du conseil d’administration de Centraide (1975-1979), président du conseil de planification sociale d’Ottawa (1984-1987) et membre du conseil d’administration de la Fondation communautaire d’Ottawa (1996-2004).

Il laisse une sœur, Hildegard Lalande (feu Aimé), deux nièces, Louise Lalande (Phil Doyle, Nicole, Miriam et Laura), Katherine Fitzgerald (Shannon (Sam) et Cameron) et un neveu, Richard Lalande (Christine, Alex et William).

Mgr Schonenbach reposera en chapelle ardente à la cathédrale Notre-Dame d’Ottawa de 15h à 17h et de 19h à 21h, le mercredi 13 décembre 2023 et de 9h30 à 11h, le jeudi 14 décembre 2023. Ses funérailles auront lieu à 11h, le jeudi 14 décembre 2023. Il sera inhumé au cimetière St-Joseph d’Orléans. 

Veuillez garder Mgr. Schonenbach et sa famille dans vos prières.

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Mon Sr will always be remembered for the time he served our Portuguese church. Sr Santo Cristo. We loved his sermons that were always touching and with expressions of life. May he rest in peace. He will be missed. Our condolences to his family and friends

Monseigneur Peter était un orateur hors pair; un homme d’une grande humanité, et la rumeur est qu’il était un
« chef cordon-bleu » accueillant et généreux.
Thank you for your short stay at St Joseph

Monsignor Schonenbach was a very holy and humble priest: somewhat shy but so kind and smart and funny too. He loved cooking and he related this cooking experience with parishioners in a homily. He was in charge of making the lasagna for a previous Knights of Columbus event. He was pretty proud of the beautiful lasagna but as he was taking it from the oven it fell on the floor. Oops! He scooped it up, put it all back in the pan, and returned it to the oven, It was a hit with the knights and one of his more memorable cooking experiences. Needless to say, we were all in stitches.

I attached a photo of Fr. Schonenbach with the Sunday AM choir. Twice he took the choir out for dinner to show his appreciation, He had a heart of gold! May his souls and all souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God Rest in Piece, Amen!

Msgr Schonenback with 9AM Choir Annunciation of the Lord Parish

Mgr Peter Schonenback was spiritual counsellor, devoted, supportive, with well defined convictions that always inspired his opinions and actions. I have known Mgr Peter as a member of Annunciation of the Lord and as tireless worker and guide to both the French and English communities. He gracious,y accepted every invitation to come speak to my students at Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School when I was one of the Department Heads there. He became a good friend of our family and it was a great delight to spend time with him. He will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace.
My deepest condolences to the family.

Thank you for your direction and leadership while you were at Senhor Santo Cristo Parish. I want to also thank you for your great stories.
You are missed. My sincere condolences to his family.

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