Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto

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Archdiocese of Toronto
Archidioecesis Torontinus
Coat of Arms of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto (Current).svg
The Coat of Arms of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto
Country Canada
Territory Southern Ontario, Georgian Bay
Ecclesiastical province Archdiocese of Toronto
Metropolitan Toronto, Ontario
Area 13,000 km2 (5,000 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2010[1])
1,853,582 (34%)
Parishes 225
Schools 594
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established December 17, 1841
Cathedral St. Michael's Cathedral
Patron saint St. Michael
Secular priests 416
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins
Auxiliary Bishops John Anthony Boissoneau,
Vincent Nguyen,
Wayne Joseph Kirkpatrick

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto (Latin: Archidioecesis Torontinus) is a Roman Catholic archdiocese that includes part of the Province of Ontario. Its archbishop is also the eccesiatical provincial for the dioceses of Hamilton, London, Saint Catharines, and Thunder Bay. The Archbishop is Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins (made Cardinal on February 18, 2012), with auxiliary bishops John Anthony Boissonneau, William McGrattan, Vincent Nguyen, and Wayne Kirkpatrick. Former Auxiliary Bishop Peter Joseph Hundt was named Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador, Newfoundland, by Pope Benedict XVI, on Tuesday, March 1, 2011. On Friday, May 18, 2012, the Pope appointed Monsignor Wayne Kirkpatrick, of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint Catharines, until then Chairman of the Canadian Canon Law Society, as an Auxiliary Bishop-elect of the Archdiocese and Titular Bishop of Aradi.[2]

Mass is celebrated within the Archdiocese of Toronto in 36 ethnic and linguistic communities every week making the Archdiocese one of the most ethnically diverse Catholic dioceses in the world.

Overall the Archdiocese of Toronto is the largest in Canada.


The diocese was created on December 17, 1841 out of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kingston and covered the western half of Upper Canada. Bishop Michael Power was appointed as the first Bishop. For a complete history, see the Archdiocese History website.

In the 1840s the major challenge was the huge unexpected influx of very poor immigrants, mostly Irish escaping the Great Famine. The fear was that Protestants might use their material needs as a wedge for evangelization. In response the Church built a network of charitable institutions such as hospitals, schools, boarding homes, and orphanages, to meet the need and keep people inside the faith.[3] The church was less successful in dealing with tensions between the French and the Irish Catholic clergy; eventually the Irish took control.[4]

Irish Catholics arriving in Toronto faced widespread intolerance and severe discrimination, both social and legislative, leading to several large scale riots between Catholics and Protestants from 1858–1878, culminating in the Jubilee Riots of 1875. The Irish population essentially defined the Catholic population in Toronto until 1890, when German and French Catholics were welcomed to the city by the Irish, but the Irish proportion still remained 90% of the Catholic population. However, various powerful initiatives such as the foundation of St. Michael's College in 1852 (where Marshall McLuhan was to hold the chair of English until his death in 1980), three hospitals, and the most significant charitable organizations in the city (the Society of St. Vincent de Paul) and House of Providence created by Irish Catholic groups strengthened the Irish identity, transforming the Irish presence in the city into one of influence and power.

McGowan argues that between 1890 and 1920, the city's Catholics experienced major social, ideological, and economic changes that allowed them to integrate into Toronto society and shake off their second-class status. The Irish Catholics (in contrast to the French) strongly supported Canada's role in the First World War. They broke out of the ghetto and lived in all of Toronto's neighbourhoods. Starting as unskilled labourers, they used high levels of education to move up and were well represented among the lower middle class. Most dramatically, they intermarried with Protestants at an unprecedented rate.[5]

It was raised from a diocese to an archdiocese in 1898, which created the ecclesiastical province of Toronto, which included the suffragan dioceses of Hamilton, London, Saint Catharines, and Thunder Bay.[6]

As of 2010, the archdiocese contains 225 parishes, 416 active diocesan priests, 419 religious priests, and 1,853,582 Catholics. It also has 573 Women Religious, 66 Religious Brothers, and 120 permanent deacons.


The Archdiocese covers a geographic region of the Great Lakes area, which stretches from the shores of Lake Ontario north to Georgian Bay. In total, the area covers some 13,000 square kilometers, including intensely urban and suburban regions and also small cities, towns and rural areas.

The Archdiocese includes the City of Toronto, the most populous metropolis in the country and the growing regional municipalities of Peel, York and Durham that surround the City. As the regional municipalities expand, the northern section of the Archdiocese, Simcoe County, is also experiencing notable suburban growth.

The Archdiocese is divided into four pastoral regions comprising 14 pastoral zones. The four pastoral regions that divide the Archdiocese are the Central, Northern, Eastern and Western Regions, which are each usually under the pastoral care of an Auxiliary Bishop. The zones are made up of parishes within a geographical boundary.

Diocesan and other Bishops[edit]

Auxiliary Bishops

Bishop Emeritus


St. Michael's Cathedral at Sunset. The Cathedral church of the Archdiocese of Toronto was dedicated on September 29, 1845.
See also List of Roman Catholic churches in Toronto

For a full list of churches in the Diocese, check the Parishes page.




  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Murray Nicholson, "The Growth of Roman Catholic Institutions in the Archdiocese of Toronto, 1841-90," in Terrence Murphy and Gerald Stortz, eds, Creed and Culture: The Place of English-Speaking Catholics in Canadian Society, 1750 – 1930 (1993) pp 152-170
  4. ^ Paula Maurutto, Governing Charities: Church and State in Toronto: Catholic Archdiocese, 1850-1950 (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2001)
  5. ^ Mark G. McGowan, The Waning of the Green: Catholics, the Irish, and Identity in Toronto, 1887-1922 (1999)
  6. ^ Laverdure, Paul (1993). "The first vice-province of Toronto, 1898-1901". Spicilegium Historicum (Rome: Institutum Historicum Congregationis SSmi Redemptoris) 41 (2): 241–275. 
  7. ^ a b "Pope Benedict XVI appoints two Auxiliary Bishops for the Archdiocese of Toronto". Archdiocese of Toronto Media Release. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°39′18″N 79°22′38″W / 43.6550°N 79.3771°W / 43.6550; -79.3771