Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, Ontario

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This article is about the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, in Ontario, Canada. For other locations, see Diocese of Hamilton (disambiguation).
Diocese of Hamilton
Dioecesis Hamiltonensis
Coat of Arms Diocese of Hamilton, Ontario.jpg
Country Canada
Metropolitan Toronto
Area 16,824 km2 (6,496 sq mi)
- Catholics

620,518 (32.4%)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established February 29, 1856
Cathedral Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King
Patron saint Blessed Virgin Mary in the mystery of the Annunciation
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop The Most Reverend David Douglas Crosby, O.M.I.
Auxiliary Bishops The Most Reverend Daniel Miehm
Emeritus Bishops Bishop Anthony F. Tonnos
Bishop Matthew Ustrzycki Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus

The Diocese of Hamilton (Latin: Dioecesis Hamiltonensis) was established on February 29, 1856 by Pope Pius IX, as a division of the Archdiocese of Toronto. It remains a suffragan of that archdiocese. The Diocese of Hamilton comprises the counties and regions of Brant, Bruce, Grey, Halton, Waterloo, Wellington, Wentworth, as well as four Townships in the County of Dufferin, all located in Ontario. The Diocese of Hamilton had begun as a Catholic Mission in Upper Canada (Ontario).


There are 6 deaneries (Brant, Bruce-Grey, Halton, Hamilton, Waterloo and Wellington) which have 126 parishes in their geographical grouping. There are 7 Catholic school boards in the diocese, 1 Catholic university, and 3 university Catholic campus ministries. It has 142 secular and 98 religious priests ministering to 620,518 people in 126 parishes. The diocesan cathedral is the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King in Hamilton.


Cathedral of Christ the King (Hamilton). The Cathedral church of the Diocese of Hamilton was dedicated in 1933.

The first bishop of the diocese was the Right Rev. John Farrell, a native of Ireland, consecrated May 11, 1856. He introduced Catholic schools, built St. Mary's Cathedral, and helped to establish the academies of the Ladies of Loretto in Hamilton and Guelph. He also encouraged the founding of St. Jerome's College by the Fathers of the Resurrection, and confided the Owen Sound Missions to the Basilian Fathers. The CRC had been formed in 1836 in Paris. Many of its members were Polish emigrees who left their native country in a time of political turmoil.

Farrell died on September 26, 1873, and was succeeded by the Right Rev. P. F. Crinnon, also born in Ireland and consecrated April 19, 1873. He built St. Patrick's Church in Hamilton, Ontario, established the House of Providence, Dundas, and secured a site for Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Crinnon died on November 25, 1882 and was succeeded by the Right Rev. James Joseph Carbery. Bishop Carbery was consecrated on November 11, 1883, and held an important diocesan synod. He died in Ireland in December 1887.

The Rt. Rev. T. J. Dowling, D.D., Bishop of Peterborough, was installed Bishop of Hamilton in May 1889. Since then, 14 new parishes had been established, 28 priests ordained, and 22 new churches, schools and presbyteries erected. Catholic hospitals at Hamilton and Guelph, and the new House of Providence at Dundas were also established in his time.

During Dowling's time, there were 42 priests in the diocese of Canadian by birth. Four were from Ireland, four from the United States, four from France, three from Germany, two from Poland, and two from Italy. Candidates for the priesthood studied at St. Jerome's College in Berlin, Ontario (now called Kitchener, Ontario) and Grand Seminary in Montreal, Quebec. The diocese had nine parishes for German-speaking people and one Indian parish. There were also chapels for Poles and Italians.

From 1924 until 1937, Bishop John T. McNally guided the diocese. In mid-1937, Bishop Joseph F. Ryan took over the leadership of the diocese for 36 years. During this time, there was much growth and expansion of churches and Catholic schools. He retired in 1973 and was replaced by Bishop Paul F. Reding, who served as bishop for 10 years before his death in 1983. The current bishop is Bishop David Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., who had been Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador, Newfoundland, and who took over from Bishop Anthony F. Tonnos on November 8, 2010, after being designated Hamilton's bishop in September 2010. Crosby was consecrated a bishop in 1998 in Labrador City-Schefferville, Quebec, and appointed Bishop of Hamilton in 2010. Former auxiliary Bishop Gerard P. Bergie was appointed Bishop of St. Catharines in September 2010.

In 2013, Father Daniel Miehm was appointed auxiliary bishop.[1]

Catholic school history[edit]

There are 51 Catholic separate schools under the Sisters of St. Joseph in Hamilton, the Sisters of Loretto in Toronto, and the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Milwaukee. By 1889, they had 6000 pupils.

The Government of Canada accords Catholic schools the same rights as public schools at this time. The taxes paid by Catholics go to support Catholic schools only. Teachers, whether religious or lay, must be qualified to teach according to the same regulations as those governing public school teachers. Higher education of young women is provided by the academies of the Ladies of Loretto at Hamilton and Guelph.

St. Jerome's University is in the charge of the Resurrectionist Fathers. Connected with the college their American novitiate for candidates.[clarification needed]


There are 126 Parishes within the Diocese of Hamilton.

Number of Churches in Brackets

Current affairs[edit]

The Diocese of Hamilton celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2006, with the Most Reverend Bishop Anthony Tonnos celebrating mass at the seat of the diocese in that honour. Special signs, marks and posters were commissioned for many of the diocese's churches, schools and buildings.

See also[edit]



External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°15′49″N 79°53′29″W / 43.2635°N 79.8914°W / 43.2635; -79.8914