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 Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton (Latin: Dioecesis Hamiltonensis) is a suffragan Latin bishopric in the ecclesiastical province of the Metropolitan Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, in Ontario, Canada.

The diocesan cathedral episcopal see is the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King, dedicated to Christ the King in 1933, in Hamilton, Ontario.
It also has a former Cathedral, St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, also in Hamilton and the Minor Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate, in Guelph, Ontario.


  • It was established on 29 February 1856 by Pope Pius IX as Diocese of Hamilton / Hamiltonen(sis) (Latin), on territory split off from the Archdiocese of Toronto, which became its Metropolitan.
  • On 1958.11.22 it lost territory to establish the Diocese of Saint Catharines.

Episcopal Ordinaries[edit]

  • John Farrell (1856.02.29 – death 28 September 1873), 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.
  • P. F. Crinnon (1874.02.03 – death November 25, 1882), 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.
  • James Joseph Carbery (1883.09.04 – death 17 December 1887 in Ireland), Dominican Order (O.P.) also born in Ireland, consecrated on November 11, 1883, and held an important diocesan synod.
  • T. J. Dowling, D.D.,first Canadian incumbent (1889.01.11 – death 1924.08.06), previously Bishop of Peterborough (Canada) (1886.12.14 – 1889.01.11). Since his May 1889 installment, 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.
  • John T. McNally (1924.08.12 – 1937.02.17), previously Bishop of Calgary (Canada) (1913.04.04 – 1924.08.12); later Metropolitan Archbishop of Halifax (Canada) (1937.02.17 – 1952.11.18).
  • Joseph F. Ryan (1937.08.16 – retired 1973.03.27), died 1990. During his time, there was much growth and expansion of churches and Catholic schools.
  • Paul F. Reding (1973.09.14 – death 1983.12.08) succeeding as previous Auxiliary Bishop of Hamilton (1966.07.02 – 1973.09.14) and Titular Bishop of Liberalia (1966.07.02 – 1973.09.14)
  • Anthony F. Tonnos (1984.05.02 – retired on November 8, 2010), succeeding as previous Auxiliary Bishop of Hamilton (1983.05.13 – 1984.05.02) and Titular Bishop of Nationa (1983.05.13 – 1984.05.02)
  • Bishop David Douglas Crosby, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (O.M.I.) (24 September 2010, effectively November 8, 2010 – ...), also Vice-President of Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (2013.09.25 – 2015.09.15), President of Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (2015.09.15 – ...); previously Bishop of the Bishop of Labrador City–Schefferville (Canada) (1997.10.24 – 2007.05.31), Bishop of Saint George’s (Canada) (2003.08.06 – 2007.05.31), Bishop of Corner Brook and Labrador (Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada) (2007.05.31 – 2010.09.24).

Bishop Anthony Tonnos, bishop of the diocese of Hamilton, served as bishop for a total of 27 years in the diocese. Retired auxiliary bishop Matthew Ustrzycki, still continues to be active in the diocese along with Bishop emeritis Tonnos. Former auxiliary bishop Gerard Bergie has been named bishop of St. Catharines, Ontario, in September 2010. A new auxiliary bishop of Hamilton has been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in the person of Fr. Daniel Miehm.

In 2013, Father Daniel Miehm was appointed auxiliary bishop. In early 2017, Bishop Miehm was named Bishop of the Diocese of Peterborough, leaving the Auxiliary position vacant in the Hamilton Diocese. [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]

Statistics and extent[edit]

As per 2014, it pastorally served 626,723 Catholics (28.5% of 2,201,155 total) on 16,824 km² in 124 parishes and 1 mission with 228 priests (137 diocesan, 91 religious), 35 deacons, 269 lay religious (102 brothers, 167 sisters) and 15 seminarians. [2]

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.


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]


Sources and external links[edit]

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