Friday, 5 July 2019

Steps through Time

We have a new exhibit at the Catholic Pastoral Centre!

Since the Archdiocese of Toronto is one of the most ethnically diverse Catholic dioceses in the world, we wanted to take an opportunity to celebrate this fact.

Steps through Time takes the viewer on a visual tour through six properties in downtown Toronto, uncovering over nine different cultural communities represented in their histories.

Come see items from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, St. Patrick's Church, Catholic Settlement House, Felician Sisters Convent/Nursery, St. Stanislaus Church and St. Mary's Church.

We invite viewers to engage with these histories not only visually but physically, as well. Since all properties are still important and functioning fixtures of the Archdiocese of Toronto, we have a self-guided walking tour that goes along with the display.

Next time you're at 1155 Yonge Street, come up to the Archives Department on the 5th floor to take a look!

Friday, 28 June 2019

Happy Canada Day!

We’re all looking forward to celebrating Canada Day this weekend, and what better way to mark the occasion than a good meal with good friends.

Barbecues and parties are popular ways to celebrate any summer holiday, which could be problematic for Catholics if the occasion falls on a Friday. Canon Law states that abstinence from meat should be observed on Fridays throughout the year.

Such was the problem in 1927 when the country was gearing up to celebrate the Jubilee of Confederation. Luckily the Holy See granted Canadian Catholics a dispensation from abstinence for Canada Day, meaning they were free to eat, drink and be merry.
Holy See grants Canadian Catholics dispensation from abstinence for Friday July 1st . June 21, 1927

Between 40,000 and 50,000 people turned up in person to celebrate the jubilee on Parliament Hill. Celebrations included music, poetry readings and speeches, and broadcast across the country by the CBC. You can listen to part of the broadcast, and learn more about the1927 Jubilee occasion, here.

MN DS29.02

Archbishop McNeil Roman Correspondence Files

We don't have to worry about abstinence getting in the way of Canada Day this year, so get out there and celebrate!

Enjoy the long weekend! Happy Canada Day!

Friday, 21 June 2019

Celebrating Corpus Christi

Yesterday, June 20th, was the Feast of Corpus Christi. This day is a liturgical solemnity celebrating the presence of the body of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. At the end of Holy Mass, there is often a procession of the Holy Sacrament, generally displayed in a Monstrance.

This week, we are highlighting Corpus Christi Parish and sharing some materials we have on its history.

Photograph published in Construction Journal
April 1928

Parish Collection - Corpus Christi - Construction/Renovations

In early 1919, a group of residents in the Beaches neighborhood of Toronto came together and requested that a chapel or parish be built in order to serve the Catholics in the area. Archbishop Neil McNeil granted the request, and offered his Chancellor, Father Stanislaus McGrath, the opportunity to organize and lead the new parish.

Corpus Christi Pastoral Council Publication describing the establishment of the parish
Christmas 1971

Parish Collection - Corpus Christi - Publications

Thus, Corpus Christi Parish was established on March 21, 1920. While parishioners enjoyed mass at a temporary chapel, the official cornerstone for the new building was laid on June 6, 1926. Construction continued from 1926 to 1927. The new church was officially opened on May 1, 1927.

Corpus Christi was designed by J. Gibb Morton in the 12th Century Roman style. For its construction, Credit Valley stone was used for the exterior walls with an Indiana stone trim. Morton is also responsible for the drawing below:

Photograph of a pen, brush and ink drawing of the exterior of Corpus Christi Church
by J. Gibb Morton

Photograph Collection
PH 102/0008/16P

Photograph of the interior front of Corpus Christi Church

Photograph Collection
PH 102/0008/17P

In April 1928, Corpus Christi was featured in "Construction: A Journal for the Architectural, Engineering and Contracting Interests of Canada", revered for its design elements. Special attention was paid to its acoustic design:
"Mention should be made of the acoustical properties of the church which are based on the identical theory as that exercised by the monks when they built the Abbey of St. Benedict, and are quite perfect. Every word of the sermon and the voice of the celebrant in the liturgy of the mass is audible and distinctly heard in all parts of the nave and side aisles."
Front cover of Construction: Journal for the Architectural, Engineering and Contracting Interests of Canada
April 1928

Parish Collection - Corpus Christi - Construction/Renovations

Article featuring Corpus Christi Parish
April 1928

Parish Collection - Corpus Christi - Construction/Renovations

Fr. Stanislaus McGrath was handed Corpus Christi Parish in 1920, and served the congregation for 23 years until his death in 1943.

Excerpt from Corpus Christi Pastoral Council Publication
Christmas 1971

Parish Collection - Corpus Christi - Publications

Letter to Fr. McGrath
May 2, 1927

Dear Father McGrath
I am enclosing a small donation towards your church fund, with my best wishes,
I congratulate you and your worthy supporters in the erection of such a magnificent building as a place of worship.
It certainly is a great credit to you, and you must be very happy to have your untiring efforts crowned with such wonderful success.
I hope you may long be spared to minister to your people in this neighborhood.
I remain yours
Very sincerely
W. H. Lewis

Parish Collection - Corpus Christi - General Correspondence

This beautiful church has been serving the Beaches Catholic community for almost 100 years now.

An early parish newsletter
May 25, 1941

Parish Collection - Corpus Christi - Publications

An early parish newsletter
May 25, 1941

Parish Collection - Corpus Christi - Publications

If you're in the Beaches neighborhood this summer, check it out for yourself!

Friday, 14 June 2019

Devotion to the Sacred Heart

The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart; this year we celebrate its feast day on June 28. Evidence of devotion to the Sacred Heart began in medieval Europe, when Christ's wounded heart was seen as a sign of his divine love for humanity. After St. Margaret Mary Alacoque described apparitions of Jesus encouraging her to the devotion, its popularity began to spread and official approval increased. Bishop Power consecrated the Diocese of Toronto to the Sacred Heart in his first pastoral letter in 1842. In 1899, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the human race to the Sacred Heart in his encyclical Annum Sacrum, writing,
"And since there is in the Sacred Heart a symbol and a sensible image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love one another, therefore it is fit and proper that we should consecrate ourselves to His most Sacred Heart - an act which is nothing else than an offering and a binding of oneself to Jesus Christ, seeing that whatever honor, veneration and love is given to this divine Heart is really and truly given to Christ Himself." 
Today we are sharing a few items from the archives that instruct the faithful in their devotion to the Sacred Heart.

In his 1928 encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, Pope Pius XI discussed the concept of reparation. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us, yet we often repay him with sin. Through devotion to the Sacred Heart, we can begin to make amends.
"There is surely no doubting, Venerable Brethren, that from this devotion piously established and commanded to the whole Church, many excellent benefits will flow forth not only to individual men but also to society, sacred, civil, and domestic, seeing that our Redeemer Himself promised to Margaret Mary that "all those who rendered honor to His Heart would be endowed with an abundance of heavenly graces."     
The Reparation Due to the Sacred Heart: Encyclical of His Holiness Pope Pius XI.

The cover of this encyclical features of typical depiction of the Sacred Heart, flaming and topped by a cross. Other depictions show it pierced by an arrow or with a crown of thorns.

May 8, 1928

MN PS 110.01
Archbishop McNeil Fonds 

Another concept associated with the Sacred Heart is consecration. In this leaflet, Cardinal McGuigan sanctioned instructions for consecrating families to the Sacred Heart with the following prayer:
"O Jesus, Who didst make known to Saint Margaret Mary the desire of Thy Sacred Heart to reign over Christian homes, we wish to proclaim today Thy absolute dominion over our hearts and home. We desire henceforth to make our lives one with Thine, to keep ourselves free from that spirit of worldliness which Thou hast condemned, to practice those virtues which bring peace and happiness to Catholic homes. Vouchsafe to establish Thy reign over our lives. Enlighten our minds with a spirit of faith and Christian simplicity, fill our hearts with an ardent love for Thee, and through the Sacrament of Thy Love bring us day by day into closer union with Thy Sacred Heart. Grant, in virtue of this consecration to Thy Sacred Heart, that faith, charity, zeal in prayer, temperance, and domestic tranquility, may flourish in our home, and that each of us may shun the allurements of vice and whatever is foul and unwholesome in human life. 
"Deign, O Divine Heart, to preside over our home, to bless our enterprises both spiritual and temporal, to dispel our cares, to sanctify our joys, to lighten our trials and sorrows. If ever one or other of us should have the misfortune to offend Thee, remind him, O Heart of Jesus, that Thou art good and merciful to the penitent sinner. And, when the hour of separation strikes, when death comes to cast his shadow over our home, help us all, both those who go and those who stay, to accept with resignation Thy eternal decrees. Strengthen us in that hour of sorrow with the firm hope that all the members of our family may be united again in heaven to share in Thy glory and to sing Thy praises forever. 
"May the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the glorious Patriarch Saint Joseph present this consecration to Thee. Through it may our thoughts, our words, our deeds, be directed to Thy greater honor and glory all the days of our lives. Amen. All praise to the Heart of Jesus, our King and our Father!"
The Consecration of Families to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
""I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored" is one of the promises which Our Lord made to us through Saint Margaret Mary."


MG TA01.411
Cardinal McGuigan Fonds

In this 1873 letter which was read at all of the churches in the Archdiocese, Archbishop Lynch instructed the faithful in appropriate actions for devotion to the Sacred Heart such as the creation of confraternities, and pilgrimages. He wrote, 
"We call upon all true Christians, especially of our Diocese, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to heed the invitation, and conform themselves to the intentions of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1. To repent sincerely for all their past sins, and to confess them humbly, that they may receive pardon for them. 2. To make a return of love to this most Divine Heart by receiving Him in the most Blessed Eucharist, and to repair past ingratitude and coldness by frequently receiving our Divine Lord in this banquet of love. 3. To make amends by frequent adoration for the irreverence and contempt, with which He is treated in the Holy Sacrament, and that these acts may be permanent and continuous, we exhort them to join the Confraternity of the Sacred Heart for perpetual adoration."
Pastoral Letter of His Grace, the Archbishop of Toronto, on Devotion to the Sacred Heart

"The devotion to the most sacred Heart of Jesus is a devotion to our lord Jesus Christ Himself personally."


L AA11.20
Archbishop Lynch Fonds

"All hail to the Heart of Jesus, our King and Father!"

Friday, 7 June 2019

Disarrangement and Discovery in the Archives

Arrangement and description are crucial components to our work as archivists. We organize and maintain the order of the records and then describe their context and contents to make them accessible.

This means that you rarely find “hidden treasures” in an archives. Our goal is to have records arranged and described in such a way that anyone would be able to find an item. Nevertheless, there are instances where a collection wasn’t properly arranged or described, and we unearth items we didn’t know we had, or didn’t know would be so interesting. 

This happened not too long ago when we found this intriguing scrapbook for St. Ann’s Parish, Penetanguishene, in a not-so-obvious part of our collection.

Select pages from the St. Ann's parish scrapbook, showing correspondence, photographs, and  newsclippings

HO 53.16

ARCAT Special Collections

The scrapbook is made from a converted collection register, containing historical articles, newspaper clippings, correspondence (parish affairs, invitations), broad sheets and photographs pertaining to Catholic activity in Huronia into the 1920s.

Most records we have for parishes can typically be found in our Parish Collection. Files in our parish collection are arranged and described first according to the parish, and then according to functions and activities (parish history, publications, construction and renovation, etc.).

The scrapbook, however, is not part of the parish collection, and has been included as part of our holograph series in our Special Collections. The holograph series is a puzzling assortment of bound, handwritten volumes, including anything from account ledgers to journals. To make matters even more confusing, we also have an entirely separate scrapbook series as part of our special collections.

Maintaining the original order of records and following standards such as RAD help archivists avoid unclear organization in their collections. Sorting out the kinks in our special collections is going to take some time, but we look forward to seeing what else we uncover.

In the meantime, here are some more pages from the Penetanguishene scrapbook:

HO 53.16

ARCAT Special Collections

 Find out more about our holdings on our website.

Friday, 31 May 2019

International Archives Week: Designing the Archives in the 21st Century

As we bid farewell to the month of May this weekend, we start Monday off with International Archives Week. Running from June 3-9, this year's week long campaign focuses on Designing the Archives in the 21st Century:
"The campaign theme will focus on how in the 21st Century our profession - data and information managers, records managers and archivists - can provide opportunities for human-centred design approaches to ensure we deliver benefits to citizens, customers, stakeholders and communities."

Since the 1970s, the responsibility of caring for the archives of the Archdiocese of Toronto has fallen to a full-time archivist. The first Archdiocesan Archivist, Rev. Gordon Bean, was appointed by Archbishop Philip Pocock in 1969. Following this, the archives were designed with the intent of better serving the Chancery's own reference needs and the needs of historians.

Portrait of Rev. Gordon A. Bean
[after 1955]

Special Collections: Photograph Collection

In April 1996, the Archdiocese of Toronto consolidated their administrative offices and moved to 1155 Yonge Street, our current location. A section of the 5th floor was reserved for the archives, which includes a reading room, processing room, administrative offices and storage facilities.

Photograph from the blessing of the fifth floor. The newly designed archives are through the door in the upper left corner.
May 27, 1996

Special Collections: Photograph Collection

The photographs below were created and used in the very first archival display at the new Catholic Pastoral Centre in May 1996.

They depict our previous building at 355 Church Street:

Chancery Office at 355 Church Street
May 1996

Special Collections: Photograph Collection

And our new Catholic Pastoral Centre at 1155 Yonge Street:

Catholic Pastoral Centre at 1155 Yonge Street
May 1996

Special Collections: Photograph Collection

Much was accomplished in the 20th century in terms of designing the Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto. As we move into the 21st century, we look forward to expanding beyond serving the needs of Chancery Staff and historians, to engaging all members of our community.

As the physical design of our archives may be set in stone for the next little while, we look forward to turning our attention to designing programs, displays, and outreach initiatives that ensure we are delivering benefits to our users, staff, community members and stakeholders.

Our new display case on the 5th floor of the Catholic Pastoral Centre

For more about the history of ARCAT, click here.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Passport to Man and His World: Expo '67 and the Christian Pavilion

From April to October 1967, Canada's centennial year, Montreal hosted 62 countries and over 50 million visitors for a world's fair: the much acclaimed Expo '67.

Though large fairs were held before it, the first world's fair is commonly considered to be London's Great Exhibition of 1851. Nations and manufacturers from around the world contributed cultural and industrial displays for the six million visitors. Canada sent a canoe. Over almost two centuries these fairs have been a place to wow crowds with the latest technological advancements, exchange ideas, and share cultures.

The theme of Expo '67 was 'Man and his World,' addressing "universal problems of humanity" and "man's social responsibility and environmental consciousness." Attractions included the space capsule in which the first man orbited the earth, and the geodesic dome that can still be seen on its island location in the St. Lawrence River.

Toronto's Bishop Allen kept his season's pass that allowed him unlimited visits during the expo. It had pages to collect stamps from the various national exhibits.

Bishop Allen's Season's Pass to Expo '67

AL AA12.05
Bishop Allen Fonds

Instead of building their own display, the Catholic Church in Canada chose to participate with six other Christian groups to erect the Christian Pavilion. Their endevour is best described in their own words:

(April 14, 1967. PO SU 35.30, Archbishop Pocock Fonds)

The organizing committee provided missalettes for Catholic congregations to promote the Pavilion and raise funds: 

"Expo '67 will be an unprecedented achievement in the history of Christianity. This is the Christian Pavilion. Seven Christian churches, after several months of meetings and exchanges, have decided to erect together a Christian Pavilion which can proclaim to the world that God has made himself flesh to live among us and that he is present at everything that happens on the land of men.

"Today Catholics are called upon to do their part in this common endeavour which gives rise to much hope. Give according to your means but generously."

May 29, 1966

PO SU35.26
Archbishop Pocock Fonds

The architecture of the pavilion was described this way:
"The architecture of the Pavilion has been entrusted to the associated architects, Roger d'Astous and Jean-Paul Pothier of Montreal. These two architects are well-known throughout Canada ... The shape of the roof, which recalls that of arms uplifted to the Lord, tries to signify that the Christian welcomes the entire universe so that he might offer it to God in a perpetual Eucharist. The cross at the entrance is not identified with the Christian religion any more than with any other religion; it is the "taw" (Greek) which is found among the most primitive Christian symbols. The small building at the extreme right is to welcome visitors and to house the administrative services. It covers a little more than a thousand square feet. There is a garden in front of the central portion. Fed by a fountain with a water spout, a little pond adds to the peaceful atmosphere of the entrance of the Pavilion. The part of the building devoted to the Exhibit itself consists of three levels: a first level, almost square with the entrance, a second level lower, and a third level reached by a slight incline. These architectural data serve the setting itself. Indeed, the visitor is welcomed as he is; then led to take consciousness of the great problems of mankind, by himself passing through a kind of crucible, and finally invited to that burst of hope provided by the gospel of Christ. The presentation takes place on a surface of 7,800 square feet. The walls are in white stucco. The roof is in laminated wood." (February 14, 1966. PO SU35.24. Archbishop Pocock Fonds)

A poster asking parishioners to do their part to support the Christian Pavilion at Expo '67.

PO SU35.34c

Archbishop Pocock Fonds

The Christian Pavilion was well-received by visitors. One reviewer claimed, "it is not only one of the best exhibits at the fair but a moving example of how the Gospel can be presented to late 20th century man in a vigorous contemporary idiom" (Harvey Cox: Commonweal, May 26, 1967). It was truly a reflection of growing ecumenism combined with contemporary media practices.

Expo 2020 will be held in Dubai. In just one trip you'll be able to see over 190 countries. Time to start planning your vacation!