This past Sunday, September 29, 2013 the whole Archdiocese of Toronto celebrated the Solemnity of St. Michael the Archangel, our patron saint. One hundred and sixty-five years ago on September 29, 1848, St. Michael’s Cathedral was dedicated. The naming of the Cathedral and the dedication of the diocese to St. Michael the Archangel has much significance. Not only was our first bishop, Michael Power named for him, but as a warrior and protector, St. Michael would have been a powerful and fierce saint to invoke in nineteenth century Ontario. Toronto was at the edge of the frontier and the Catholics of the time would have felt the need to keep the forces of evil and Protestantism at bay.
The image above is the record of the laying of the cornerstone of St. Michael’s Cathedral on May 8, 1845. This record can be found in a letterbook, which is an oversized bound volume. Before photocopiers and even carbon paper, letterbooks were the way bishops in the past kept copies of outgoing correspondence, recorded special events, and documented important appointments, policies and regulations of the Diocese.