Friday, 22 June 2018

Launching Extraordinary Ordinaries

Extraordinary Ordinaries: A History of the Bishops of the Archdiocese of Toronto

On Tuesday evening, ARCAT staff had the pleasure of attending the book launch of Extraordinary Ordinaries by Fr. Séamus Hogan, a priest of the Archdiocese of Toronto.

Although there have been books written about some of Toronto's Catholic bishops and archbishops, this is the first time that biographies of all twelve ordinaries - from Bishop Michael Power to our current Cardinal Thomas Collins - have been brought together in one coherent volume. The book attempts to reach a broad readership with stories of how these Catholic leaders responded to the social, economic and political events of their times in extraordinary ways.

This book is the capstone of the Archdiocese of Toronto's 175th Anniversary celebrations. (It is now available for pre-order.)

Congratulations Fr. Séamus!

ARCAT Staff Photo

Father Séamus Hogan graciously signs copies of his new book for the Archives staff. We even got a shout out in the Acknowledgements.


ARCAT Staff Photo

The book launch started with a few words from Fr. Séamus to the audience gathered in the crypt chapel of St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica. Is it a little weird to hold an event in the crypt chapel? Not at all! This new chapel is one of the last stages in the major cathedral renovation project and the tomb of our first ordinary, Bishop Michael Power, rests behind the altar.
Fr. Séamus also spoke of his connection to the crypt. As the son of the cathedral's then sacristan, he was often sent to the crypt through a trap door to retrieve altar candles. He and his siblings also played in the low, dark crypt among the haphazardly arranged tombs.

ARCAT Staff Photo

Left to right: Author Fr. Séamus Hogan, priest of the Archdiocese of Toronto; Thomas Cardinal Collins, the twelfth ordinary of Toronto who also contributed the book's foreword; outgoing rector of the Cathedral, Fr. Michael Busch, who will be writing his own book about the twelve-year renovation project; and Most Rev. John Boissonneau, bishop of the Western Pastoral Region of Toronto and head of the Archdiocesan 175th Anniversary Committee. 

ARCAT Staff Photo

Building the new crypt chapel required digging down 26 feet from the crypt's original height of 5 feet. Many of the tombs were relocated to the periphery of the space. However Michael Power's tomb remains under the altar of the upper sanctuary, where it was placed when he died of typhus before his cathedral was completed.
Much of the furnishings were recycled from the pre-renovation cathedral, including the Marian side altar, throne and ambo.
 
ARCAT Staff Photo

The crypt chapel construction has progressed steadily since we last saw it in September 2017 (above). The tomb of the five original Loretto sisters invited to Toronto by Bishop Power was covered at the time. Now the statue that marks the tomb, depicting the three Marys, has been unveiled (see below). 

ARCAT Staff Photo

Though the chapel is awaiting some finishing touches, it has been open for mass since Easter. Fr. Busch told us that a school group was in the chapel recently and one of the children asked if he was opening a restaurant. When asked where his got that idea, the student pointed out all of the pizza ovens.


Friday, 15 June 2018

Tell Me, Where Do the Children Play?


Maypole Dancing, St. Andrew's Playground

August 26, 1914

City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 52, Item 429

Archbishop McNeil was the kind of person who really took an interest in the welfare of the people of the city. It is evident from the records that he wanted to improve the lives of the citizens in his care, so it came as no surprise to discover that he was on the board of the Toronto Playgrounds Association for several years starting in 1913.

Dear Sir,-

At a meeting of gentlemen interested in The Toronto Playgrounds Association it was decided unanimously to ask you to accept the office of Vice President of the Association and I was requested to bring the matter to your attention.

We would be very pleased indeed if you could see your way clear to accept this office since the only aim of the Association is to provide recreation and happiness for young people. There are two Vice Presidents and the other gentleman proposed is Rev. Provost Macklem, the head of the Trinity University. Would like to know soon if it is possible for you to accept. 

Yours sincerely,

J.J. Kelso

February 8, 1913

MN AH02.11
Archbishop McNeil Fonds

A letter from the secretary of the Toronto Playgrounds Association

January 30, 1914

MN AH03.09
Archbishop McNeil Fonds

At the turn of the century, Toronto's continued growth had given rise to neighbourhoods like St. John's Ward where it was too easy for children to get into mischief when they weren't in school. A movement grew to address this problem by constructing places for children to participate in organized activities.

In 1911, The Toronto Daily Star printed "ten good reasons why Toronto citizens should support supervised playgrounds:"

  1. "All children should have a safe place where they can play. You had when you were a child. Your children have now. Give children, who have no other safe place, where they can play, supervised playgrounds.
  2. "There are crowded districts in Toronto, which the Toronto Playgrounds Association has not been able to reach yet. The association needs more money, the city needs more playgrounds.
  3. "The children of these crowded districts are eagerly hoping for a supervised playground. Are they to have a playground this year? The best work you can do for the children of your city is to help support supervised playgrounds.
  4. "The supervised playground lessens truancy.
  5. "It diminishes juvenile crime. 
  6. "The value of a crowded district is greatly increased to the people who live in it by a supervised playground.
  7. "Supervised playgrounds for children mean better citizenship for everybody.
  8. "People who play together will find it easier to work together.
  9. "Every dollar subscribed to the work will bring happiness to some child in the city.
  10. "The child who is trained to play with all his might and honestly with his young companions is more valuable to himself and the community than the child who is kept away from play by the harmful attractions of amusements never meant for children" (The Toronto Daily Star, April 26, 1911, p. 12).


Toronto's first supervised playground was opened in 1909 in St. Andrew's Square, which is located near Adelaide St. and Brant St. The Globe newspaper described the facilities:
"Toronto's first equipped and supervised playground was formally opened yesterday afternoon. It is known as St. Andrew's Square Playground, Farley avenue, just south of the old St. Andrew's Market, and the formal opening was a gratifying success...
"The ground, which is rather dusty at present, is divided into two parts, the easterly half being devoted to the girls and very small boys, and the westerly half to larger boys. A wire fence encloses the whole ground, and girls and larger boys are separated by a wire fence... The supervision is under the charge of the Toronto Playgrounds Association...
"The boys' section of the ground is equipped with parallel bars, teeters, giant stride or maypole, trapeze, swinging rings and rope ladders. The girls' section is provided with swings, giant stride or maypole, sand courts, teeters, basket ball, and a slide resembling a chute, the last-named being the most popular attraction on the ground, so far as the small tots are concerned. The ground is to be open from 9 a.m. until 8.30 every day, except Sunday. When the schools reopen no school children will be admitted during school hours." (The Globe, August 12 1909, p. 12)
St. Andrew's Playground

October 14, 1913

City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 52, Item 196

For more on the beginning of Toronto's playgrounds, check out the excellent website from last year's City of Toronto Archives exhibition From Streets to Playgrounds.

Today, the City of Toronto's website lists 794 playgrounds. With this handy map, it's easy to find the one closest to you so you can get out there and play!

Friday, 8 June 2018

Holy Martyrs of Japan

Artwork Special Collection, AW24

Print of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God in Glory by Insho Domoto. The original is a large altar painting that hangs in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the Diocese of Osaka, Japan

Catholicism was first introduced to Japan in 1549. However, it was outlawed in 1612 following the martyrdom of many missionaries and Japanese converts as a response to the perceived military threat by European trade partners. Catholic missionaries did not return until the 19th century. Though the the Osaka Cathedral was built in 1963, the site was chosen for its link to two Samurais who converted to Christianity in the 16th century.

This print was given to the Archdiocese by the Toronto Japanese Catholic Community.


Today is the anniversary of the canonization of the Twenty-Six Martyrs of Japan who were crucified in Nagasaki in 1597.

In the beginning, missionary efforts in Japan were quite successful. Catholicism was introduced in 1549 by Jesuit priests from Spain, led by Francis Xavier (read our post about his relics here). The local feudal lords, military and imperial government allowed the Jesuits to establish Catholic missions in the hopes of curtailing the influence of Buddhist monks, as well as improving trade relations with Spain and Portugal. 

However, as the numbers of Catholics rose to 300,000 over the following decades, Japanese rulers became more wary of the threat of colonialism. Christianity was banned and the Jesuits were expelled, though these decrees were not particularly well enforced.

In 1596, a Spanish trade vessel was shipwrecked along the coast of Japan and looted by the local lord. It caused a huge political incident with implications that Spain had sent missionaries to Japan to infiltrate the society in anticipation of a military conquest. The Japanese response was the crucifixion of 26 Catholics: six Franciscan missionaries including four Spaniards, one Mexican (St. Philip of Jesus, the first North American to be canonized), and one Indian; three Japanese Jesuits, including the revered St. Paul Miki; and seventeen Japanese laymen including three young altar boys.

Without leadership, the Church in Japan disintegrated until Western missionaries returned in the 19th century.

The connection to the Archdiocese of Toronto is that our third bishop, Most Rev. John Lynch, travelled to Rome to attend the martyrs' canonization by Pope Pius IX on June 8, 1862. 

Archbishop Lynch fonds, LAA05.08

A page from Bishop Lynch's acta (a listing of activities carried out by the administration).

"1862. Left Toronto for the canonization of the Japanese martyrs appointed Rev. John Walsh and Rev. Father Soulerin administrators."

Archbishop Lynch fonds, LAA05.28

A page from Bishop Lynch's acta (a listing of activities carried out by the administration).

"1862...14th Sept. Lecture by Bp. Lynch on the canonization of the Japanese Martyrs"

Unfortunately there is no copy of this lecture in Bp. Lynch's papers. 

Archbishop Lynch fonds, L RC 44.11

A souvenir from the canonization ceremony: a copy of the address of the Bishops attending the canonization of the twenty-six martyrs of Japan and Michael de Sanctis. Bishop Lynch's name was misspelled in the list of attending bishops (right).

Archbishop Lynch fonds, L RC 44.11

"Disegno di una medaglia, che, a testimonio perenne della loro venerazione e riconoscenza i Romani devoti alla S. Sede intendono dedicare ai Vescovi convenuti dalle loro diocesi per assistere alla solenne canonizzazione dell 8 giugno 1862."

Card showing the design of the medal struck to commemorate the dedication to the Holy See of the Catholic Bishops, who came from their dioceses to attend the canonization of the Martyrs of Japan, June 8, 1862


Two years later, Bishop Lynch blessed a new mission church in Bradford, Ontario, dedicating it to the Twenty-Six Japanese Martyrs. In 1940, the mission was split from St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, and erected as a separate parish, Holy Martyrs of Japan.


Parish Collection, Holy Martyrs of Japan Parish, Bradford, Ontario

Two years after attending the canonization, Bishop Lynch blessed a new mission church in Bradford, Ontario, dedicating it to the twenty-six Japanese martyrs. In 1940, the mission was raised to a parish. In 1957, Cardinal McGuigan blessed a new church building (above) - 100 years after Bradford was incorporated as a village and local Catholics bought the site for a church and cemetery. 


Friday, 1 June 2018

To the Catholic Electors of South Ontario!

Once again Ontarians are being bombarded with messages from all sides about important issues in the upcoming provincial election. With the rise of different forms of media, campaigns have reached new heights of vying for our attention, and the constant noise can feel overwhelming. 

Here in the archives, we found that fervent lobbying efforts are nothing new. People of the past were just as passionate about the issues that affected them, and they wanted to make sure that the voters were on their side.

In the 1870s, one group didn't want anyone to vote for the incumbent Premier Oliver Mowat, who they claimed insulted Catholics:

To The Catholic Electors of South Ontario!

[1875]

LTA01.23
Archbishop Lynch Fonds


In 1934, the Catholic Taxpayers' Association wrote to the heads of colleges, convents, and hospitals to ask them to vote for the Liberal party because they believed the Conservative party was dominated by the Orange Order:

"Experience has shown that it is futile to depend upon the Conservative party, dominated, as it is just now by the Orange Order, and that we must pursue relentlessly our policy to vote against any Government that has failed in rendering justice to us."

June 13, 1934

MN AE11.07
Archbishop McNeil Fonds


Cardinal McGuigan sent word specifically to the people of Trinity riding asking them to vote to defeat the local Communist candidate:

"His Eminence the Cardinal has asked me to tell you that he wishes you to make a good announcement at the Masses on Sunday next urging the people who live in Trinity riding to exercise their franchise in the by-election..."

November 4, 1954

MG PO08.26a
Cardinal McGuigan Fonds


Archbishop McNeil saved a circular released by the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of Canada that asked the electors of New Brunswick not to vote for Catholics, as they were considered 'Romans':

"Be not forgetful of that binding oath you took 'neath the Fiery Cross, wherein you swore to pledge your life, vote, and sacred honour, to protect the Constitutional rights and privileges of our Country and keep it free from all Foreign domination."

[1935]

MN AS12.89
Archbishop McNeil Fonds


Making sense of the rhetoric coming from all sides wasn't easy, but the Bishops of Toronto reminded Catholics that it was important to make their voices heard. Pastors were instructed not to publicly take a particular side, but to encourage their parishioners to take advantage of their right to vote. 

"Catholics your religion and the religious education of your children are both attacked. You are bound in conscience to protect both. The battle is to [be] fought at the polls. Those who do not go, fail in their duty to themselves and their children."

December 22, 1886

L AA13.17
Archbishop Lynch Fonds

"People who have the right to vote should vote, and vote conscientiously. It is not a matter to be treated lightly."

[1934]

MN AS12.90
Archbishop McNeil Fonds


The Church continues to encourage Catholics to learn about the issues and participate in our democracy. To help make sense of what the candidates are saying, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto has released a 2018 Ontario Election Guide, as well as a list of questions to ask. Check them out, and stand up on June 7 to make your voice heard!