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
[192-?]

Photograph Collection
PH 102/0008/16P

Photograph of the interior front of Corpus Christi Church
[195-?]

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!


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