Friday, 31 July 2015

The Year of Consecrated Life: The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer

St. Alphonsus Liguori
Image from Wikimedia Commons

August 1st is the feast day of St. Alphonsus Liguori, who founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer - the Redemptorist Fathers.

St. Alphonsus founded the Congregation in Italy in 1732. A well educated priest and later Bishop of Sant'Agata de' Goti, he was canonized in 1839 and made a Doctor of the Church 1871 for his contributions to moral theology. His original intent for the Order was to minister to the poor around his home city of Naples.

The Congregation spread to Germany and other areas of Europe, then eventually to the United States, and from there to Canada - first to Quebec City in 1874, to Ste. Anne-de-Beaupre in 1878, and then to Toronto in 1881 at the invitation of Archbishop Lynch to take over St. Patrick's Parish, where they continue to remain in residence.

Letter from Pius IX on the subject of St. Alphonsus Liguori, discussing his defence of the faith and support of papal teachings, and attaching to his feast day a plenary indulgence for all who confess and visit a Redemptorist Church.
July 7, 1871
L PS54-01

As Fr. Karl Schindler, CSsR explains in his book To Serve God's People: A Hundred Years of the Redemptorists at St. Patrick', the Cradle of the Toronto Province 1881 - 1981, "The first Redemptorists to come to Toronto were Fathers Eugene Grimm, John Hayden, Augustine McInerny, and Brothers George and Alexander... They arrived in Toronto, January 15th, 1881. The following day, January 16th, His Grace signed the contract whereby the Redemptorist Fathers took possession of St. Patrick's Church. On February 12, Father F. Krein arrived from Quebec City to begin work for the German-speaking Catholics of Toronto."

By the late 1890s there were over 2600 members of the St. Patrick's congregation. In 1903 the Congregation started work on a new Church beside their monastery on McCaul St. The new St. Patrick's was dedicated on November 1st, 1908, and the old church became Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a parish for the Italian population in the area.

Today there are over 5000 Redemptorist Fathers internationally, with members of the congregation working in cities across Canada. Their numbers have included four saints, four blesseds, and six martyrs. They continue to uphold St. Alphonsus' vision of "[bringing] the message of the gospel to the most poor and abandoned" as pastors of many churches. They are also active in the areas of bioethics, social justice, and music.

For more information about the Canadian Redemptorists, visit their website. Don't forget to check out their archives page for excellent photographs. 

Friday, 24 July 2015

Happy Campers at Marygrove

For many Ontarians, summer is synonymous with camping.  Maybe it’s a long weekend at a campground roasting marshmallows or a family road trip in the camper van. For many children and teenagers, it’s an annual tradition to go away to camp with their peers.

In the early 1950s, Mgsr. Jean Marie Castex, pastor of St. Ann’s in Penetanguishene, began an all-girls Catholic summer camp. Marygrove Camp was situated within parish territory on the shores of Georgian Bay. Over the years it developed into one of the best-equipped, best-run camps in the province. However, by 1961 its success made the camp too much for the parish to handle. Msgr. Castex asked that Catholic Charities take over and run the program specifically for underprivileged girls:
“Monsignor knows there are hundreds of needy girls in the in the Archdiocese who would benefit from a two-week period at the Camp.  He wants to see the Camp used exclusively for needy girls rather than girls who possess and can afford forms of summer recreation, including camping, in other surroundings. In addition, the Camp is quite an enterprise for one parish and might not be continued by a succeeding pastor.” (OC12.MC01, 21 Mar 1961)
Catholic Charities welcomed the transfer of Marygrove Camp to their care and gave the Toronto Central Council of the St. Vincent de Paul Society responsibility for its supervision and financing.

Generations later, the Council continues to offer fully subsidized 8-day camping holidays for 1,100 girls aged 5 to 13. The Marygrove Camp for Girls is supported by special collections taken at Archdiocese of Toronto parishes, as well as outside charities, like The Toronto Star’s Fresh Air Fund. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Toronto Central Council also runs a similar Camp Ozanam for Boys in Stouffville.

The following photos were taken in the 1950s, when Marygrove was still run as a Catholic girls' camp by one of the parish priests at St. Ann's.  The collection comes from Rev. John Joseph Kelly, who was the associate pastor under Msgr. Castex from 1949 to 1962.

Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-126P

Rev. John Jospeh Kelly, associate pastor at St. Ann's Parish in Penetanguishene,
oversees the construction of camp cabins [ca. 1950]
Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-80P

Aerial photograph of the Marygrove Camp shoreline on Georgian Bay near Penetang [1956]
Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-117P
Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-11P

Group photo of the 1954 Marygrove Camp staff, including counsellors, nurses, kitchen staff, custodians and Rev. Kelly
Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-10P

Making a splash [1954]
Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-23P

It's all fun and games [1954]
Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-29P

Each cabin was named after a patron saint [1955]
Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-126P

Sitting on the dock of the (Georgian) Bay [1956]
Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-50P

Campers in front of Mary shrine [1955]
Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-53P and 55P

Always a bit of drama! [1956]
Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-94P

The camp accepts girls as young as five [1959]
Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-95P

Target practice [1959]
Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-102P

Arts and crafts [1959]
Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-107P

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, Merrily is Marygrove verily
Life is but a dream!
Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-107P
Rev. John Joseph Kelly fonds, PH73-15P

Raising the Union Jack [1954]

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Even Priests Can't Resist a Little Competition

PanAmania has swept through Southern Ontario, with events in 48 sports happening from Simcoe County to the Niagara Region.

Catholics have long recognized the importance of sports. In a homily in 2000 Pope Saint John Paul II said:

"Playing sports has become very important today, since it can encourage young people to develop important values such as loyalty, perseverance, friendship, sharing and solidarity. Precisely for this reason, in recent years it has continued to grow even more as one of the characteristic phenomena of the modern era, almost a "sign of the times" capable of interpreting humanity's new needs and new expectations. Sports have spread to every corner of the world, transcending differences between cultures and nations.

"Because of the global dimensions this activity has assumed, those involved in sports throughout the world have a great responsibility. They are called to make sports an opportunity for meeting and dialogue, over and above every barrier of language, race or culture. Sports, in fact, can make an effective contribution to peaceful understanding between peoples and to establishing the new civilization of love."

We were able to find a few sports shots in the archives:

While not an Olympic sport, bowling has been a part of the Pan Am games since 1991. This year's competition will take place from July 22-25.

Monsignor Jean Marie Castex bowls as part of the league at St. Ann's Parish, Penetanguishene in the early 1960s.
The champions of St. Ann's, Penetanguishene Bowling League show off their trophies [1949-1964].

Racquetball has been in the Pan Am games since 1995 and events will be taking place from July 19-26. The Squash competition has already taken place, with Canada receiving two silver and two bronze medals.

Priests-in-training compete in some kind of racket sport at St. Augustine's Seminary.
St. Augustine's Seminary Photo Collection

The Canadian men's baseball team is doing well in preliminary rounds. The medal games will be played on Sunday, and the women's competition will start on Monday.

Seminarians playing baseball on St. Augustine's grounds.
St. Augustine's Seminary Photo Collection
St. Matthew's Boy's Baseball Team, 1959.

Field hockey games will be played throughout the two weeks of competition, but this is Canada, so it was easier for us to find pictures of ice hockey:

Students play hockey on the rink at St. Michael's College, 1917.

Good luck to all of the athletes competing in this year's events!

Friday, 10 July 2015

St. Paul's Basilica: A Home Away From Home

Last month it was announced that St. Michael’s Cathedral is temporarily closing its doors for renovations. To accommodate the Cathedral’s parishioners, additional weekend masses will be held at nearby St. Paul’s Basilica starting this weekend (Saturday 6:00 p.m.; Sunday 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.). Following summer break, masses will feature music from St. Michael’s Choir School.

It's appropriate that St. Paul’s will stand in for the Cathedral; before the completion of St. Michael’s in 1848, St. Paul’s was the diocese’s unofficial cathedral. It was the sole place of worship for Toronto Catholics and, by default, the seat of our first bishop, Most Rev. Michael Power.

For those who will be temporarily attending St. Paul’s, and for those with an interest in visiting the city’s oldest Catholic parish, we offer a brief history of the church, its architecture and artwork.*

Historical Context
Established in 1822, St. Paul’s was the first Catholic parish between Kingston and Windsor and, consequently, the original church of what is now the Archdiocese of Toronto. The first structure was a red brick Gothic-style building completed in 1824 on the present site (83 Power Street).  

Old St. Paul's Church, Power Street, Toronto, 1824-1889
Photograph published in The Story of St. Paul's Parish by Rev. E. Kelly (1922).
The original church was a red brick Gothic structure.

In its early years St. Paul’s served the Irish coming from their famine ravaged homeland.  In 1847, a typhus epidemic raged through the city, killing 850 people, including Bishop Power. Many were buried in mass graves on the church grounds.

During the nineteenth century St. Paul’s was a bulwark of Catholicism in a very Protestant city.  As the city grew and prospered, from “Muddy York” to an industrialized urban centre, so too did St. Paul’s.  By the turn of the century a dozen more parishes were erected in the city to accommodate the growing faithful. St. Paul’s Parish was reinvigorated with the building of the present church - a much larger edifice.  Its construction was initiated and overseen by its pastor, auxiliary bishop of Toronto, Most Rev. Thomas O’Mahony, and completed in 1889.
Photographs Collection,  PH0093/74CP 
Tomb of Bishop O'Mahoney, the pastor responsible for the building of the present church. 
He is buried on church grounds. The epitaph reads:
In Memoriam.
Beneath this stone repose the remains of the Right Rev. Timothy O'Mahony D.D.
Born in the parish of Kilmurray Co. Cork Ireland A.D. 1825 
Ordained priest 1849 Consecrated first bishop of Armidale Australia 1871
Auxiliary to the Archbishop of Toronto and appointed pastor of St. Paul's Church 1880
After a long and painful illness borne with Christian patience fortified with the sacraments and consolations of the Church
He departed this life Sept. 8th 1892
Requiescat in pace.

The designer of the new church was renowned architect Joseph Connelly, who was also responsible for St. Mary’s (1852).  His decision to forsake the Gothic for Italian Renaissance was considered daring and internationally en vogue for the time.  St. Paul’s is built in the Romanesque basilica style with Ionic colonnades separating the central nave from the side aisles. It has rounded instead of pointed arches and a plain campanile rather than a sharp spire. Connelly imitated the style and design of the Basilica of St. Paul-Outside-The-Walls in Rome. The new St. Paul’s was solid, imposing, impregnable - a visible statement of faith.

Photographs Collection, Architectural Survey Album, PH31P/227AL(45)
St. Paul's Church and Rectory, 1914

Architect Joseph Connelly imitated the style and design of St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls Basilica in Rome.
The exterior dimensions are impressive: 174 feet in length; 70 feet in width of nave; 100 feet in width of transept; 129 feet high at the bell tower.  St Paul’s was unique among Toronto's Gothic-dominated ecclesiastical architecture of the time.

Following Bishop O’Mahony’s death in 1892, the newly appointed pastor inherited an unfinished church. Dean John Hand embarked on an ambitious scheme to decorate the church with the beautiful murals, stained glass windows and statuary that make the church’s aesthetics truly remarkable.  Dean Hand commissioned the following works: 
1893: Four paintings by unknown Belgian artist: “The Conversion of St. Paul”; “The Last Supper”; “Gethsemane”; “Annunciation”
1894:  Commencement of the installation of stained glass windows and the clerestory windows
1898: All-wood organ by R.S. Williams & Son and enlargement of the gallery
1899: Statue of St. Paul, west façade
1901: Stations of the Cross, made of stone in Europe
1905: Completion of the campanile. The bell from the original St. Paul’s was installed in the new tower
1908: Three marble altars and pulpit
1911: Ten paintings of the life of St. Paul on the ceiling of the nave, “Ascension of our Lord” and “Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary” by G. Caroselli
1921: Soldiers’ World War One Memorial, west façade
1933Pietà and memorial to Bishop Michael Power and Irish Famine victims
Photographs Collection, PH0093/57P
Photograph showing the apse and sanctuary in the 1950s.
The marble high altar and pulpit were commissioned by Dean Hand in 1908.
Photographs Collection, PH0093/63CP
The earliest artwork in the basilica are four 1893 paintings by an unknown Belgian artist, including "The Conversion of St. Paul" in the dome (Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?) and "The Last Supper," copied from Leonardo's masterpiece.
These paintings have since been cleaned and restored.
Also note, 
following the reforms of Vatican II, the altar has been changed and the pulpit replaced with an ambo.
Photographs Collection, PH0093/15CP
1981 photograph of the nave looking towards the choir loft and wood organ, installed in 1898.
The barrel vault ceiling and Ionic colonnade are typical Romanesque features.
The ceiling paintings, commissioned in 1911, include ten scenes from the life of St. Paul. 

Photographs Collection, PH0093/47CP
One of the nave ceiling paintings of the life of St. Paul: " Paul in prison in Rome"
The scenes were painted on canvas and glued to the ceiling.
From 2001 to 2006, artist/restorer Carlos Nunes and his team cleaned and restored the interior artwork of St. Paul’s. Nunes has also worked on the restoration of the Cathedral’s paintings and windows.

A Minor Basilica
St. Paul’s Church was designated a Minor Basilica on August 3, 1999, in time for the Millennium Jubilee celebrations. The title is granted by pontifical authority to churches that meet a variety of conditions. For example, the church must: stand out as a centre of pastoral and liturgical activity; be large enough to carry out exemplary celebrations; and enjoy a certain renown throughout the diocese. The historical importance of the church and the worthiness of its art are also considered. St. Paul’s is the twentieth church in Canada to receive this papal honour.

From its origins, St. Paul’s has welcomed the stranger, the immigrant and the impoverished. Now it will also welcome the displaced Cathedral parishioner until March 2016.

*This historical summary has been adapted from a document written in 1999 by historian Michael Power to support the application for Minor Basilica status.