Friday, 29 September 2017

Concerts at the Cathedral

Earlier this week the world renowned Sistine Chapel Choir performed at St. Michael's Cathedral in the choir's first ever performance in Canada. In light of this historic occasion, we thought we would share some mementos of past concerts that we recently uncovered in our collection.

The programmes below date from the late nineteenth century. Rather appropriately, both of the concerts were also held at St. Michael's Cathedral on evenings in late September.

Concert Programme, September 28 1866

St Michael's Cathedral Parish Files
Sacred Music Concert Programme, September 26, 1872

St Michael Cathedral Parish Files
You can find performances of many of the songs above by searching the song's name and its composer on YouTube. And if you missed out on the concert earlier this week, Michael's Cathedral has it available to watch on the Cathedral's website.

Friday, 22 September 2017

2017 Catholic Archivists Group Conference in Toronto

This past week, the ARCAT archivists had the opportunity for some professional development and fellowship at the Catholic Archivists Group Conference.

The gathering was especially significant for us because it was held in Toronto and our staff was involved in its planning. Toronto had seemed like an appropriate locale because the archdiocese is in the midst of celebrating its 175th anniversary and archivists are often involved in commemorative projects. We also wanted the chance to show off the newly restored St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica after 15 years of renovation.

Our theme was "Keeping Archives in the 21st Century," and the program addressed such topics as best practices for electronic records keeping, digitization projects, and commemoration.

This annual conference is a wonderful opportunity to learn from other diocesan and congregational archivists who share the same organizational structure and face similar challenges.

His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, addresses members of the Catholic Archivist Group during the opening reception. The conference was held at Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga.

ARCAT Staff Photo
The Idea Fair featured displays from ten different repositories, including the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto Archives and the Diocese of Hamilton Library & Archives, whose staff brought their newly acquired Heritage Edition of the Saint John's Bible.

ARCAT Staff Photo
We demonstrated our humidification chamber at the Idea Fair.  This was also featured on a previous post.

ARCAT Staff Photo

The keynote speaker, Dr. Mark McGowan, Professor of History at the University of Toronto, gave a talk entitled "2017 – The Year of Commemorations: the role of historians and archivists."  In this photo, he describes being on the set of Death or Canada, a docudrama about the Irish immigration to Toronto during the Great Famine. In the still being projected, Bishop Michael Power is portrayed administering to the sick in the fever sheds.

ARCAT Staff Photo

A field trip to the recently renovated St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica included lunch in the new Atrium addition beside St. John's Chapel.  We were treated to a presentation by Terry White of +VG Architects, the lead architect who has worked on the building's restoration for the past 15 years.

ARCAT Staff Photo

Rev. Michael Busch, rector of the Cathedral Basilica, led a tour of the building. The sanctuary features the original stained glass window purchased by Bishop de Charbonnel, which has been carefully restored and repaired.  Also original are the wooden carvings of the apostles along the screen. The new floor features a Celtic knot design to honour the poor Irish immigrants that physically built and paid for most of the Cathedral with money raised through penny drives.

ARCAT Staff Photo

The crypt chapel is still under construction. The crypt was originally just a crawl space; it has been excavated to a reasonable height. There are 67 burials located here, including the first three Loretto Sisters who came to Toronto at the invitation of Bishop Michael Power.  Their tomb is newly marked by a sculpture of the Pietà depicting the three Marys in honour of the Sisters.

ARCAT Staff Photo
Three of Toronto's early bishops are buried at the Cathedral Basilica. Michael Power's tomb, shown here, is located directly under the sanctuary.

ARCAT Staff Photo

Friday, 15 September 2017

Record of the Week: Greetings From Sunny Egypt!

It's the time of year when we are remembering fondly what we did on our summer vacations. If you look on Facebook or visit with friends you are sure to see lots of travel photographs. Recently, we opened a box and found these great snaps of Cardinal Carter in Egypt. Though we don't know the context of the trip, we can still enjoy these retro images.

Cardinal Carter shows off his camel-riding skills in front of the Great Pyramid at Giza, with the Pyramid of Khafre in the background.

[ca. 1964-1978]
ARCAT Photographs Collection

What's better than a stroll by the Nile? Though we usually see bishops in black cassocks, they are permitted to wear white in hot climates.

[ca. 1964-1979]
ARCAT Photographs Collection

The Great Sphinx of Giza and the Great Pyramid are imposing figures in the background.

[ca. 1964-1979]
ARCAT Photographs Collection

Friday, 8 September 2017

In Memory of Archbishop Pocock

Earlier this week marked the 33rd anniversary of the death of the ninth Ordinary to the Archdiocese of Toronto, the Most Reverend Philip Francis Pocock. The former Archbishop of Toronto died on September 6, 1984, at the age of 78.

Photographs Collection, PH 14/08P

A prayer card that would have been distributed at Archbishop Pocock's funeral mass, September 10, 1984.
Archbishop Pocock joined the Archdiocese of Toronto as Coadjutor Archbishop on February 18, 1961, and succeeded to the See of Toronto upon Cardinal McGuigan’s resignation on March 30, 1971.

As archbishop, Pocock established the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council and Senate of Priests to help manage the transitions that followed Vatican II and created Sharelife to replace the Council of Catholic Charities.

On April 27, 1978, Archbishop Pocock resigned as archbishop and took up residence at St. Mary's Parish in Brampton. Here he remained active as a priest, performing regular parish duties, celebrating mass at elementary schools, confirming students, and visiting a senior citizens' home.
Archbishop Pocock died on September 6, 1984. His funeral took place at St. Michael’s Cathedral on September 10th, and he was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, Thornhill.

Archbishop Pocock Fonds, PO AA49.02

A handwritten note from Cardinal Carter in response to the outpouring of condolences following Archbishop Pocock's death, 1984

Although his time as See of Toronto was short, Archbishop Pocock has a lasting legacy in the Archdiocese. You can read more about Archbishop's religious life and archdiocesan achievements on our website.


Friday, 1 September 2017

Sartorial Conflicts in a Frontier Diocese

It's back to school time, which means back to stricter routines, rules and regulations. Inevitably, some students will rebel against their Catholic school uniforms and some teachers will struggle to rein them in.

It seems that Catholic uniforms have been a source of conflict since the very beginnings of our diocese. Clerical dress - the cassock and collar - was a major point of contention between our first bishop, Michael Power, and the priests that served under him.

And if you thought your teachers were strict about uniforms, you should read about Bishop Michael Power.

A Frontier Bishop

Michael Power was appointed the first Bishop of the Diocese of Toronto on December 17, 1841. He was essentially charged with establishing the Catholic Church in what could be hostile, frontier territory. The Diocese of Toronto originally encompassed the western half of present day Ontario, which was largely Protestant.

Shortly after arriving in Toronto, Bishop Power held the first Diocesan Synod, establishing the policies and regulations for his new diocese. He believed that strong and visible priestly leadership would strengthen the local Church. Article 17 of the Diocesan Regulations stipulated that priests must wear clerical dress:
We enjoin all priests that they use the cassock and surplice in undertaking every sacred function, especially in their own Churches. The cassock also they are to wear resolutely, as far as may be possible, always in their place of residence…it will help not a little if the Collar which, suitable to presbyters, is called by Benedict XIV “the badge of Priests,” is worn by all everywhere.  

Photographs Collection, PH 25/23AL

Carte de visite portrait of Rev. William Richard Harris wearing proper clerical dress, consisting of black cassock and white collar. 
Photograph by Lemaitre, Toronto, ca. 1870s 

The cassock is a long-sleeved, hoodless garment that covers the entire body from neck to ankle. Traditionally the cassock is fastened down the front by 33 buttons to represent the 33 years of Christ’s life and has 5 buttons on each sleeve to represent the 5 wounds of Christ. The cassock is also called soutane, from the Italian word sottana meaning “beneath”, as the cassock may be worn beneath a mantle, surplice or liturgical vestments. The Latin term, vestis talaris, means "ankle-length garment."

Some priests did not relish the idea of wearing clerical dress in public, which identified them as easy targets in Protestant towns. Bishop Power was unsympathetic; he insisted that Diocesan Regulations be followed to the letter, especially Article 17.

In the spring of 1844, Bishop Power wrote to his vicar-general in Hamilton, Rev. William Peter MacDonald, to inquire about the state of dress in that area of the diocese. MacDonald replied that “the dress worn here is as clerical as it can be as much so as that worn by our clergy in Rome,” implying that even in the Eternal City priests were not held to such sartorial standards. Bishop Power responded,
We are not here, Rev’d Sir, either in Rome or in Spain but in the Diocese of Toronto…You are therefore hereby commanded under the penalty of suspension to wear habitually … the Sutan [sic.], vestem talarem, in the Town of Hamilton and in your own house. (ARCAT, LB02.156, 4 May 1844)

Letterbook, LB02.156,
Excerpt from Bishop Power to Very Rev. William Peter MacDonald, Hamilton, 4 May 1844

I must remark that I gave you a very pointed hint in my letter of the 22nd of last February in the following terms: "Will you be so kind as to enquire whether the Clergy of the neighbouring Missions habitually wear the ecclesiastical dress.... I am determined to see all the rules of the diocese rigidly enforced and I shall be the first to set an example of their observance to those who serve in the ministry under me." To this you replied on the 26th of the same month: "the dress worn here is as clerical as it can be: as much so as that worn by our own clergy in Rome: the gown always when officiating and the long black surtout on other occasions." We are not here, Rev'd Sir, either in Rome or in Spain but in the Diocese of Toronto: the 17th Article of the diocesan constitutions adopted without the slightest objection in open Synod, by the whole Clergy, of which you were one, contains the following enactment: Veste etiam talari constantes, quatinus fini possit, gerant sacerdotis, semper in loco residentia." You are therefore herby commanded under the penalty of suspension to wear habitually after the 12th day of this month, the sutan, vestem talarem in the Town of Hamilton and in your own house. You must moreover adopt the whole article as your rule of conduct.

In the Archives we have Bishop Power's letterbook, where copies of outgoing correspondence were recorded. Letters written to non-compliant priests attest to the ongoing conflict over clerical dress. Here are two examples:

Letterbook, LB02.104,
Excerpt from Bishop Power to Rev. Patrick O'Dwyer, London, 30 September 1843

I am determined whatever may be the consequences to individuals that all the Regulations and Statutes passed in the diocesan Synod be strictly observed. I therefore call your attention to the 17th concerning the clerical dress: If I find that you do not conform to it, I make it your rule, and I shall order you to do so under the penalty of suspension to be incurred ipso facto...

Letterbook, LB02.108
Excerpt from Bishop Power to Rev. Michael Robert Mills, St. Thomas, 30 September 1843

I often remarked to you that your ordinary dress is not by any means clerical. I therefore hereby command you to conform yourself to the 17th Article of the diocesan Regulations, otherwise I will order you to do so under the penalty of suspension to be incurred ipso facto... I have it in my power to ascertain whether submission be paid to my commands or not. Be on you guard and follow strictly the 17th article of the Statutes. 

This year, as we continue to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Toronto, let us also remember the struggles that our early bishops and clergy endured to build the Church in English- speaking Canada.

This post was reworked from a display that ARCAT installed in the lobby at the Catholic Pastoral Centre in 2010.
The cassock, as modelled by Bishop Michael Power, and biretta are from our textile collection.