Friday, 25 May 2018

A Shepherd Entering the Sheepfold

On May 26, 1850, Armand-François-Marie de Charbonnel was consecrated Bishop of Toronto in the Sistine Chapel by Pope Pius IX. When he arrived in the city on September 21, he had his work cut out for him: tens of thousands of Catholics had arrived in the city in the past few years. He had to finish the Cathedral, find priests, build churches and schools, and advocate for a group who had very little. 

In his first pastoral address to the Diocese (transcribed below), Bishop de Charbonnel made it clear that he was there to work for the people. During his short time as bishop he accomplished the goals he laid out for his episcopacy and more.    

The first pastoral address of Bishop de Charbonnel after his arrival in Toronto.

October 3, 1850

C AA04.01
Bishop de Charbonnel Fonds

Armand Francis Mary De Charbonnel, By the Grace of God, and the favour of the holy Apostolic See, Bishop of Toronto, To all Our well-beloved Brethren and Children in God, the Clergy Regular and Secular, and Laity of Our Diocese, Grace and Peace in the Lord.

On Saturday, the 21st of September, Dearly Beloved Brethren, We reached Toronto under the auspices of Our Blessed Mother Mary and of the Holy Apostle St. Mathew, in company with the Right Rev. D. Prince, Bishop of Martyropolis and Coadjutor to the Bishop of Montreal, together with several Reverend Gentlemen of the Lower Province.

Despite the uncertainty of our arrival, a large number of the faithful were already assembled on the shore, happy to greet their long-expected Bishop, and proceeded with Us to the Cathedral where We offered the Divine Sacrifice in order to thank the Almighty for all the favours He bestowed upon Us during Our long journey; and also to beg on Our knees, in the presence of the victim of propitiation substantially present on the Altar, that He might grant Us the Apostolic spirit; the spirit of holy Bishops; the spirit of the martyred Bishop, our illustrious predecessor.

The following day, having notified juridically to the Very Reverend J. Carroll, Administrator of the Diocese during the vacancy of the See, Our canonical institution as Bishop of Toronto, and Our Consecration by His Holiness Pope Pius IX., we took possession of Our See according to the rules of the Church, and celebrated a solemn Pontifical Mass.

At Vespers, We addressed Our dear Flock in a familiar allocution, chiefly to illustrate that it was not sufficient for a good Shepherd to enter into the Sheepfold by the door, - that is to say, by the election of the Supreme Pontiff, Vicar of Christ, - but that a good Shepherd should enter into the Sheepfold only to give life to his Sheep, "that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly;" and hence, that he should seek and find for them good pastures, know them, walk before them, and, if need be, give his own life for them.

Such, Dearly Beloved Brethren, is the good Shepherd; such was Jesus; such were the Holy Pontiffs at all times; such is Pius IX, on the See of Peter; such was your first Bishop; such We desire to be amongst you.

We have no other ambition, God is Our witness, but to give spiritual life to the souls who have been so unfortunate as to lose it by sin, and to increase it more abundantly in those who fortunately are living in the state of grace, with a pure conscience and the love of their God.

Poor Sinners! you, above all, are the objects of Our most anxious solicitude. As the good Shepherd of the Gospel, We will leave for a time the Sheep already gathered in the Sheepfold, in order to find you and bring you back in triumph, to the great joy of Heaven.

But in order to give life to souls, and augment it the more by the exercise of the holy Ministry, We will endeavour to multiply the number of the zealous Missionaries of this vast Diocese: for, "The Harvest is abundant, but the labourers are few." With holy Pastors will be multiplied the Houses of Public Prayer, of the Sacraments, of religious instruction, and all the inestimable benefits of the sacerdotal Ministry.

Let us pray, therefore, Beloved Brethren, the Master of the harvest that He may send us fellow-labourers in proportion to our wants.

We have found some already; but as we need more, We have lately sent to Ireland one of them to procure others, and since Our arrival, We confided to his care the great work of preparing for the Sanctuary those precious children elected from above to become labourers in the Vineyard of the Lord.

We shall know them, and you also, Beloved Brethren, as We intend to commence as soon as possible a general visit, it being the duty of a good Shepherd to know all his flock. In the meantime, we shall begin by visiting the Episcopal City; then all the Missions throughout the Diocese. And how sweet will be the fatigues that will bring Us in the midst of you.

May God grant Us to walk before you in the Country as well as in the City, affording unto you the example of all Christian and Apostolical virtues; examples of faith, religion, humility, obedience, abnegation, charity, zeal; - example indeed is a language understood by all; its eloquence is most powerful: teaching by words is long - teaching by actions is short; words may move - examples subdue.
By the present Letter We renew the powers of all the Missionaries, and We feel happy to have this opportunity of apprising them that the Very Rev. J. Carroll, late Administrator of the Diocese, has willingly consented to continue with Us, as Vicar General, an administration which has proved so useful to the diocese and as laborious as it was honourable to him.

This letter will be read, at Mass, in all the Churches and Chapels on the first Sunday after its reception, and after Mass the three Pater, Ave, and Gloria Patri, already ordered by Our first letter, will be recited for the last time, with the intentions expressed in the present.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Missionaries on Wheels

May 18th is International Museum Day and we are also approaching Toronto Bike Month (today is National Bike to Work Day in the United States). So we thought it would be topical to feature a museum-style display we exhibited a few years ago featuring missionaries on two wheels.

ARCAT Staff Photo

"Missionaries on Wheels" archival display in the lobby of the Archdiocese of Toronto Catholic Pastoral Centre, September 2009.
The display features photographs and letters from the Pastoral Mission Fund. 

The Pastoral Mission Fund (PMF) is an charitable agency supported by Archdiocese of Toronto. It was established in 1982 "to assist missionary sisters and priests of parishes and indigenous orders with small projects and programs directly related to evangelization and strengthening of the Roman Catholic faith...[A]llocations are made in support of missionaries working at a grassroots level in the developing nations in Africa, India, Vietnam, South America, Haiti, and Oceania."

Allocations are commonly used to purchase bicycles, scooters and motorcycles. These vehicles provide the most efficient and economic way for missionaries to visit villages and outstations in their pastoral care. After receiving funding, the missionaries send back photographs and letters to the PMF as part of the reporting process.

Therefore, when the Archives receives records from the PMF, the files are full of photographs of missionary sisters and priests displaying their new wheels.

Here are some of the photos and extracts from letters that we featured in the display above:

This Victoria Day long weekend, visit one of the many museums, galleries and historic houses in the GTA. And remember to inflate your tires for Toronto Bike to Work day on May 28th!

Friday, 11 May 2018

Renewing the Promise

We thought Catholic Education Week was the perfect opportunity to share with you one of our favourite photos from our collection, which shows a group of very serious school children.

Group photograph of girls from St. Paul's School seated at their desks, c. 1905

Buckley Collection, PH 93S/76P
The theme for this year's Catholic Education Week, Renewing the Promise, reminds us of our call to service and positions this in the framework of Catholic Education. It seemed appropriate to share a photograph of a confirmation ceremony at St. Paul's School, where ties and promises to Christ are strengthened.

Group photograph of a girls' Confirmation class of St. Paul's School with Reverend John L. Hand, Pastor of St. Paul's Parish, in the middle. 1906
Buckley Collection, PH 93S/80P

Friday, 4 May 2018

Yes, you are the one I am calling!

Today the Archdiocese of Toronto invites you to say a prayer for vocations. A vocation is a call to dedicate your life to something; today we pray that men and women will hear the call to the religious life.

In May 1965, Pope Paul VI said,

"By vocations, in this context, we mean the free and privileged invitations to serve Christ completely and to love Him with a love of preference in positions specifically determined by Holy Church. They are vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life, in which it is clearly manifest that Christ is inviting, that He has implanted this desire, that He is waiting for a reply. For it is indeed Christ who is calling. As He did to the Apostles whom He Himself chose and formed, Jesus still repeats in this our day: "Come, follow me." It is the Shepherd who engages in a personal, and intimate, conversation that may well startle and even convince, for "He calls each one by name, nominatim:" Yes, you are the one I am calling! ...

"Let each one pause to consider that he has received the grace, the very great privilege of belonging to the Church, of being one of those who have been called; that he has his Christian vocation. And let each one of those who, realizing that he has received this sublime call, a call common to all, hear a more direct invitation, a deeper, a more exacting and more intimate call ... Vocation... is something which, today as in the past, may be a grace that is extended to many; to many souls who are aspiring for the better things of life, for perfection; to those who have an ardent desire for the salvation of their brothers; to many hearts who, no matter how humble, no matter how timid, feel within themselves that strength which renders all things not only possible, but easy. ...

"Let us pray that this may come to pass. Perhaps there are some who, listening to Our humble voice with their ears, hear within their hearts the voice of Christ the King who is calling to them. Let us pray that this may be so. We bestow a special blessing on all those who "hear the word of God and keep it." (Archbishop Pocock Fonds, PO CL26.35a)

If you need some extra inspiration for prayers, here are a few that Archbishop Pocock saved:

"A Prayer For Vocations by His Holiness, Pope Paul VI

O Jesus, Divine Shepherd of souls, who called the Apostles to become fishers of men, now call the ardent and generous hearts of our youth to make them Your followers and ministers. Let them share Your thirst for that universal redemption for which You daily renew Your Sacrifice upon the altar. O Lord Jesus, "always living to make intercession for us", extend our horizons to the entire world, where so many brethren make silent supplication for the light of truth and the warmth of love, so that answering Your call, many young men may prolong here Your mission, edify Your Mystical Body, the Church, and become "the salt of the earth and the light of the world".

"Extend, O Lord, Your loving call to many pure and generous-hearted young women, that they may grow in their desire for evangelical perfection and may dedicate themselves to the service of the Church and their neighbors who so desperately need such assistance and charity. Amen.

"(This prayer was composed by Pope Paul VI and is recommended to be said on Good Shepherd Sunday - World Day of Prayer for Vocations - and throughout the year.)"


PO CL26.35b
Archbishop Pocock Fonds
"Prayer for Vocations

"O God, Who wouldst have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of Thy truth: send, we beseech Thee, laborers into Thy harvest, and grant them grace with all boldness to speak Thy Word; so that Thy Word may run and be glorified, and all nations may know Thee the only God and Him Whom Thou hast sent, Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord. Who liveth and reigneth world without end. Amen"


PO SU52.06
Archbishop Pocock Fonds

"O My God, Thou who art the God of wisdom and of counsel, Thou who readest in my heart the sincere will to please Thee alone, and to govern myself with a regard to my choice of a state of life, entirely in conformity with Thy most Holy desire, grant me, by the intercession of the most Blessed Virgin, my Mother, and of my holy patrons, specially of St. Joseph and St. Aloysius, the grace to know what state I ought to choose, and when known to embrace it, so that in it I may be able to pursue and increase Thy glory, work out my salvation, and merit that heavenly reward which Thou hast promised to those who do Thy holy will. Amen."


PO SU52.07
Archbishop Pocock Fonds

And a poem!

"The Call of Christ

"So many others I might ask, 
Yet I am calling thee;
And wilt thou hesitate, My child,
To come and follow Me?

"I will repay each sacrifice:
The great ones and the small,
None shall be lost in heaven,
Where I am Judge of all.

"Come, I will make the burden light;
My yoke, a bondage sweet,
That shall bring gladness to they heart
And swiftness to thy feet.

"Come, give thy will and all to Me,
And live forevermore;
Each sacrifice thou makest now,
Within My Heart I'll store.

"And when life's pilgrimage is done,
With thee I'll keep My tryst;
In heaven's court thou shalt be called
The chosen friend of Christ.


PO SU52.01
Archbishop Pocock Fonds

For more information about vocations to religious life, check the website of the Archdiocese of Toronto's Office of Vocations, and the website of the National Association of Vocation and Formation Directors. If you'd like to spend time promoting vocations, check out the website of Serra Canada.