Friday, 31 August 2018

Five Signs it's Back-to-School Time

It's hard to believe it's been five years since we launched this blog with a back-to-school post!

So, we thought we'd celebrate our Wooden Anniversary with Five Signs it's Back-to-School Time, illustrated with archival photographs from our collection...

Photographs Special Collection, School Series, PH30W/06P

#5: Children in brand new outfits being walked to school by their parents

Photograph of St. Margaret Mary Elementary School, Woodbridge, ca. 1960, by John Sexton for The Catholic Register

Photographs Special Collection, School Series, PH29S/06P

#4: Teachers waiting eagerly in the schoolyard to greet their classes

Photograph of priests (Monsignor Kenneth Robitaille, second from left) and Vincentian Sisters of Charity standing outside the new St. Boniface Elementary School, ca. 1960, by John Sexton for The Catholic Register.

Photographs Special Collection, School Series, PH29S/13P

#3: School Mass held outside or in the gymnasium

Archbishop of Toronto James C. McGuigan celebrates Mass at St. David's Elementary School, Toronto, in 1939.

Photographs Special Collection, School Series, PH29S/27P

#2: School Uniforms

Class photo of the "The Boys' Side" of St. Michael's Elementary School, ca. 1932, when enrollment included both boys and girls. In 1937, it became the home of St. Michael's Choir School for boys.

Unfortunately, the three piece suits with lace collars and boutonnières, as well as the girls' sailor collars seen in the St. David's photo above, have been replaced by the ubiquitous polo shirt. 

Photographs Special Collection, School Series, PH29S/26P

And the #1 sign it's Back-to-School time is...
...bumper to bumper parking during drop-off and pick-up times

Photograph of  St. Michael's Elementary School on Bond St., adjacent to the Cathedral. It now houses part of St. Michael's Choir School.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Happy 100th to Toronto's Catholic Deaf Ministry!

This Saturday, August 25, St. Francis de Sales Deaf Ministry marks 100 years of serving the Catholic deaf of our city.

It all started when, in 1918, Mother Mary Columbiere of the Loretto Sisters asked Archbishop Neil McNeil for spiritual guidance for a newly engaged couple, where one of the betrothed happened to be deaf.  Mother Columbiere was subsequently put in charge of the Religious Services for the Catholic Deaf, and with the assistance the Paulist Fathers of St. Peter’s Church, ensured there was weekly mass at the Loretto Abbey for the deaf.

While trying to find records that document the Deaf Ministry's spiritual and social services in Toronto, I uncovered records that demonstrate St. Francis de Sales Deaf Society's role in forming the International Catholic Deaf Association.

Meetings of the St. Francis de Sales Deaf Society of Toronto had become so well attended that it sponsored the creation of the Ontario Catholic Deaf Association. While the two operated separately, members of the St. Francis de Sales Society were active in the O.C.D.A.

By 1948, interest in O.C.D.A. events spread to American cities, and leaders of the O.C.D.A. proposed to have an International Catholic Deaf Conference. Plans for a conference were finalized with the blessing of Cardinal McGuigan for July of 1949. A resolution to establish the International Catholic Deaf Association was passed in 1951, and St. Francis de Sales Deaf Society was named Chapter No. 1. Another nod to Toronto was the naming of Cardinal McGuigan as Honorary Patron of the I.C.D.A., in recognition of all his work that made the I.C.D.A. possible

The First International Catholic Deaf Congress was hosted by the O.C.D.A. at Toronto’s King Edward Hotel.

ARCAT Parish Collection,/Deaf Ministry/Publications

The historic first conference, and Toronto's importance in the founding of the I.C.D.A., is emphasized in the Association's amazing ten year anniversary publication. "The Birth of the I.C.D.A. and its Progress", created by Colette Gabel and published by the members of the International Catholic Deaf Association was put together entirely by deaf people. As it describes in its post script, "The English text may seem odd to you in some keep intact as far as possible, the native charm of the deaf idiom"

"It all began in Canada..."

"The Birth of the I.C.D.A. and its Progress," c. 1961. By Collette Gabel, published by the Members of the International Catholic Deaf Association. pp 8-9.

Parish Collection/Deaf Ministry/International Catholic Deaf Association & St. Francis de Sales Catholic Deaf Society/General Correspondence 1963-1973 

The International Catholic Deaf Association still exists, with each country now holding their own annual national conference. Toronto is hosting Canada's National Conference this year from August 22 to August 26, 2018.

Visit the Archdiocese of Toronto's website to learn more about the history of St. Francis de Sales Deaf Community and its current ministry.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Body and Soul in Celestial Glory

Cardinal McGuigan leads a procession at Notre-Dame-du-Cap Shrine in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, on the Feast of the Assumption, 15 August, 1950. The church is Canada's national shrine to St. Mary.

PH 09N/04P
ARCAT Photograph Collection

On 15 August we marked the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, the day on which we celebrate God taking Mary, body and soul, directly to heaven at the end of her earthly life. Though Catholics have believed in the Assumption for centuries, it was not official doctrine of the Church until 1950, when Pope Pius XII defined the 'Dogma of the Assumption.' 

The 2 November, 1950 issue of The Globe and Mail explained, 
"Vatican officials said that a world-wide movement for that dogma was started in 1863 by the initiative of Queen Isabel of Spain. From that time the Vatican has received 2,600 petitions from cardinals, archbishops and bishops; 83,000 from members of the secular and religious clergy, and 8,000,000 from Catholic laymen. Pope Pius referred to these requests and said that they had become so numerous that on May 1, 1946, he decided to ask all bishops whether "your clergy and the faithful so desire." The replies were almost unanimously in the affirmative, the Pope said."

Here in the archives, we have a copy of the letter that Pope Pius XII wrote to the bishops: 

Deiparae Virginis Mariae

"In order that We may receive the gift of heavenly light, do you, Venerable Brethren, in pious competition, unite your entreaties with Ours. But, while paternally exhorting you to do this, thus following the example of Our Predecessors, and particularly that of Pius IX when about to define the dogma of the Mother of God's Immaculate Conception, we earnestly beg you to inform us about the devotion of your clergy and people (taking into account their faith and piety) toward the Assumption of the most Blessed Virgin Mary. More especially We wish to know if you, Venerable Brethren, with your learning and prudence consider that the bodily Assumption of the Immaculate Blessed Virgin can be proposed and defined as a dogma of faith, and whether in addition to your own wishes this is desired by your clergy and people."

1 May 1946

MG RC268.09
Cardinal McGuigan Fonds

Cardinal McGuigan was an ardent advocate of the dogma and had received many letters of support from clergy in the archdiocese. He replied to the pope's letter via telegram in August: 

"With heart overflowing spiritual joy have received Encyclical letter asking for expression opinion definition dogma Assumption Blessed Lady. Glad recall to Your Holiness occasion taking possession Titular Church Santa Maria Del Populo publicly expressed hope and ardent wish that this common belief faithful be solemnly proclaimed in these words: "What exulting joy would fill our hearts if, as Pius IX proclaimed her Immaculate Conception, it were the will of God that our present Pontiff, Pope Pius XII, should give to Mary her most radiant crown, and amidst the jubilation of the Church Universal, solemnly affirm the dogma of her Assumption into Heaven and declare her the Queen of Angels and of Saints, the mediatrix of all graces, the co-redemptress of mankind."

"Hence in the name clergy, religious, faithful express most ardent desire that Your Holiness declare corporal Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary Dogma of our Holy Faith. 

"On this glorious feast, all diocesans pray that she may indercede with her Divine Son for your continued health, strength and happiness. May God through her loving intercession preserve you to give serene courage and spiritual fortitude of soul to all who join you throughout the world in preserving precious heritage in Holy Faith." 

14 August, 1946

MG RC268.19
Cardinal McGuigan Fonds 

Cardinal McGuigan wrote a pastoral letter to the faithful of the archdiocese explaining the importance of devotion and prayer to Mary:

"The solemn definition of the dogma of the Assumption may well be one of the predestined ways of increasing devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and thus bringing down God's mercy to save mankind from the abyss to which it seems rushing, body and soul ... It is my most earnest wish that the faithful of the Archdiocese of Toronto, priests, religious, and laity, engage in a crusade of prayer that the Supreme Magisterium of the Catholic Church should soon give this glorious tribute to the Mother of God. St. peter, the first Pope, preaching on the day of Pentecost and proclaiming the truth of Our Divine Lord's Resurrection, applied the words of the psalmist, that God would not suffer His Holy One to see corruption. The three great prerogatives of Mary are her sinlessness, her charity or union with God, and Her royalty or Queenship over the universe. It is on these prerogatives that we base our belief that her body, from which the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity took His flesh, was not left in the tomb but was reanimated by her soul, full of grace, and was raised to Heaven by the side of Her Divine Son, where she reigns as Queen of Angels and of Saints and as Mother of all mankind through whom God bestows the treasures of His grace.

"Let us pray, then, for this special intention, that the dogma of the Assumption may be defined by the Church for the glory of God and the greater honour and love of His Mother among the faithful on earth. Let us strive in every way to increase our devotion to Mary, which simply means love of our Heavenly Mother. The Gospel tells us that the wise men from the East found Jesus with Mary His Mother, and assuredly we shall always find Jesus when we go to Mary."

14 August 1946

MG DA02.347
Cardinal McGuigan Fonds

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII spoke ex cathedra in St. Peter's Square. The next day, The Globe and Mail described it this way:
"Pope Pius XII today proclaimed the dogma of the assumption. The pontiff spoke ex-cathedra as the supreme pastor of the church and the teacher of Catholic doctrine during an open-air ceremony of unprecedented pomp and magnificence to an audience of 36 cardinals and 480 archbishops and bishops in the grandiose setting of St. Peter's Square.
"A crowd of 200,000 faithful, including Holy Year pilgrims from so many countries that they could truly be said to represent the whole Catholic world, packed every inch of space of the oval-shaped square, which had been transformed for the occasion into a vast Christian temple.
""We pronounce, declare and define to be a dogma, revealed by God: That the immaculate Mother of God, Mary, ever a virgin, at the end of her earthly life, was taken up into celestial glory, in soul and body," the Pope said."

The new dogma and the reasoning behind it were published:

"Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination, immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages."

1 November, 1950

MG PS132.03
Cardinal McGuigan Fonds

To get a sense of the scale of the proclamation of the Assumption, check out the video posted by the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec (BAnQ). See if you can spot Cardinal McGuigan!

Friday, 10 August 2018

All fired up for St. Lawrence

Photographs Special Collection, Slide #133-5A

Front entrance of St. Lawrence Martyr Parish on Lawrence Avenue, Scarborough, 1991.
The mosaic depicts the parish's patron with the instrument of his martyrdom, the gridiron.

Today is the feast day of St. Lawrence, a well known martyr of the early Roman Church.

St. Lawrence was one of the seven deacons of the city of Rome, under Pope Sixtus II, who were martyred when the Emperor Valerian ordered the persecution of Christians in 258 A.D. He was killed on August 10th of that year.

If his hagiography is anything to go by, St. Lawrence was also one of the Church's earliest comedians (which is why we took liberties with the title of this post): as he was being roasted alive on a gridiron, he supposedly called out to his torturers something to the effect of, "Turn me over, I'm done on this side." He is now the patron saint of the barbeque and cooks.

Celebrate St. Lawrence's feast day with a barbeque tonight! And if you go camping this month, say a little prayer over your campfire as you roast your hot dogs and marshmallows.

Photographs Special Collection, PH 26 Series 2.2

Seminarians from St. Augustine's Seminary sit around a campfire on the beach at the base of the Scarborough Bluffs, 1950s.
At you next campfire cookout this summer, say a prayer to St. Lawrence Martyr:

O glorious Saint Lawrence, Martyr and Deacon, who, being subjected to the most bitter torments, didst not lose thy faith nor thy constancy in confessing Jesus Christ, obtain in like manner for us such an active and solid faith, that we shall never be ashamed to be true followers of Jesus Christ, and fervent Christians in word and in deed. Amen.

Photographs Special Collection, PH 102/0022/08P

There is one parish in the Archdiocese of Toronto dedicated to St. Lawrence Martyr, shown here in the late 1960s (photo by John Sexton for the Catholic Register). The parish was founded in 1959. Construction of the church started in 1960 and the official blessing took place on May 21, 1961.
The church was designed by architect James Haffa in the Romanesque style. St. Lawrence is also the patron saint of Rome.
See the church today.

Of course, fires are no laughing matter and this has been a terrible summer for wildfires raging across the country, especially in British Columbia and Ontario.

St. Lawrence is also the patron saint of firefighters. Take a moment on this feast day to pray for the safety of our firefighters and give thanks for their selfless fortitude.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Happy Sisters' Day!

The first Sunday of August every year is celebrated around the world as Sisters’ Day. The day is set aside to honour the special bond a person shares with a sister, and all that they do to encourage and motivate us.

The sisterly love Cardinal McGuigan's sister, Mother St. George, C.N.D., had for her brother is tangible in the scrapbook she kept to commemorate his appointment as Archbishop to Toronto. She was clearly proud of all that her brother had accomplished and held those memories, "traced in purple ink", close to her heart.
Scrapbook of Abp. McGuigan 1935 kept by Mother St. George, C.N.D., (The Cardinal's Sister deceased 1951)

ARCAT Scrapbook Collection Box 7 Item #9

"In this scrap book I have preserved memories that will be unforgettable.

My trip to Toronto is traced with purple ink in the depths of my mind. I left Villa Maria Tuesday afternoon March 19 1935 at 2:30pm with Sister Saint Agnes, the mother Superior and my darling Mother to witness the installation of my brother as Archbishop of Toronto. We arrived at Windsor station and boarded the train for Toronto at three o’clock. My dear uncle Father McGuigan and cousin Father Murphy traveled with us. We arrived in Toronto at 9:30pm.

I could never have conceived the joy and happiness that was mine at the installation scene at St. Michael’s Cathedral Wednesday night. Not only did the impressing of the many ceremonials fill my heart and soul with transports of jubilation – but it also gave me a greater appreciation of the grandeur and dignity of Holy Mother Church. Among the most touching incidents apart from the Archbishop’s tribute to his dear Mother was meeting with the Apostolic Delegate who thanked my mother in the name of the Holy Father for giving such a worth son to the church. This took place in my brother’s study, Wednesday p.m., awaiting his arrival.

With Bossuet, I for many, exclaim:  O Holy Roman Church, Mother of Churches, and Mother of all the faithful, to thee do we cling, thee will we ever obey. If I forget this, O Holy Church, let my right hand be forgotten, let my tongue cleave to my jaw, if I do not remember thee, if I do not make thee the beginning of all my joy

ARCAT Scrapbook Collection Box 7 Item #9
Mother St. George arrives to the ceremony with her mother to witness the installation of her brother as Archbishop of Toronto.

ARCAT Scrapbook Collection Box 7 Item #9

 "Spring flowers that decorated tables at Notre Dame Luncheon, Sunday March 24"

ARCAT Scrapbook Collection Box 7 Item #9