Friday, 28 June 2019

Happy Canada Day!

We’re all looking forward to celebrating Canada Day this weekend, and what better way to mark the occasion than a good meal with good friends.

Barbecues and parties are popular ways to celebrate any summer holiday, which could be problematic for Catholics if the occasion falls on a Friday. Canon Law states that abstinence from meat should be observed on Fridays throughout the year.

Such was the problem in 1927 when the country was gearing up to celebrate the Jubilee of Confederation. Luckily the Holy See granted Canadian Catholics a dispensation from abstinence for Canada Day, meaning they were free to eat, drink and be merry.
Holy See grants Canadian Catholics dispensation from abstinence for Friday July 1st . June 21, 1927

Between 40,000 and 50,000 people turned up in person to celebrate the jubilee on Parliament Hill. Celebrations included music, poetry readings and speeches, and broadcast across the country by the CBC. You can listen to part of the broadcast, and learn more about the1927 Jubilee occasion, here.

MN DS29.02

Archbishop McNeil Roman Correspondence Files

We don't have to worry about abstinence getting in the way of Canada Day this year, so get out there and celebrate!

Enjoy the long weekend! Happy Canada Day!

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

Photograph Collection
PH 102/0008/16P

Photograph of the interior front of Corpus Christi Church

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!

Friday, 14 June 2019

Devotion to the Sacred Heart

The month of June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart; this year we celebrate its feast day on June 28. Evidence of devotion to the Sacred Heart began in medieval Europe, when Christ's wounded heart was seen as a sign of his divine love for humanity. After St. Margaret Mary Alacoque described apparitions of Jesus encouraging her to the devotion, its popularity began to spread and official approval increased. Bishop Power consecrated the Diocese of Toronto to the Sacred Heart in his first pastoral letter in 1842. In 1899, Pope Leo XIII consecrated the human race to the Sacred Heart in his encyclical Annum Sacrum, writing,
"And since there is in the Sacred Heart a symbol and a sensible image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love one another, therefore it is fit and proper that we should consecrate ourselves to His most Sacred Heart - an act which is nothing else than an offering and a binding of oneself to Jesus Christ, seeing that whatever honor, veneration and love is given to this divine Heart is really and truly given to Christ Himself." 
Today we are sharing a few items from the archives that instruct the faithful in their devotion to the Sacred Heart.

In his 1928 encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor, Pope Pius XI discussed the concept of reparation. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us, yet we often repay him with sin. Through devotion to the Sacred Heart, we can begin to make amends.
"There is surely no doubting, Venerable Brethren, that from this devotion piously established and commanded to the whole Church, many excellent benefits will flow forth not only to individual men but also to society, sacred, civil, and domestic, seeing that our Redeemer Himself promised to Margaret Mary that "all those who rendered honor to His Heart would be endowed with an abundance of heavenly graces."     
The Reparation Due to the Sacred Heart: Encyclical of His Holiness Pope Pius XI.

The cover of this encyclical features of typical depiction of the Sacred Heart, flaming and topped by a cross. Other depictions show it pierced by an arrow or with a crown of thorns.

May 8, 1928

MN PS 110.01
Archbishop McNeil Fonds 

Another concept associated with the Sacred Heart is consecration. In this leaflet, Cardinal McGuigan sanctioned instructions for consecrating families to the Sacred Heart with the following prayer:
"O Jesus, Who didst make known to Saint Margaret Mary the desire of Thy Sacred Heart to reign over Christian homes, we wish to proclaim today Thy absolute dominion over our hearts and home. We desire henceforth to make our lives one with Thine, to keep ourselves free from that spirit of worldliness which Thou hast condemned, to practice those virtues which bring peace and happiness to Catholic homes. Vouchsafe to establish Thy reign over our lives. Enlighten our minds with a spirit of faith and Christian simplicity, fill our hearts with an ardent love for Thee, and through the Sacrament of Thy Love bring us day by day into closer union with Thy Sacred Heart. Grant, in virtue of this consecration to Thy Sacred Heart, that faith, charity, zeal in prayer, temperance, and domestic tranquility, may flourish in our home, and that each of us may shun the allurements of vice and whatever is foul and unwholesome in human life. 
"Deign, O Divine Heart, to preside over our home, to bless our enterprises both spiritual and temporal, to dispel our cares, to sanctify our joys, to lighten our trials and sorrows. If ever one or other of us should have the misfortune to offend Thee, remind him, O Heart of Jesus, that Thou art good and merciful to the penitent sinner. And, when the hour of separation strikes, when death comes to cast his shadow over our home, help us all, both those who go and those who stay, to accept with resignation Thy eternal decrees. Strengthen us in that hour of sorrow with the firm hope that all the members of our family may be united again in heaven to share in Thy glory and to sing Thy praises forever. 
"May the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the glorious Patriarch Saint Joseph present this consecration to Thee. Through it may our thoughts, our words, our deeds, be directed to Thy greater honor and glory all the days of our lives. Amen. All praise to the Heart of Jesus, our King and our Father!"
The Consecration of Families to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
""I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be set up and honored" is one of the promises which Our Lord made to us through Saint Margaret Mary."


MG TA01.411
Cardinal McGuigan Fonds

In this 1873 letter which was read at all of the churches in the Archdiocese, Archbishop Lynch instructed the faithful in appropriate actions for devotion to the Sacred Heart such as the creation of confraternities, and pilgrimages. He wrote, 
"We call upon all true Christians, especially of our Diocese, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to heed the invitation, and conform themselves to the intentions of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1. To repent sincerely for all their past sins, and to confess them humbly, that they may receive pardon for them. 2. To make a return of love to this most Divine Heart by receiving Him in the most Blessed Eucharist, and to repair past ingratitude and coldness by frequently receiving our Divine Lord in this banquet of love. 3. To make amends by frequent adoration for the irreverence and contempt, with which He is treated in the Holy Sacrament, and that these acts may be permanent and continuous, we exhort them to join the Confraternity of the Sacred Heart for perpetual adoration."
Pastoral Letter of His Grace, the Archbishop of Toronto, on Devotion to the Sacred Heart

"The devotion to the most sacred Heart of Jesus is a devotion to our lord Jesus Christ Himself personally."


L AA11.20
Archbishop Lynch Fonds

"All hail to the Heart of Jesus, our King and Father!"

Friday, 7 June 2019

Disarrangement and Discovery in the Archives

Arrangement and description are crucial components to our work as archivists. We organize and maintain the order of the records and then describe their context and contents to make them accessible.

This means that you rarely find “hidden treasures” in an archives. Our goal is to have records arranged and described in such a way that anyone would be able to find an item. Nevertheless, there are instances where a collection wasn’t properly arranged or described, and we unearth items we didn’t know we had, or didn’t know would be so interesting. 

This happened not too long ago when we found this intriguing scrapbook for St. Ann’s Parish, Penetanguishene, in a not-so-obvious part of our collection.

Select pages from the St. Ann's parish scrapbook, showing correspondence, photographs, and  newsclippings

HO 53.16

ARCAT Special Collections

The scrapbook is made from a converted collection register, containing historical articles, newspaper clippings, correspondence (parish affairs, invitations), broad sheets and photographs pertaining to Catholic activity in Huronia into the 1920s.

Most records we have for parishes can typically be found in our Parish Collection. Files in our parish collection are arranged and described first according to the parish, and then according to functions and activities (parish history, publications, construction and renovation, etc.).

The scrapbook, however, is not part of the parish collection, and has been included as part of our holograph series in our Special Collections. The holograph series is a puzzling assortment of bound, handwritten volumes, including anything from account ledgers to journals. To make matters even more confusing, we also have an entirely separate scrapbook series as part of our special collections.

Maintaining the original order of records and following standards such as RAD help archivists avoid unclear organization in their collections. Sorting out the kinks in our special collections is going to take some time, but we look forward to seeing what else we uncover.

In the meantime, here are some more pages from the Penetanguishene scrapbook:

HO 53.16

ARCAT Special Collections

 Find out more about our holdings on our website.