Saturday: 4:30 p.m.
Sunday: 8:30 a.m., 11 a.m.
Monday to Friday: 12 noon (at Good Shepherd Centre across the street,
412 Queen St.)
Reconciliation: 4:00-4:30 p.m. (Saturday)
St. Paul's, founded in 1822, was the first Roman
Catholic parish in Upper Canada between Kingston and Windsor. It was hence
the first Roman Catholic parish in York, which is now Toronto, and in the
wide region beyond. It was built at the outskirts of the small but growing
settlement of the present Toronto, which, for less than three decades, had
clustered between Fort York, the waterfront, farmlands and the vast forest.
From the outset St. Paul's has served a multicultural population, with a
particular concern for the poor and for the education of their children.
This first Catholic parish immediately founded the first Catholic school.
Most of the early parishioners were Irish, although there were some French
and Scottish people, and perhaps others, among them. From that time to the
present, St. Paul's has served a highly diverse population, many of them
immigrants from every part of the world who have come to Canada to build a
When, in 1842, the Diocese of Toronto was separated
from the Diocese of Kingston and became a separate entity, St. Paul's was
the informal first Cathedral of the new diocese, being the seat of Bishop
Michael Power until the 1848 completion of St.
Michael's Cathedral. In 1889, the need for the expanding congregation
prompted the expansion into the present Italian Renaissance-Style church.
It was designed by the Architect, Joseph Connelly, under the inspiration of
the then Pastor Bishop Timothy O'Mahony. Its plan is patterned on that of
the Major Basilica in Rome, St. Paul's Outside the Walls. In 1999, St.
Paul's Church has undergone a much-needed process of restoration and
refitting for continued service.
On August 26 in the same year,
Pope John Paul
II conferred upon the church the title of a
Minor Basilica, the first and only
one in Toronto. The title of Minor Basilica indicates a tie with the Church
of Rome and the Pope. To be so designated, a church must be, among other
things, a centre of liturgical worship and pastoral work in the Archdiocese,
and have a particular historical or other significance.