Showing respect for human dignity should never include the "false mercy" of helping someone prematurely end their life, Cardinal Thomas Collins told a packed audience Nov. 10 at the 37th annual Cardinal's Dinner in Toronto.
“This is holy ground,” Cardinal Thomas Collins declared as he rededicated St. Michael’s Cathedral, capping off a five-year, $128 million restoration of the 168-year-old home of Toronto’s Catholics.
TORONTO – Following a six-year, $128-million renovation St. Michael’s Cathedral is finally ready to open its doors, rededicate its altar and give thanks to God for its new life in the heart of Toronto.
My Dear Friends,
In the mid 1840s, Michael Power, the first bishop of Toronto, identified the need to construct a cathedral for his new diocese, in which at that time there were only 3,000 parishioners in the City of Toronto itself, and not many more beyond it. Bishop Power’s vision, one that he would not live to see fulfilled, was to pray, to serve and to evangelize throughout the vast region entrusted to his care. Before the cathedral was completed, however, he gave his life in caring for the sick Irish immigrants who came to Toronto in 1847.
The tradition of caring for the spiritual and pastoral needs of our community has continued in the Archdiocese of Toronto, following the example of Bishop Power. Since 1848, St. Michael’s Cathedral has served as the mother church of our archdiocese, now a community of about two million faithful. It is also both a parish church and a destination for pilgrims and tourists alike, with hundreds of thousands visiting the cathedral annually. Over the past several years, the church has undergone a significant restoration to return it to its original beauty, to expand its seating capacity and to preserve it so that it may be a beacon of faith, hope and love for generations to come.
Our cathedral connects every Catholic in the archdiocese, and gathers every pastoral and apostolic work under the heavenly patronage of our great defender in the struggle of life, the archangel Michael. We all need his intercession and protection more than ever.
In the pages that follow, you will learn more about the cathedral, its history and restoration. It is a powerful story of sacrifice, commitment and fidelity. To all those who have contributed to the restoration efforts through their labour, prayers and financial support, be assured of my profound gratitude.
It is my prayer that every Catholic family in the Archdiocese of Toronto take the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to St. Michael’s Cathedral: to pray, to deepen their faith, and to be inspired to witness to Christ Our Lord, in the spirit of those who have gone before us.
We pray that the cathedral will serve as a beautiful sign of God’s presence, a gathering place where the faithful, visitors and community at large are welcomed to enter and to be touched by the sacred, echoing the meaning of the name St. Michael: “Who is like God.” May the physical restoration of the cathedral become the foundation for our own spiritual revitalization.
St. Michael, patron of the Archdiocese of Toronto, pray for us!
Sincerely in Christ,
Archbishop of Toronto
There were times when Fr. Michael Busch feared for St. Michael’s Cathedral. For a few days in June 2015, the rector had to wonder whether the whole thing was about to fall down on top of him.
Marylake Shrine’s Rosary Path is now open for prayers. On Aug. 14 Cardinal Thomas Collins opened the path with a blessing of each of the 59 beads. Collins also celebrated Mass that day at the shrine with about 2,000 in attendance, many of whom provided the funding for the path.
Editor’s note: Toronto’s Cardinal Thomas Collins has long been a voice in the fight against assisted suicide in Canada. Following the passing of Bill-C-14 to legalize the process, the cardinal released the following statement on the bill’s passing.
Muslims and Christians came together May 20 to acknowledge their common history and ancient bonds as Toronto’s Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies awarded His Highness the Aga Khan with its highest degree.
TORONTO – Cardinal Thomas Collins, in ordaining the two newest members to the Toronto priestly fraternity, let them know that as priests they are called to be servants of their flock.
TORONTO - A statement from Cardinal Thomas Collins to be read in the Archdiocese of Toronto’s 225 parishes urges Catholics to oppose a “chilling” parliamentary committee report on assisted suicide that Collins said “should shock us to the core.”
In a presentation made Feb. 3 in Ottawa to the Special Joint Committee on Physician-assisted Dying, Cardinal Thomas Collins, appearing on behalf of the Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience, opposed physician-assisted suicide and urged lawmakers to protect the conscience rights of health-care providers. Here is a text of his submission.
BRAMPTON, ONT. - Almost seven years ago the Shakar family fled to Canada as war refugees from Iraq with little beyond the clothes on their backs.
OTTAWA - The upcoming federal law regarding physician-assisted death must respect the conscience rights of doctors and other health-care workers, Cardinal Thomas Collins told a Parliamentary committee.
TORONTO - For Manhal Al-Khsom, his wife and his three daughters, prayers for Christian unity are not prayers for some ideal Church of the future, but prayers for his family, his friends and for everything he left behind when he came to Canada last April.