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