Friday, 15 September 2017

Record of the Week: Greetings From Sunny Egypt!

It's the time of year when we are remembering fondly what we did on our summer vacations. If you look on Facebook or visit with friends you are sure to see lots of travel photographs. Recently, we opened a box and found these great snaps of Cardinal Carter in Egypt. Though we don't know the context of the trip, we can still enjoy these retro images.

Cardinal Carter shows off his camel-riding skills in front of the Great Pyramid at Giza, with the Pyramid of Khafre in the background.

[ca. 1964-1978]
ARCAT Photographs Collection

What's better than a stroll by the Nile? Though we usually see bishops in black cassocks, they are permitted to wear white in hot climates.

[ca. 1964-1979]
ARCAT Photographs Collection

The Great Sphinx of Giza and the Great Pyramid are imposing figures in the background.

[ca. 1964-1979]
ARCAT Photographs Collection

Friday, 8 September 2017

In Memory of Archbishop Pocock

Earlier this week marked the 33rd anniversary of the death of the ninth Ordinary to the Archdiocese of Toronto, the Most Reverend Philip Francis Pocock. The former Archbishop of Toronto died on September 6, 1984, at the age of 78.

Photographs Collection, PH 14/08P

A prayer card that would have been distributed at Archbishop Pocock's funeral mass, September 10, 1984.
Archbishop Pocock joined the Archdiocese of Toronto as Coadjutor Archbishop on February 18, 1961, and succeeded to the See of Toronto upon Cardinal McGuigan’s resignation on March 30, 1971.

As archbishop, Pocock established the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council and Senate of Priests to help manage the transitions that followed Vatican II and created Sharelife to replace the Council of Catholic Charities.

On April 27, 1978, Archbishop Pocock resigned as archbishop and took up residence at St. Mary's Parish in Brampton. Here he remained active as a priest, performing regular parish duties, celebrating mass at elementary schools, confirming students, and visiting a senior citizens' home.
Archbishop Pocock died on September 6, 1984. His funeral took place at St. Michael’s Cathedral on September 10th, and he was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, Thornhill.

Archbishop Pocock Fonds, PO AA49.02

A handwritten note from Cardinal Carter in response to the outpouring of condolences following Archbishop Pocock's death, 1984

Although his time as See of Toronto was short, Archbishop Pocock has a lasting legacy in the Archdiocese. You can read more about Archbishop's religious life and archdiocesan achievements on our website.


Friday, 1 September 2017

Sartorial Conflicts in a Frontier Diocese

It's back to school time, which means back to stricter routines, rules and regulations. Inevitably, some students will rebel against their Catholic school uniforms and some teachers will struggle to rein them in.

It seems that Catholic uniforms have been a source of conflict since the very beginnings of our diocese. Clerical dress - the cassock and collar - was a major point of contention between our first bishop, Michael Power, and the priests that served under him.

And if you thought your teachers were strict about uniforms, you should read about Bishop Michael Power.

A Frontier Bishop

Michael Power was appointed the first Bishop of the Diocese of Toronto on December 17, 1841. He was essentially charged with establishing the Catholic Church in what could be hostile, frontier territory. The Diocese of Toronto originally encompassed the western half of present day Ontario, which was largely Protestant.

Shortly after arriving in Toronto, Bishop Power held the first Diocesan Synod, establishing the policies and regulations for his new diocese. He believed that strong and visible priestly leadership would strengthen the local Church. Article 17 of the Diocesan Regulations stipulated that priests must wear clerical dress:
We enjoin all priests that they use the cassock and surplice in undertaking every sacred function, especially in their own Churches. The cassock also they are to wear resolutely, as far as may be possible, always in their place of residence…it will help not a little if the Collar which, suitable to presbyters, is called by Benedict XIV “the badge of Priests,” is worn by all everywhere.  

Photographs Collection, PH 25/23AL

Carte de visite portrait of Rev. William Richard Harris wearing proper clerical dress, consisting of black cassock and white collar. 
Photograph by Lemaitre, Toronto, ca. 1870s 

The cassock is a long-sleeved, hoodless garment that covers the entire body from neck to ankle. Traditionally the cassock is fastened down the front by 33 buttons to represent the 33 years of Christ’s life and has 5 buttons on each sleeve to represent the 5 wounds of Christ. The cassock is also called soutane, from the Italian word sottana meaning “beneath”, as the cassock may be worn beneath a mantle, surplice or liturgical vestments. The Latin term, vestis talaris, means "ankle-length garment."

Some priests did not relish the idea of wearing clerical dress in public, which identified them as easy targets in Protestant towns. Bishop Power was unsympathetic; he insisted that Diocesan Regulations be followed to the letter, especially Article 17.

In the spring of 1844, Bishop Power wrote to his vicar-general in Hamilton, Rev. William Peter MacDonald, to inquire about the state of dress in that area of the diocese. MacDonald replied that “the dress worn here is as clerical as it can be as much so as that worn by our clergy in Rome,” implying that even in the Eternal City priests were not held to such sartorial standards. Bishop Power responded,
We are not here, Rev’d Sir, either in Rome or in Spain but in the Diocese of Toronto…You are therefore hereby commanded under the penalty of suspension to wear habitually … the Sutan [sic.], vestem talarem, in the Town of Hamilton and in your own house. (ARCAT, LB02.156, 4 May 1844)

Letterbook, LB02.156,
Excerpt from Bishop Power to Very Rev. William Peter MacDonald, Hamilton, 4 May 1844

I must remark that I gave you a very pointed hint in my letter of the 22nd of last February in the following terms: "Will you be so kind as to enquire whether the Clergy of the neighbouring Missions habitually wear the ecclesiastical dress.... I am determined to see all the rules of the diocese rigidly enforced and I shall be the first to set an example of their observance to those who serve in the ministry under me." To this you replied on the 26th of the same month: "the dress worn here is as clerical as it can be: as much so as that worn by our own clergy in Rome: the gown always when officiating and the long black surtout on other occasions." We are not here, Rev'd Sir, either in Rome or in Spain but in the Diocese of Toronto: the 17th Article of the diocesan constitutions adopted without the slightest objection in open Synod, by the whole Clergy, of which you were one, contains the following enactment: Veste etiam talari constantes, quatinus fini possit, gerant sacerdotis, semper in loco residentia." You are therefore herby commanded under the penalty of suspension to wear habitually after the 12th day of this month, the sutan, vestem talarem in the Town of Hamilton and in your own house. You must moreover adopt the whole article as your rule of conduct.

In the Archives we have Bishop Power's letterbook, where copies of outgoing correspondence were recorded. Letters written to non-compliant priests attest to the ongoing conflict over clerical dress. Here are two examples:

Letterbook, LB02.104,
Excerpt from Bishop Power to Rev. Patrick O'Dwyer, London, 30 September 1843

I am determined whatever may be the consequences to individuals that all the Regulations and Statutes passed in the diocesan Synod be strictly observed. I therefore call your attention to the 17th concerning the clerical dress: If I find that you do not conform to it, I make it your rule, and I shall order you to do so under the penalty of suspension to be incurred ipso facto...

Letterbook, LB02.108
Excerpt from Bishop Power to Rev. Michael Robert Mills, St. Thomas, 30 September 1843

I often remarked to you that your ordinary dress is not by any means clerical. I therefore hereby command you to conform yourself to the 17th Article of the diocesan Regulations, otherwise I will order you to do so under the penalty of suspension to be incurred ipso facto... I have it in my power to ascertain whether submission be paid to my commands or not. Be on you guard and follow strictly the 17th article of the Statutes. 

This year, as we continue to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Toronto, let us also remember the struggles that our early bishops and clergy endured to build the Church in English- speaking Canada.

This post was reworked from a display that ARCAT installed in the lobby at the Catholic Pastoral Centre in 2010.
The cassock, as modelled by Bishop Michael Power, and biretta are from our textile collection. 

Friday, 25 August 2017

200 Church: Toronto's Catholic Palace

It's our 200th post, so we thought we would talk about another important 200: 200 Church Street, aka St. Michael's Palace, aka the Cathedral Rectory. Since it was first opened in 1846, many bishops and other clergy have resided there. It has been said that the Palace is one of the oldest buildings in Toronto that has continually been in use for its original purpose. When the Palace was first built its residents were outside of the bustle of downtown, but now they are in the thick of it. 

We don't have any images of the Palace from its earliest days, but here's how it looked in 1932:
St. Michael's Cathedral Rectory


PH 102/001/15P
ARCAT Photo Collection

In its location next to the Cathedral, St. Michael's Palace has been the scene of Papal greetings, celebrations, picnics, study, reflection, and prayer. Here's the menu from Archbishop Walsh's jubilee dinner held on site:
A menu for the dinner served at the Palace in honour of Archbishop Walsh's jubilee

November 10, 1892

Through receipts and ledgers we can learn a little about what life was like for those living at the Palace. There are receipts for groceries, coal, and other supplies. We have an 1870s inventory of the dishes on hand (there were 12 heavy silver table spoons, but only 11 teaspoons). Below is a list of receipts and expenditures for August, 1877:
St. Michael's Palace Day Book, August 1877. We can see that $1.20 was spent on one dozen beer.

HO 06.29
ARCAT Holograph Collection

You can read more about the history and character of the building in the booklet below which was written by architectural historian Christopher Thomas for the occasion of the 1982 dedication of the historical plaque that stands in front of the rectory:

Thanks to our readers for sticking with us through 200 posts, and we look forward to the next 200!

Friday, 18 August 2017

On this Day: the Ordination of Bishop Michael Power

One-Hundred and Ninety years ago on August 19th, fifteen years before the Archdiocese of Toronto was created and hundreds of kilometres north-east of the Town of York, our first Bishop, Michael Power, was ordained a priest.

Born in 1804 to Irish immigrants in Halifax, Bishop Power was only 12 years old when he began his studies for priesthood at the Seminary of St. Sulpice in Montreal. He was only 23 years old when he finished his training at the Seminary of Quebec. He would have several pastoral appointments in Quebec before being consecrated as the first Bishop of Toronto in 1842.

This week’s blog post features a copy of a letter written just before Bishop Power's ordination took place. The letter is addressed to Archbishop Panet of the Archdiocese of Quebec from the auxiliary Bishop J.J. Lartigue.



"According to your wishes, I ordained Mr Power as deacon last Sunday; and Monseigneur the Bishop of New York, who arrived here before yesterday, shall ordain him priest
This Mr. Power will suit me well enough [...] and I must always have an Irish Priest with me (at my place), especially for the needs of various parts of my district."

P AA02.03
Bishop Power Fonds

The letter records an important milestone in Bishop Power's religious life. It is also an early testimony of the strong relationship between Bishop Power and the Irish community that became part of his lasting legacy. It reveals a small but significant moment in our timeline, and is surely an event that should be remembered as we celebrate and reflect on the history of our Archdiocese.

You can find out more about Bishop Michael Power on our website.


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Record of the Week: Archbishop Walsh's episcopal ring?

Provenance is a fundamental organizing principle in archives. It refers to the individual, family, or organizational body that created or accumulated material in a collection. The principle of provenance dictates that records of the same origins be kept together to preserve their context, rather than grouping items of various origins together by subject (the way books are catalogued) or medium (as artworks may be).

As provenance is intrinsic to our profession, it is very frustrating to be faced with an item whose previous owner cannot be identified. With textual records, there are often clues, but an artifact without accompanying documentation can be a real mystery.

Last year, custodianship of some of our former bishops' rings was transferred from the Chancery Office to the Archives. Unfortunately, it was not clear as to which of our bishops these rings had belonged.

A Roman Catholic bishop receives an episcopal ring when he is consecrated. Aside from those personally purchased or gifted, bishops' rings belong to the Church. The ordinary of a See inherits the previous bishop's ring collection, which is held in trust. A bishop may be buried with a ring that he owned, but all those belonging to the Church must be returned upon his death. Bishops may also choose an episcopal ring formerly worn by a predecessor, which can further obscure its provenance.

Accession 2016-047

Rose gold episcopal ring with a large amethyst, flanked on either shoulder with a mitre, cross and crozier.
On the gemstone is etched a dove holding a branch embellished with tiny diamonds.
Accession 2016-047

Inside the band is engraved: Nov. 10-1867 and Nov. 10-1890

From this tradition, we can conclude that the episcopal rings transferred to the archives were likely worn by a bishop that retired or died in Toronto. One of the rings in question has two dates engraved on the band: "Nov. 10-1867 and Nov. 10-1890". The former is a significant date to only one of our ordinaries: Archbishop John Walsh was consecrated bishop on that day, after being appointed Bishop of Sandwich (i.e. Windsor), the former seat of the Diocese of London, Ontario.

Case closed? Not quite.

Most Reverend Walsh was appointed Archbishop of Toronto on August 13, 1889 (coincidentally, 128 years ago today) and installed here on November 27, 1889. Therefore, the second date seems to have little significance to Archbishop Walsh. The word "and" in the engraving suggests (at least to me) that the dates refer to the same person rather than a subsequent wearer.  In any case, November 10, 1890 does not pertain to any of our other bishops.

To determine if the ring was ever worn by Walsh, we checked his official portraits taken in London and in Toronto. Unfortunately, it's not a match. The ring in the photos seems to have a large central stone encircled by a halo of small diamonds. The setting is lower than that of our mystery ring.

ARCAT Photographs Collection, PH 05/01P

Carte de visite portrait of Most Reverend Walsh, Bishop of Sandwich (and then London, when he move the seat of his See back there) by Frank Cooper, Artistic Photographer, Dundas St., London, Ontario [ca. 1880?]

ARCAT Photographs Collection, PH 05/02P

Carte de visite portrait of Most Reverend Walsh, Bishop of Sandwich, by Edy Bros. photographers, 214 Dundas St., London, Ontario [ca. 1870?]

ARCAT Photographs Collection, PH 05/13P

Portrait of Most Reverend John Walsh, Archbishop of Toronto, seated, and Apostolic Delegate to Canada, Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val, who was a Monsignor at the time. Taken in Toronto, 1897. The sign under the chair states:

"Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year 1897, by Frederick Lyonde, at the Department of Agriculture"

The mystery ring is certainly larger and more ornate that the ring he is wearing in the portraits, which is probably the ring from his consecration gifted by the Toronto clergy. Most Reverend Walsh began his career in Toronto and was much respected by his fellow priests. According to the Jubilee Volume 1842-1892 of Archbishop Walsh and the Archdiocese of Toronto, the clergy presented "a mitre, crozier, pectoral cross and ring" to "their dearly beloved brother."

Though the photos do not confirm that our mystery ring belonged to Archbishop Walsh, they do not remove the possibility either. Bishops may own multiple episcopal rings, and they are a common gift. Fancier ones may be saved for special occasions rather than everyday use.

One could speculate that he was given this ring to mark his elevation to archbishop on the anniversary of his consecration date. November 10, 1890 would have marked the first anniversary of Walsh's consecration that he celebrated as Archbishop of Toronto. Although it would have been more appropriate to bestow an archbishop's ring on Walsh at his Installation Mass in 1889 (or, for that matter, in the Jubilee year of 1892 when the diocese turned 50 and Walsh celebrated 25 years of ordination), it is not completely outside the realm of possibility.

Until further information comes to light, that frustrating question mark will stand beside the issue of provenance.

To read about provenancial mysteries that we've actually solved, see these former posts:

Record of the Week: "the famous cameo ring"
Record of the Week: the mysterious Death Mask
Record of the Week: Cardinal McGuigan Gets the Key to the City
***We are also happy to announce this week that the short biographies of our former bishops and archbishops (which used to be hosted on ARCAT's now defunct website) have been migrated to the Archdiocese of Toronto's site. You can read more about Archbishop Walsh here.***

Friday, 4 August 2017

Record of the Week: Here's One For the Music Geeks

If you've ever attended a graduation ceremony, or even seen one on television, the writer of this week's highlighted document will be familiar to you. Sir Edward Elgar was a British composer whose Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D has been played at North American high school and university graduation ceremonies since 1905 when it was performed at Yale University:

Of course that's not the only thing that Elgar is known for. He was wildly popular with early 20th century audiences, and is now regarded as a preeminent figure in the pantheon of British composers. Elgar was a Catholic, and one of his masterpieces was The Dream of Gerontius, which was based on a poem by Cardinal Newman. 

In 1925 Elgar wrote a letter in reply to J. Campbell McInnes, a British singer who moved to Toronto in 1919. McInnes had written to Elgar to ask him to visit Toronto as part of his efforts to improve the state of local Church music. Unfortunately, there's no evidence to suggest that Elgar actually accepted the invitation, but we are pleased to have the signature of such an influential composer here in the archives: 

Letter from Sir Edward Elgar to J. Campbell McInnes

December 16, 1925

MN AS08.11
Archbishop McNeil Fonds

We have featured the signatures of many interesting historical figures in The Archivist's Pencil, but this one is special for certain music geeks amongst the archivists.