Paulists to withdraw from Toronto

January 12, 2015

The Paulist community would like to provide an update to the faithful regarding our ongoing ministry in Toronto.

It is with great regret that the Paulist Fathers must share with you news of our intention to withdraw from ministry to St. Peter’s Parish and the Paulist Centre for Catholic Evangelization in Toronto, effective Sunday, June 28, 2015.

Very Rev. Eric Andrews, CSP, president of the Paulist Fathers reflected on the discernment: “We are very sad to leave our Toronto ministry.  This was a tremendously difficult decision for our General Council to make, given our 100 years of ministry at St. Peter’s Parish and the many parishioners with whom we have shared the faith of Jesus Christ. While the Paulist Fathers are blessed by eleven men in formation for the priesthood, the reality is that we do not have enough priests to adequately staff all of our ministries in North America at this time. We recognize that we are missionaries, and when our work has reached its completion, we are called by the Holy Spirit to move on.  The Paulists Fathers leave with confidence that the archdiocese will place the parish in good hands and its evangelization efforts outlined in their recently announced pastoral plan will bear much fruit.”  

Father Andrews added, “Over the last century many converts to the Catholic faith have been welcomed through the ministry of St. Peter’s and the Paulist Centre.  Many people have been raised in the faith, received the sacraments and have gone on to the Lord.  We have been graced to work with many lay collaborators and archdiocesan leaders over the years.”

Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, expressed his gratitude to the Paulists for more than a century of service:

“I am eternally grateful for the tireless efforts of the Paulists in serving the Archdiocese of Toronto and, specifically, St. Peter’s Parish, for more than 100 years. They have been joyful shepherds, serving generously through pastoral care, outreach and evangelization. We will continue to pray for their ongoing ministry throughout North America and in thanksgiving for their many contributions in Toronto over the past century.”

In 1913, The Paulist Fathers were invited by Archbishop Neil McNeil to serve as chaplains to the University of Toronto Newman Club, a ministry the community returned to the archdiocese in 1936.  In 1914, the Paulists were entrusted with pastoral care of St. Peter’s Parish nearby, which was established in 1896. True to their mission of conversion the Paulists established the Catholic Information Centre in 1938.  Under the direction of Fr. Frank Stone, CSP, The Paulist Fathers erected a new Centre building at 830 Bathurst Street in 1958.  The building and ministry was renamed and rededicated as the Paulist Centre for Catholic Evangelization in September 1998.

While the Paulists are leaving their remaining foundation in Canada, they pray for the day when they will be able to open a new foundation in the archdiocese.  The Paulist Fathers will continue their ministry in Canada through the mass media, parish missions, retreats, as well as frequent return visits to St. Peter’s Parish.

We invite the Catholic community to offer prayers for the parishioners of St. Peters, the Paulists and all those who serve the church with dedication, fidelity and love.