Rorate Caeli

You Report: The Traditional Latin Mass in the Archdiocese of Toronto and Suffragan Dioceses

(For an earlier "You Report" article on the TLM in Ontario: You report: The TLM in Ontario)

Rorate has received this lengthy and valuable report from the Toronto Traditional Mass Society. 

The pictures accompanying this article come from the Rorate Mass celebrated on December 15, 2012 in Kinkora (Population 30 and 160 km northwest of Toronto) in the Diocese of London in Ontario. More pictures can be found on their Facebook page. 

Early history of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in Toronto (post-Vatican II):

For decades the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite was never to be found in Toronto. For liturgical sanity in the Ordinary Form, one could have always attend St. Michael’s Cathedral  which preserved dignity in the liturgy with the aid of the renowned St. Michael’s Choir School which is affiliated with the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music. At times, there was the odd travelling priest and eventually the SSPX arrived once a week to celebrate Mass in a borrowed Ukrainian Catholic parish until that was aggressively stopped and then displaced to a university lecture hall. The SSPX eventually purchased an old Baptist building and converted it and began their apostolate which now includes a school about an hour from Toronto. 

A great blessing to Toronto was the erection almost 35 years ago, of the Toronto Oratory of St. Philip Neri . The Oratorians initiated the proper celebration of the Ordinary Form and set a standard unknown in 1978, even celebrating it in Latin. Eventually, they began celebrating the Extraordinary Form under the indult regime and they were only the second in the entire Archdiocese of Toronto to do this, the first being a kind and humble priest, Fr. Liam Gavigan, who was once alone in this work and to whom we owe so much. He is  now 80 but still going strong and celebrates two EF Masses every Sunday. The Oratorians now celebrate daily in their primary parish at Holy Family and on Sundays at their second parish, St. Vincent de Paul and within their various chapels at the Oratory and St. Philip’s Seminary. 

(For a more comprehensive listing of Extraordinary Form Masses in the Archdiocese of Toronto, as well as for a listing of Christmas liturgies according to the Extraordinary Form for Christmas in 2012, please see the list at the end of this article.)

The Toronto Traditional Mass Society repeatedly wrote and met with the former Cardinal Archbishop, the late Aloysius Ambrozic, but he was unwilling to invite the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to Toronto. His successor, Thomas Cardinal Collins, acceded to our request and invited the Fraternity with the promise of a “personal parish.” The FSSP has personal parishes at St. Catharines in Ontario (near Niagara Falls), Ottawa, Quebec City, Vancouver and a shared arrangement in Calgary. The Fraternity, shabbily treated whilst in Toronto, left it in 2010 after a short 19-month apostolate and it was then up to the laity to pick up the pieces to ensure that the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite was brought far and wide and not allowed to remain an “oddity” of the Oratory and the good Fr. Gavigan.

Present  and Future

In the months since then, the Society has organised Sung or Solemn Masses on Corpus Christi, Assumption, Holy Cross, Christ the King, Immaculate Conception, Epiphany, Candlemas, Ascension, All Saints and All Souls and we are now in our second year of doing this. We have taken the Extraordinary Form to the people and they are responding. These Masses have been celebrated in parish churches in Toronto and its sprawling suburbs of Mississauga, Pickering and Richmond Hill with more to come and even at the beautiful chapel at Loretto Abbey where we will return next year for the Ascension of the Lord. We are deeply grateful for the five Priests and even the Permanent Deacon who have helped us to fill the vital need of the faithful and in particular to the Pastors of the parishes involved who, whilst not always able to celebrate, either sat in choir or delivered the homily and assisted with Holy Communion. The Cardinal Archbishop has, to his credit, ensured that the former indult/FSSP apostolate was moved to a beautiful church with a diocesan Chaplain over the flock there and now the Mass is celebrated daily at St. Lawrence the Martyr in the eastern part of Toronto, known as Scarborough.

First Solemn Mass in Mississauga

Bordering Toronto’s western boundary is the City of Mississauga which means in Anishinaabe – the language of the aboriginal people of this area, “those at the great river mouth.” It reminds one of Canada’s motto on its Coat of Arms from the 72nd Psalm, "Et dominabitur ‘a mari usque ad mare,’ et a flumine usque ad terminos terrae"  At the most westerly church in the sprawling Archdiocese of Toronto and one dedicated to St. Joseph, Canada’s Patron Saint, over 450 people gathered on the feast of the Immaculate Conception  to give glory to God and to honour the great Patron’s Immaculate Spouse with the celebration of a Solemn Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

This was the very first Solemn Mass in the "Old Rite" in this City of over 700,000; Mississauga having been incorporated from small towns with a sprinkling of a few Catholic parishes which would have, no doubt, been part of the Sunday “Low Mass” culture that pervaded these parts in years long past. The Pastor at St. Joseph’s Church is a very dedicated and welcoming priest and in September 2011 we were able to organise a Missa Cantata there on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The parish was also used for the first Anglican-Use Mass celebrated in Canada the previous March during a diocesan conference on the Anglican Ordinariate. Built in the early 1990’s the church is typical of its time but it has undergone a beautification using high quality altar-ware, frontals and tabernacle veils, vestments, beautiful statues, colour and stenciling and of course, adherence to the rubrics of the GIRM in the Ordinary Form. There is there truly a love of the Church and the holy liturgy. The choir is, without a doubt, the most skilled and most liturgically correct of any Catholic parish in Mississauga; they utilise the Propers in English and Latin for the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the Parish Book of Chant and sing sacred polyphony. Last year, the parish and its pastor hosted a Chant Workshop with Father Samuel Weber, O.S.B.

After Mass, a woman remarked to the Pastor, that “it was as if we were transported to heaven” and a young Altar Server told of dozens of people coming to receive Holy Communion with tears in their eyes, some were quivering. We’ve received emails from people who had been denied their heritage or never knew it and are asking, “when is the next one!” When these kinds of comments are heard, it is a joyful but incredibly humbling experience for all involved with this work at the Toronto Traditional Mass Society—Una Voce Toronto and it reaffirms to us all, why it is that we do this work.

Toronto Traditional Mass Society - Una Voce Toronto

The Toronto Traditional Mass Society—Una Voce Toronto was established in 2004 and is a Chapter of the Vancouver Traditional Mass Society, Canada’s original Member of FIUV, the International Una Voce Federation. We have a strong, united and elected Board of Directors and we continue to grow our membership and acquire liturgical items including our new hand-crafted and commissioned  catafalque candles, vestments and Missals and other altar-ware. 

As a registered charity we have raised funds and provide financial support and stipends to seminarians at home and those from the Archdiocese studying abroad having a devotion and commitment to the full expression of the Roman Rite. Given our own statutes to aid the suffragan dioceses of the Toronto Metropolitan See where no organised laity is formed, we are working in the Diocese of London. This past December 15, we assisted at St. Patrick’s in Kinkora with a “Rorate” Mass at 5:30 A.M. (See pictures.) When this Mass was first celebrated in Kinkora in 2010, 7 were in attendance. This grew to 52 in 2011 and to more than 70 in 2012.  

There was a time when you could barely find one traditional liturgy on Christmas in all of Ontario. Below you will find the Mass schedule for Christmas this year in southern Ontario. We will also be organising a Missa Solemnis on Candlemas just north of Toronto where we’ve gathered the last two years to celebrate the Assumption.

As time moves forward and the Holy Mass in its Ancient Use is more celebrated in more and more parishes our work will evolve and the need to actively organise the Mass will become less and less though we will continue in our role to consult and support priests and seminarians, train servers and ensure that we remain the voice of the laity in Toronto for liturgical restoration of this venerable Rite.

For more information or to support our work we invite you to visit our website or write us at

Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in Ontario

Regularly Scheduled Masses in the Archdiocese of Toronto

1) St. Patrick’s Church
91 Church Street, Schomberg
905-939-2256 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            905-939-2256      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            905-939-2256 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            905-939-2256      end_of_the_skype_highlighting      end_of_the_skype_highlighting      
Sunday at 9:00 A.M.
Low Mass (Missa Lecta) with Music

2) Toronto Oratory Church of St. Vincent de Paul
63 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto
416-535-7646 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            416-535-7646      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            416-535-7646 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            416-535-7646      end_of_the_skype_highlighting      end_of_the_skype_highlighting      
Sunday at 9:30 A.M.
Low Mass

3) Toronto Oratory Church of the Holy Family
1372 King Street West, Toronto
 416-532-2879 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            416-532-2879      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            416-532-2879 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            416-532-2879      end_of_the_skype_highlighting      end_of_the_skype_highlighting      

Sunday at 11:00 A.M

Solemn Mass (Sept-May)
Sung Mass (June-July)

Low Mass (August)

Monday to Friday 11:30 A.M.
Saturday 8:30 A.M.

4) Carmel of the Infant Jesus
12519 2nd Concession Road, Zephyr
905-473-9801 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            905-473-9801      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            905-473-9801 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            905-473-9801      end_of_the_skype_highlighting      end_of_the_skype_highlighting      
Sundays at 11:30 A.M.
Low Mass

5) St. Lawrence the Martyr Catholic Church
2210 Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto (Scarborough)
416-759-9359 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            416-759-9359      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            416-759-9359 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            416-759-9359      end_of_the_skype_highlighting      end_of_the_skype_highlighting      
Sunday at 1:00 P.M.
Low Mass (Missa Lecta) with Music

Monday to Wednesday at 11:00 A.M.

Thursday at 7:00 A.M.
Friday at 7:00 P.M.
Saturday at 10:00 A.M.

Suffragan Dioceses

Diocese of Hamilton
St. Anne’s, Kitchener

Diocese of London
St. Patrick’s, Kinkora

Diocese of St. Catharines
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Thorold (FSSP)