Bishop Thomas J. Dowling
1889 - 1924
Bishop Thomas J. Dowling was the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Hamilton. He was born in County Limerick, Ireland on 28 February 1840. He moved to Canada when he was eleven and was raised within the Hamilton diocese. He attended St. Michael's College in Toronto where he acquired a reputation as a debater and public speaker. Following graduation he remained at the school as a teacher before going to the Grand Seminary in Montreal. After his ordination in 1864, he was sent to Sacred Heart Parish in Paris, Ontario where he served as pastor for more than twenty years. In 1887 he was appointed Bishop of Peterborough.
Two years later he left Peterborough to become Bishop of Hamilton. During Bishop Dowling's episcopacy there was a heavy influx of immigrants into Canada. This increase in population necessitated the opening of more than twenty new parishes and the construction of many new churches and schools. Bishop Dowling strove to serve new Canadians in their native language by bringing priests into the diocese with the same ethnic background. Bishop Dowling was also committed to health care. He donated a residence to the Sisters of St. Joseph for their service to the sick.
Catholic education was furthermore a continuing concern for Dowling. He fought resistance to separate schools in rural areas and established several Catholic high schools in Hamilton. In May 1906 Bishop Dowling led a three-day celebration to mark the Golden Jubilee Anniversary of the diocese. The Honourable Thomas Dowling died on 6 August 1924 and was laid to rest in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Burlington.