History of the Diocese of Hamilton:
Establisment of the Diocese


Map of the Diocese of Hamilton
Map of the current boundaries of the Diocese of Hamilton

To meet the pastoral needs of our ever-growing Catholic community, the Vatican decided to create new dioceses in Ontario so that there could be better ecclesiastical supervision of the many new parishes and their peoples.  Thus, on February 29, 1856 the Dioceses of Hamilton and London were formed from portions of the Diocese of Toronto.


St. Mary's Church, Hamilton  
St. Mary, Hamilton                                                         
The first cathedral for the diocese                            

The first Bishop of the Diocese of Hamilton, Most Reverend John Farrell was consecrated a bishop in Kingston on May 11, 1856, and shortly afterwards was installed as the Bishop of Hamilton at the city’s only Catholic Church, St. Mary’s. In his first pastoral letter issued that same month, he named as the patron of the Diocese the “...Ever Glorious and Blessed Virgin in the mystery of the Annunciation”.  After a fire destroyed the wooden church, Bishop Farrell built the present St. Mary’s in 1859 and 1860 as his new cathedral, in whose vault he and two of his successor bishops are buried. St. Mary’s, today, strikingly and proudly remains our first cathedral.  St. Patrick’s Church, built in Hamilton in the 1870s, also briefly served as the cathedral, while Bishop John McNally, D.D. built our current Cathedral of Christ the King.

Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King, Hamilton
Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King, Hamilton
The current cathedral, built in 1933

 1850s - 1890s →