History of the Diocese of Hamilton: Introduction

The Diocese of Hamilton was established on February 29, 1856 by Pope Pius IX as a division of the Archdiocese of Toronto.  The first Bishop was the Right Reverend John Farrell; installed on May 24, 1856 in Hamilton’s, St. Mary’s Cathedral. The Hamilton Diocese has grown to become the second largest English-speaking Roman Catholic Diocese in Canada, encompassing the Counties of Brant, Bruce, Grey, Halton, Waterloo, Wellington, and four Townships in the County of Dufferin.  There are currently 123 parishes in the Diocese, with the inspiring Christ the King Church, built in 1933, as the Cathedral. The Diocese of Hamilton has flourished through the leadership of its Bishops and the faith of its clergy, religious communities, and dedicated parishioners. The Diocese is proud to celebrate its rich history and cultural diversity.

Click on the links below to learn more about the history of the Diocese of Hamilton

Text adapted from “A Short History of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton” by Rev. Edward J.R. Jackman, o.p.

Early History

1820s - 1840s

Establishment of the Diocese of Hamilton

1850s - 1890s

Early 20th Century

War Years

Second Vatican Council

1960s - Present


Auxiliary Bishops