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FAQ's

You'll find answers to our most frequently asked questions throughout our website. We have compiled some answers listed below. You can also find FAQ's for many of our Archdiocesan offices by clicking on their respective department.

GENERAL

I am interested in learning more about the Catholic church. Whom should I contact?

You can learn more about the Catholic Church by visiting the many pages of our website which provide extensive information and resources about our faith. You can also visit your local church to find out more about events in your community.

 

I am a Catholic (or my spouse is a Catholic). Whom do we contact to get our child into a Catholic school?

Please contact you local school board:

  • Toronto Catholic District School Board: 416-222-8282, ext. 5320.
  • Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board: 905-890-0708, ext. 24511
  • Durham Catholic District School Board: 905-576-6707 or 1-877-482-0722, ext. 2253.
  • York Catholic District School Board: 905-713-2711
  • Simcoe-Muskoka Catholic District School Board: 705-722-3555

 

Where can I find my sacramental record?

  • If you know where your sacrament was administered, please contact the specific parish for help in finding the record. The parish section of our website lists parish phone numbers.

  • If you do not know where the sacrament was administered, please contact Archives of the Archdiocese of Toronto (ARCAT) at 416-934-3400 ext. 501.

 

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Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)

I am planning to marry. My fiancé is not a Catholic but wishes to learn more about the Catholic faith and/or become a Catholic. Whom do I contact?

Please contact your pastor. If your parish does not offer the RCIA. preparation, please contact the Office of Formation for Discipleship at the Catholic Pastoral Centre for information on a nearby parish that does offer it. Phone: 416-934-3400, ext. 509 or 514.

 

Our parish does not offer the Rite of Initiation of Adults (and/or Children of Catechetical Age, 7-14 years of age). Whom can we contact for assistance in getting started?

  • If you are located in the southern part of the Archdiocese (south of Highway 7):
    Bill Targett, Office of Formation for Discipleship
    Phone: 416-934-3400, ext. 520; Fax: 416-934-3431; E-mail: btargett@archtoronto.org

  • If you are located in the northern part of the Archdicoese (north of Highway 7):
    Contact Catherine Ecker, Office of Formation for Discipleship, Barrie Office
    Phone: 705-726-2153; Fax: 705-726-8195; E-mail: cecker@archtoronto.org

 

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Sacraments

Anointing of the Sick or Last Rites

I would like a priest to give the last rites to my dying parent.

The term 'last rites' has been replaced by 'anointing of the sick' because the word 'last' implies a final act. More often than not, the person having the sacrament administered to survives the event (operation or illness) and therefore the act was not final. The sacrament of the anointing of the sick may be repeated as needed and may also be administered to the family of the person for whom the sacrament was meant, as a means of hope and strength. As with all sacraments, anointing of the sick is for the living.

 

Baptism

I would like to have my child baptized. What are the rules when selecting godparents?

Canon law refers to godparents as 'sponsors' (can. 872 – 874). One sponsor is sufficient, but two sponsors are acceptable.

  • If selecting one, the person may be of either gender (it is not a requirement that the sponsor be the same gender as the child being baptized) but must be a fully initiated Catholic (i.e. must be baptized Catholic, be 16 years of age and confirmed).

  • If selecting two sponsors, you must choose one from each gender (one male and one female). A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community is not to participate except together with a Catholic sponsor and then only as a witness of the baptism.

 

Can we change the godparents names on a baptismal register?

We are not permitted to change the entries made in a baptismal register. The godparents are the official witnesses of the baptism and therefore the certificate is a quasi-legal document. This is not an easy answer to accept, especially in cases where there is estrangement on the part of family members between each other. We try to convince the persons requesting the change to appoint someone who will be the sponsor for the child at confirmation. Let that person accept the "role" of godparent until such time that his or her name can be entered as sponsor for confirmation.

 

Funerals

Is it okay to cremate a person and still have a funeral Mass in the church?

Yes, cremated remains may be present in church for the funeral Mass of the deceased. The Catholic Church encourages the family to have the body present in the church followed by cremation; however, either way is accepted.

 

I am the Catholic party in my marriage. My non-Catholic spouse is dying. Can we have a funeral Mass with Eucharist in a Catholic church?

If the deceased was a baptized Christian (e.g. Anglican) then yes, a Mass may be held in a Catholic church at the pastor's discretion.

 

Holy Communion

I want to receive Holy Eucharist on my tongue, not in my hand!

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide how you will receive the Host - be it in the hand, on the tongue, kneeling or standing.

 

Which churches hold Eucharistic Adoration?

Some parishes in the Archdiocese have small chapels for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. Some are even accessible for 24 hours. Other parishes hold specific times for the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

  • Central: St. Basil's Parish
  • West: Transfiguration Parish, St. Clement's Parish, St. Alphonsus Parish
  • East: St. Theresa's Parish
  • North: Blessed Trinity

The parish section of our website lists addresses and telephone numbers of these parishes.

 

Marriage

My fiancé proposed to me and I accepted. Now what should we do to get married in the Catholic Church?

Congratulations! The first step is to contact your local Catholic pastor. If both of you are Catholic, you may contact either one of your parish priests. Your pastor will schedule a series of interviews with you and your fiancé in order to prepare you pastorally for marriage. It is mandatory to take a marriage preparation course from a recognised Catholic institution. Please note, that in case one or both of you had a previous marriage, Archdiocesan regulations state that the priest will not be able to give you a wedding date at the first meeting. It is recommended that no wedding arrangements be made until after you get an 'All Clear' from the priest who is preparing you for marriage.

 

We would like to be married in a Catholic church in another country. How do we go about it?

The procedure to get married in a Catholic church in another country or diocese is similar to getting married locally. Please contact your local pastor who will prepare you for marriage and instruct you to take the marriage preparation course. The marriage documents are then 'transferred' to the parish of marriage in the other country via the chancery offices of the respective dioceses involved.

 

Could we get permission to marry outside the church, for example, at a banquet hall?

A parish church is the ordinary place for the celebration of a marriage involving two Catholics or a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic. Since the marriages of two baptized persons are sacraments, they are not merely private or familial celebrations but also ecclesial events. The spouses declare their consent "before God and the Church" and live out that commitment in and with the support of the local ecclesial community. It is, therefore, fitting that this celebration should take place in the parish church.

The church is much more than just icons and building; it is a sacred place where the believing community gathers to worship and where the sacraments are celebrated. It is the policy in the Archdiocese of Toronto that a marriage should take place at a parish church under normal circumstances. Exceptions are only made when there is a grave and urgent cause such as illness or physical disability.

 

I am Roman Catholic but my spouse-to-be is a non-Christian. To satisfy the wishes of both our families, we would like to have two wedding ceremonies, one at the Roman Catholic Church, and another ceremony to follow or precede, in the non-Christian church. Is this allowed?

Canon 1127 §3 of the Code of Canon Law forbids a double celebration of the same marriage for the purpose of giving or renewing matrimonial consent. The Catholic Church could arrange to recognize the non-Catholic ceremony as sufficient. Talk with your priest first.

 

We are planning our marriage at a scenic beach resort. I am most connected with God when I am among nature. Since we are both Roman Catholic, we would like a Catholic priest to officiate our wedding on the beach.

Marriage between two Catholics is to be celebrated at a parish church. A Catholic priest/deacon of the Archdiocese of Toronto is not authorised to celebrate a wedding, especially between two Roman Catholics, in a non-sacred place. Exceptions are only made when there is a grave and urgent cause such as illness.

 

I am Roman Catholic, but my spouse-to-be is not. Our priest will not allow the celebration of the Eucharist.

The Mass is a celebration of the saving death and resurrection of Christ. Reception of Jesus in the Eucharist also symbolizes unity among the persons receiving Holy Communion. Introducing the Eucharist into a communal event where only some people will be allowed to receive it symbolizes division, while the wedding ceremony emphasizes unity. This would be unfortunate. This is why the definitive norms of the Catholic Bishops of Canada state, "it is generally more opportune that a marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic be celebrated without Mass." (cf. 1971 Norms, #20 in Letters & Legislations, Page #340).

To maintain consistency across the Archdiocese of Toronto, it is a policy that no Eucharist be celebrated for marriages between a Catholic and a non-baptized person. The celebration of the Eucharist at marriages between a Catholic and a validly baptized non-Catholic is discouraged, but is at the pastoral discretion of the priest celebrating the wedding, bearing in mind the problem of living out disunity at Communion time.

 

I have been married before in the Catholic Church. I have made arrangements to get married in two months. Can a Catholic priest marry us as scheduled?

The Archdiocese of Toronto asks that couples contact their local pastor at least one year before their tentatively planned date of marriage. This is to allow for possible delays due to any additional impediments that might necessitate postponing the marriage date, especially in the case of couples with one or more previous marriages. Also, a special second marriage preparation course by Catholic Family Services of Toronto is mandatory before marriage.

Can we use Banns or do we have to be married by marriage licence?

A couple can be married by marriage licence or by Banns. However, Banns are to be used only if:

  • there has not been a dissolution of any previous marriage, by divorce;
  • both parties live in Canada;
  • both parties are in the habit of attending worship; or
  • the couple is not already civilly married to each other.

 

We have selected some well-known and meaningful pieces of music for our wedding. However, our pastor will not allow us to use them.

Because the wedding liturgy is not a private affair, but a celebration of the faith of the whole congregation, the choice of music must be such that all can join in at the appropriate moments. Music and songs that express a secular or superficial understanding of marriage and love, or those that are associated with the cinema, television or stage, do a disservice to the sacred celebration.

All music and hymns must be chosen after consultation with the priest at your parish, in conjunction with the existing policy about music and the securing of musicians.

 

We have prepared our own vows and would like to use the ones we prepared, at the exchange of vows ceremony. Is this allowed?

As a rule, the short answer in NO. There are many places for creative choice in the ceremony, but the content of the vows is for the validity of the act of entering marriage and therefore we ask that the given formula be carefully observed.

 

We would like to have our wedding on a Sunday to accommodate our relatives who will be travelling from out of town for our wedding. Is this allowed?

According to the particular law of the Archdiocese of Toronto (promulgated since 1971), weddings in the Catholic Church are not allowed to be celebrated on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation.

 

Does the Archdiocese provide guidelines for the celebration of marriage in a Catholic Church?

Yes. Please contact Brenda Voisin, Office of Formation for Discipleship, for a copy:
Phone: 416-934-3400, ext. 523; Fax: 416-934-3431; E-mail: brendavoisin@archtoronto.org

If we have questions/concerns regarding music at our wedding. Whom should we contact?

Please contact Connie Price, Office of Formation for Discipleship
Phone: 416-934-3400, ext. 513; Fax: 416-934-3431; E-mail: cprice@archtoronto.org

 

We are planning to marry and are of Italian/Portuguese/Chinese etc. descent. Where can we learn which of our ethnic customs may be incorporated into our wedding liturgy?

The Archbishop of Toronto has delegated responsibility for the acceptable celebration of the sacraments to pastors, so the first person to discuss this with is the pastor of the Church where you will be married. If you have further questions, please contact one of the following:

  • Gregory Beath, Office of Formation for Discipleship
    Phone: 416-934-3400, ext. 509; Fax: 416-934-3431; E-mail: gregorybeath@archtoronto.org

  • Connie Price, Office of Formation for Discipleship
    Phone: 416-934-3400, ext. 513; Fax: 416-934-3431; E-mail: cprice@archtoronto.org

  • Catherine Ecker, Office of Formation for Discipleship, Barrie Office
    Phone: 705-726-2153; Fax: 705-726-8195; E-mail: cecker@archtoronto.org.

 

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LITURGY

Funerals

Does the Archdiocese provide information or guidelines for the celebration of Catholic funerals?

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops publishes the official version of the Order of Christian Funerals. The Office of Formation for Discipleship and Liturgy provides a trifold, "The Order of Christian Funerals" for use by parishioners. They are available in parishes and in many funeral parlors. To get a copy, please call the Catholic Pastoral Centre at 416-934-3400, ext. 523 or 509.

 

If we have questions, concerns regarding music at a family funeral, whom should we contact?

The selection of music and other specifics for the celebration of a Mass of Christian Burial should be discussed with the pastor (or member of the pastoral team) at the parish where the Mass will be celebrated.

 

Our family is of Italian/Portuguese/Asian etc. descent. Where can we learn which of our ethnic customs may be incorporated into a family funeral?

The Archbishop of Toronto has delegated responsibility for the acceptable celebration of the sacraments to pastors, so the first person to discuss this with is the pastor of the Church where the Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated. If you have further questions, please contact one of the following:

  • Gregory Beath, Office of Formation for Discipleship
    Phone: 416-934-3400, ext. 509; Fax: 416-934-3431; E-mail: gregorybeath@archtoronto.org

  • Connie Price, Office of Formation for Discipleship
    Phone: 416-934-3400, ext. 513; Fax: 416-934-3431; E-mail: cprice@archtoronto.org

  • Catherine Ecker, Office of Formation for Discipleship, Barrie Office
    Phone: 705-726-2153; Fax: 705-726-8195; E-mail: cecker@archtoronto.org.

 

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Vocations

If I am interested in being a diocesan priest, should I call St. Augustine's Seminary or contact the vocation director first?

If you believe you may have a "calling" to diocesan priesthood, you should contact the vocation director who will be able to help with your discernment journey and provide clarification to the questions you may have.

Please contact the Vocations Office at 416-968-0997 or e-mail vocations@vocations.ca. You may also visit their website at www.vocationstoronto.ca.

 

I have heard that there is a discernment house in Toronto, for young men who are thinking of diocesan priesthood. Could you tell me more about this house?

The place you are referring to is called Serra House. The Archdiocese of Toronto established Serra House in 1983 as a place of reflection and discernment for men considering a vocation to the priesthood. Serra House offers a unique pre-seminary experience, which fosters human and spiritual growth, in the company of other men who are likewise considering a vocation. Over the years, our Archdiocese has been blessed with many vocations, which have flourished with the assistance of Serra House. For more information on Serra House, visit their website.

 

I am interested in missionary work: would the Vocations Office be able to help me?

Yes, the Vocations Office will be able to provide you with those individuals who specialize in this important ministry.

 

I am a young Catholic woman interested in religious life. However, I am not sure which religious order is right for me. Can the Vocations Office help me with my discernment?

Yes, the Vocations Office can provide you with religious vocation directors who could help you with your discernment. For more information on the various religious communities ministering the Church visit www.vocations.ca.

 

I am a Catholic teacher who recognizes the importance of promoting vocations in my classroom and school. Can the Vocations Office help me in this promotion?

Yes, the Vocations Office may be able to help you by providing suggestions, vocational material, or personal visits to your class or school by the vocation director or representative of the office. Please contact the Vocations Office for more information.

 

I do not have a "calling" to religious life, but I am concerned with the lack of priest and religious in our church. How can I help in the promotion of vocations?

Please contact Serra Canada - a lay association that prays and promotes vocations in the Church for information. The Vocations Office can also suggest initiatives that can be implemented in your local parish, with the pastor's consent – i.e. the traveling chalice program.

 

I am a married Catholic man and have heard that there is a special ministry call "diaconate". Can you tell me more about this?

The Catholic Church has the permanent deacon; an ordained minister in the church who helps in the care and support of its members (mainly in the marginalized of our society). St. Augustine's Seminary offers more information on their website.

 

I am currently in high school, and although people keep on saying to me that I am still too young, I believe that God is calling me to the priesthood and I want to know how I can confirm and prepare for this vocation. Will the Office of Vocations be able to help me now?

Yes, there are a number of ways that a young man can begin to confirm his vocation to priesthood. The discernment process does not begin at the seminary but hopefully many years before the individual begin his formation at St. Augustine's Seminary. You are never "too young" to contact the vocations director. If you are interested in knowing the requirements for entering the seminary, visit our website at: www.staugustines.on.ca.

 

I am thinking of a religious life in the Church, but I am afraid to let my family, friends, or pastor know. If I contact your office, can there be some form of confidentiality in our conversations?

Yes, we will respect your wishes for confidentiality. The discernment process is unique to each individual. Although, some individuals may feel fee to let everyone know that they are discerning a religious vocation, others wish to keep it confidential until there is substantial confirmation that the "calling" is real.

 

I am thinking of priesthood and need a spiritual director. However, I do not want to use my parish pastor or his associate as a spiritual director. Would you be able to help me find a spiritual director? Can the vocation director be my spiritual director?

Yes, we are able to help you find a spiritual director who will be able to help you in your discernment journey – we will try to find someone who is able to meet your needs (i.e. location). However, the vocation director cannot act as a spiritual director for anyone who is considering a vocation to the religious life; there is a conflict of interest if the vocation director is called to evaluate a "calling" and also be a spiritual director.

 

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Safe Environment

Does the Church have documents and policies to help foster a safe environment for Catholics across the Archdiocese of Toronto?

Yes, we have statements and procedures on building a caring, responsible and pastoral community for our family of faith.

 

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