Within the Archdiocese of Toronto, you will find a family of faith that is alive and at work in our community. Comprised of nearly 1.9 million Catholics, 225 parishes and 4 missions, the Archdiocese is led by His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Collins, and assisted by Auxiliary Bishops, Most Reverend John A. Boissonneau,Most Reverend Robert Kasun, CSB, and Most Reverend Vincent Nguyen.
First separated from the Archdiocese of Kingston, the Diocese of Toronto was erected on December 17, 1841. Less than 30 years later, after rapid expansion, on March 18, 1870, the Diocese became the Archdiocese of Toronto.
As a family of faith, we celebrate Mass for 36 ethnic and linguistic communities every week making the Archdiocese of Toronto one of the most ethnically diverse Catholic dioceses in the world. Together with our clergy, parishes, volunteers, Archdiocesan employees and the entire Catholic community, we are a family living out our faith, ready to act, serve and grow together in God’s love.
A shield of arms is the primary heraldic identification of the corporation. From ancient times it has been usual and customary for bishops to affix to all instruments incidental to their Episcopal functions an Official Seal displaying thereon the Arms of their associated See either impaled with their personal arms or their arms alone. Until 1935 when a proper corporate arms was designed for the Archdiocese of Toronto, official documents for the most part used the coat of arms of an individual bishop on official church matters.
A diocese is the basic grouping of the Church – the people of God – under a bishop, a successor of the Apostles. In its very nature, the grouping is of many people, many vocations, many ministries, each with characteristics, and personalities. In this way, the sharp ‘edges’ and awkward ‘shapes’ of each person, institution, and ministry who come together to form a pattern of inter-supporting cooperation. These diamond shapes are the basis of the design. These are awkward shapes, like humans, which when fitting in well with each other make up a composite whole. The colours of red and white represent Canada and may be taken as symbolic of the great effort, the blood and sweat required to bring together and forge the unified effort of this section of the people of God, formed into a diocese. Across the design is placed the spear and shaft of St. Michael - the popular patron of the diocese. This spear overcomes and controls the dragon’s head, symbolic of the Devil. The shaft has its upper end formed as a cross - the symbol of Christianity and so of man’s redemption - and attached to the cross are three gold maple leaves, symbolic reference to the Province of Ontario. Between the arms are rays of light, is an additional allusion to St. Michael the Archangel whose light overcomes Lucifer. As these rays are curved – arched - this provides a subtle pun by the heralds on his archangel status. The mitre on top of the shield symbolizes that this shield belongs to a diocese.
* source material from the College of Arms, England