​​​Office of ​​​​​​​​​​​Ecumenical and           Interfaith Affairs​

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Photo by Michael Swan, Courtesy of The Catholic Register

The Office of Ecumenical & Interfaith Affairs exists to promote the goals of the Roman Catholic Church in its pursuit of Christian unity and interfaith understanding and cooperation within the Archdiocese through prayer, dialogue and teaching and to represent the Archdiocese in ecumenical and int​​​​erfaith events.​​​​


Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Office of Ecumenical & Interfaith Affairs

The Office of Ecumenism and Interfaith Affairs was established thirty years ago by Gerald Emmett Cardinal Carter on September 30, 1987. His Eminence noted on that occasion that it was the responsibility of the local church, following the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, “to implement world-wide ecumenical directives but also to take the initiative, within the unity of faith, to enrich this movement by our own forms of ecumenical action in prayer, education, the media, social work and theological exchange”.

The Commission of Ecumenism and Interfaith Affairs had already been about the task of fostering Christian unity and promoting ecumenical and interfaith dialogue since its inception in January of 1963. Among those on the Commission charged with various aspects of the ecumenical and interfaith agenda were the Reverend Robert Barringer, C.S.B., the Orthodox Churches and particularly the Greek Orthodox Church in Canada; Reverend Jonathan Robinson, C.O., the Anglican Church of Canada; Reverend Eugene D’Avella, the Protestant Churches; Reverend Brian Clough, liaison with the Jewish community.

On the occasion of the establishment of the Office of Ecumenism and Interfaith Affairs, Cardinal Carter appointed Reverend Jeremiah Kelliher, S.A. director of the office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs. The first permanent office opened at Holy Cross Parish on Cosburn Avenue, Toronto. Father Kelliher was succeeded as director by Rev. Timothy MacDonald, S.A. in 1994. At this time the office was moved to the chancery office on Church Street and then later to its present location at 1155 Yonge Street. Fr. MacDonald had been succeeded by Rev. Damian MacPherson, S.A. in 1998 and remained as director for the next nineteen years. Reverend Timothy MacDonald, S.A. assumed the directorship once again in February, 2017.

The Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission has continued its task of promoting Christian unity and fostering interfaith dialogue and cooperation for the past fifty-four years and has assisted through its many volunteers to assist the Office for Ecumenism and Interfaith Affairs throughout the past thirty years. Significant progress has taken place in our ecumenical relations with other churches not only on the national and international levels but also on the local level. The most significant progress in the past twenty years has taken place in interfaith relations where the encounter with representatives of other faith traditions has blossomed into a powerful desire for all to live in harmony and peace and to do all that we can to promote these goals in the Toronto area.



Papal Blessing in Honor of Toronto Rabbi & His Wife

Rabbi Erwin and Mrs. Laura Schild receive their plaque

Sunday, March 6, 2016; Adath Israel Congregation, Toronto


Rabbi Erwin and Mrs. Laura Schild received a Papal Blessing from Pope Fracis (presented by Thomas Cardinal Collins) for their 70th wedding anniversary at Adath Israel Congregation. 

This is probably the first time in Canada in which a papal blessing is given to a Rabbi.

Papal Blessings are normally given to Christians only and this is an exception made by the Vatican for the tremendous contributions that Rabbi Erwin Schild has given to the interfaith world and for the bridge-building initiatives that he developed between Jews and Christians in the Christian-Jewish Dialogue of Toronto over the years.

Here are 2 newspaper articles about this important event:
Pope gives rare 'blessing' to Toronto rabbi, wife (The Toronto Star)
Pope blesses rabbi, wife on 70th anniversary (The Times of Israel)



Muslim-Catholic Student/Young Adult Dialogue

The Muslim-Catholic Student Dialogue is in the process of continuous development. If you know anyone who is interested to help us with this, please contact Vivian at vkwok@archtoronto.org or (416) 934-3400 ext. 527.

All Muslim, Christian or Jewish students are welcome.

Please join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/muslim.catholic.sd/ to share Christian-Muslim related thoughts, events and resources.

Muslim-Catholic student dialogue poster