|Comment on this report, or find other reports.
|Our Mystery Worshippers are volunteers who warm church pews for us around the world. If you'd like to become a Mystery Worshipper, start here.
|Find out how to reproduce this report in your church magazine or website.
Family, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Family, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Archdiocese of Toronto.
The church occupies a new building since a 1997 fire destroyed
the original Holy Family Church. The interior is simple, but
visually pleasing. At the back of the nave is a row of confessionals.
A shrine to Our Lady graces the front. The chancel is a raised
platform surrounded by a communion rail, with a free standing
altar in the centre. Behind a screen is the tabernacle, a compromise
reached with the archdiocese to allow traditional placement
of the tabernacle while fulfilling modern requirements that
it be in a distinct space.
Holy Family is one of two parishes served by the apostolate
of the Oratory
of St Philip Neri, a congregation of Roman Catholic priests
and lay-brothers who live together in community bound together
by no formal vows but only by the bond of charity. Oratorians
append the letters C.O., the abbreviation for the Latin Congregatio
Oratorii, to their names. The Oratory was transferred here
from the Archdiocese of Montréal in 1979. Six masses are celebrated
each Sunday according to the missal of Paul VI, including three
sung masses (two in English and one in Latin). Solemn vespers
and benediction are offered Sunday evenings, and every weekday
one mass is offered according to the missal of John XXIII. The
parish has strong musical and catechetical programmes, as well
as regular family and adult educational and devotional events.
The Oratorians serve another parish up the street, St Vincent
de Paul, where the Sunday traditional Latin mass is celebrated.
The village of Parkdale was amalgamated with Toronto in 1889.
It has an ethnically diverse population and is in the midst
of gentrification. Slum housing and the proximity to the psychiatric
hospital present serious social problems in the area. Ecclesiastically,
Parkdale is known as the heartland of Anglo-Catholicism in Toronto,
but no parish existed for the village’s Roman Catholics until
the establishment of the original Holy Family mission at the
turn of the 20th century.
The celebrant and preacher was the Revd Michael Eades, C.O.,
who was ordained to the priesthood on the Feast of St Philip
Neri, 26 May of this year.
The date & time:
Feast of the Holy Rosary, Saturday, 10 October 2009, 11.00am.
What was the name of the service?
Missa Cantata according to the Usus Antiquior
(Sung Mass according to the Old Rite).
How full was the building?
The church was nearly full, save for some of the seating reserved
for the fraternal organisations in attendance – a few
of these seats turned out not to be needed. I spotted at least
half dozen other Anglicans in the nave.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
No. I found a service booklet and a seat.
Was your pew comfortable?
Yes, with a very comfortable kneeler.
How would you describe the pre-service
Although I arrived nearly half an hour early, I was not the
first to arrive. A group of men – perhaps Knights of Columbus
– were congregated on the front steps of the church with walkie-talkies
in preparation for the event. Inside, several people had already
begun praying the rosary before mass and a trickle of people
flowed in and out of the confessionals.
What were the exact opening
words of the service?
As the ministers and the caped Knights of Columbus (each armed
with a sword) entered in procession, the choir sang the introit:
Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes sub honore
Beatae Mariae Virginis (Let us all rejoice in the Lord,
whilst celebrating this festal day in honour of the Blessed
What books did the congregation
use during the service?
A service leaflet was provided, with chants coming from the
Adoremus Hymnal in the pew racks. Some brought their
own personal missals.
What musical instruments were played?
The church's organ was played beautifully from the loft.
Did anything distract you?
Apart from a few very fetching seminarians in the chancel party,
I couldn't help noticing the controversal television and radio
talk show host (and Holy Family parishioner) Michael Coren in
the pew behind mine.
Was the worship stiff-upper-lip,
happy clappy, or what?
This was a dignified and solemn traditional Latin mass (although
not strictly speaking a missa solemnis), with plainsong,
incense, and splendid vestments. There were some ceremonial
idiosyncrasies: for instance, the people knelt for the introit,
Kyrie and Gloria. Surprisingly, the celebrant did not read the
gospel in English after chanting it in Latin, a practice (I
have been told by those old enough to remember) common in the
days before the Second Vatican Council.
Exactly how long was the
On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
7 Father Eades spoke clearly and slowly, making his point
In a nutshell, what was the sermon
The short reflection consisted of a synopsis of the Battle of
Lepanto, where the Catholic allies' defeat of the Ottoman Empire
was attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Father Eades extolled the virtues and benefits of praying the
Which part of the service was like being in
Because the altar was free-standing, the celebrant was able to circumambulate it while censing it, which I always find a far more satisfying and impressive sight than the side-to-side censing of fixed altars. I was also quite struck by the chasuble, which bore an enormous head-to-toe image of the Blessed Virgin in the orphrey.
And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Remaining seated during the administration of holy communion
is invariably a sorrowful moment for me.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
Making my way into the narthex, I met up with a few of my co-religionists.
Together we proceeded to the parish hall.
How would you describe the after-service
Not merely coffee, but an impressive hot and cold buffet lunch was served. Meatballs, pigs-in-blankets, miniature quiches, roast beef sandwiches, dumplings, tea sandwiches, and cheeses were all on offer. From the array of pastries served for dessert, I selected a very nice custard tart.
How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
9 If I were a Roman Catholic living in Toronto, I would almost certainly be a regular at Holy Family and St Vincent de Paul.
Did the service make you feel glad to be a
It certainly did, and it was a rare treat in my usual liturgical fare.
What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The life-sized Virgin on Father's back.
|We rely on voluntary donations to stay online. If you're a regular visitor to Ship of Fools, please consider supporting us.
|The Mystery Pilgrim
| One of our most seasoned reporters makes the Camino pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Read here.
| Read reports from 70 London churches, visited by a small army of Mystery Worshippers on one single Sunday. Read here.