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Diocese of London

Canadian, established, February 21, 1855

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London, Diocese of (LONDINENSIS), in Canada, established, February 21, 1855; see transferred to Sandwich, February 2, 1859, transferred back to London, October 3, 1869; comprises Middlesex, Elgin, Norfolk, Oxford, Perth, Huron, Lambion, Kent, and Essex Counties in the southwestern section of Ontario, Canada. The incorporation of the city of London and its selection as the see of a new diocese in 1856 were almost contemporaneous. It then had a population of about 10,000, a fifth of whom were Catholics. As first bishop the Rev. Pierre-Adolphe Pinsonnault, a Sulpician, was chosen. He was born at Saint-Philippe, Quebec, November 23, 1815, made his studies in Montreal and in Paris, and was ordained in the latter city in 1840. He was consecrated in Montreal, May 13, 1856. On February 2, 1859, he procured a pontifical Brief altering the title of the diocese to Sandwich, and authorizing the change of residence to that location. He resigned the see on December 18, 1866, and died at Montreal, January 30, 1883. As his successor, the Very Reverend John Walsh, V.G., Toronto, was chosen and consecrated on November 10, 1867. Born in Mooncoin, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland, May 24, 1830, he was ordained priest on November 1, 1854, and spent the years previous to his elevation to the episcopate in parish work. He was promoted to the Archbishopric of Toronto (q.v.), July 25, 1889, and died there on July 31, 1898. In October, 1869, he transferred his residence from Sandwich to London, and on November 15 procured from Rome a decree making London once more the name of the diocese. He began the erection of a new cathedral May, 1881, and largely increased the number of churches and institutions throughout the diocese.

The third bishop was the Rev. Denis O’Connor, a Basilian, and superior of the Assumption College, Sandwich, consecrated on October 19, 1890. He was born at Pickering, Ontario, March 28, 1841, and ordained priest on December 8, 1863. Like his predecessor, he was elevated to the Archbishopric of Toronto, January 24, 1899. To fill the vacancy thus created the Rev. Fergus Patrick McEvay, Vicar-General of the Diocese of Hamilton, was named and consecrated on August 6, 1899. Bishop McEvay was born at Lindsay, Ontario, on December 8, 1852, and ordained priest on July 9, 1882. Again, Toronto made a. vacancy in the See of London, for Archbishop O’Connor resigned and Bishop McEvay was transferred to Toronto, and took possession on June 17, 1908. As fifth Bishop of London, the pope appointed on December 14, 1909, the Very Rev. Michael M. F. Fallon provincial of the American province of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He was born at Kingston, Canada, May 17, 1867, and entered the Oblate congregation at the conclusion of his course at Ottawa University. His theological studies were completed at Rome, after which he became professor and vice-rector of his Alma Mater. At the end of three years he began parish work at Ottawa continuing it at Buffalo. In 1903 he was chosen provincial of the Oblates.

The religious communities now established in the diocese are:—men: Basilians, Franciscans; women: Religious of the Sacred Heart, Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Sisters of Loretto (Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary), Sisters of St. Joseph, Ursulines, Hospitaller Nuns of St. Joseph at Hotel Dieu, Windsor. Statistics: Priests 70 (religious 18); there are 45 churches with resident priests, and also 29 missions with churches, total number of churches 78; 1 college, 150 students; 4 academies, 470 pupils; 85 parochial schools, 11,500 pupils; 1 orphan asylum, 75 inmates; 3 hospitals. Catholic population 60,000.


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