St. Joseph Parish in Leslieville, Toronto
The Parish of St. Joseph’s was formally created on November 10, 1878 with Father Michael McCartin O’Reilly appointed as founding pastor. The third structure and the present St. Joseph’s Church was erected on the site of the old apple orchard in 1958. Seating was provided for about a thousand people. Since 2007, St. Joseph’s shared space with the Tamil community of Toronto who named their parish Our Lady of Good Health. The parishioners came from all parts of the greater Toronto area and when the property on the west side of Curzon, which served as their parking lot, was sold for development the Tamil community left. It was Father Gabriel Arulnesan who served as pastor for both English and Tamil speaking communities.
On the departure of the Tamil parishioners, St. Joseph’s parish was assigned to the Holy Cross Fathers. It was Father Frank Wagner, CSC who became the administrator in 2011 who provided guidance during the transition period. His work in conjunction with Father Wilson Andrade, CSC and Father Francis Noronha, CSC led to the revitalization of parish life. They encouraged the laity to become active in all aspects of church life. Young children participated in Sunday School overseen by a team of dedicated adults. Several young altar servers always faithfully assisted at the Sunday service. The priests provided spiritual guidance with visitations to the Avondale Retirement Residence and the Heritage Nursing Home.
Fr. Roshan Loy D’Souza, CSC is the present pastor of St. Joseph’s appointed on July 15, 2020. Today our community is very different from its humble origin. Our neighbors come from all parts of the global village. We speak many languages and we have diverse ways of understanding our one world. In the Gospels there are no recorded words of Joseph, beloved guardian of our Lord, but through the life of our parish we have experienced how the household which has adopted his name has carried the word of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit into the active service of both our lives and the world of which we are an integral part. May growth continue into the future as the mustard seed of Jesus’ parable, so that the Kingdom which is and yet is to become may flourish in ways as yet unknown.
Father Roshan D’Souza, C.S.C
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