We were a seed planted here over a century ago – a mission church of modest size – but now we are in a time of blossoming and growth. We are alive and growing!
In 1846 St. Mary’s, Hamilton, founded a mission church, which was the first Catholic church in Waterdown, naming it for St. Francis. The Catholic community of the area met in a modest wooden structure until the donation of land by Mr. Thomas English in 1852 (today the site of St. Thomas Cemetery). This donation was for the construction of a larger and more permanent structure. The building was completed, and the church was dedicated in June 1864. Renamed St. Thomas the Apostle was the second Catholic Church in Waterdown. The community continued as a mission of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Freelton, in 1877. The Freelton clergy served St. Thomas’ and oversaw the building of a third church for the community in 1915 (the exterior survives at 44 Flamboro St., deconsecrated and converted into an apartment complex). The Catholic population in the area grew gradually through this time, until in 1950 Bishop Ryan of Hamilton reconstituted St. Thomas as a separate parish. Since then the growth of the parish has paralleled the growth and development in the Town of Waterdown and surrounding area. Around 1990 Waterdown’s Catholic community again found itself growing beyond the capacity of the existing church building and began planning for a new home. The ground was broken on the new parish site on October 19, 2003. The cornerstone laying ceremony was held on July 3, 2004. Completed and dedicated in 2005, St. Thomas the Apostle Church on Centre Road reflects the dynamism of the Catholic faith in the 21st century. To the delight of the community, the doors of the fourth St. Thomas the Apostle Church opened on Saturday July 30th and was blessed on September 11, 2005. Designed to meet the needs of the faithful, not just in terms of worship, but to address the growing desire for catechesis, community social life, youth and family ministry, and to provide a barrier-free, fully accessible facility.
St. Thomas offers many opportunities for our parishioners to volunteer in liturgical ministries such as altar servers, the choir, Children’s Liturgy of the Word, Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion or Ushers/Minsters of Hospitality. We are blessed with very active organizations such as Catholic Women’s League, Knights of Columbus, and Legion of Mary. We are also blessed with sisters of John the Baptist who run a day care and help with pastoral work of the parish. Other groups available are Creative Arts Group, Good Shepherd, Jammers and Outreach. We are always in need of PRAYers for our Prayer Chain.
St. Thomas the Apostle is the parish for two Catholic elementary schools, St. Thomas, and Guardian Angels. St. Mary’s Catholic Secondary is also part of our parish community.
Holy Cross Fathers were invited by Bishop Crosby (Bishop of Hamilton) to take care of the pastoral and administrative work of the parish in March 2020. Holy Cross Fathers arrived at St. Thomas on July 15, 2020. Fr. Francis Noronha, CSC is the present pastor of the parish and Fr. Alison Mahoney, CSC is a resident priest.
We are truly blessed to have a faith community with parishioners of all ages as we continue to be alive and growing!!!
Father Francis Noronha, C.S.C
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