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London (Ontario)

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DIOCESE OF LONDON (LONDINENSIS)

Diocese in Canada, established 21 February, 1855; see transferred to Sandwich, 2 February, 1859, transferred back to London, 3 October, 1869; comprises Middlesex, Elgin, Norfolk, Oxford, Perth, Huron, Lambion, Kent, and Essex Counties in the south-western section of Ontario, Canada. The incorporation of the city of London and its selection as the see of a new diocese in 1856 were 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, 23 November, 1815, made his studies in Montreal and in Paris, and was ordained in the latter city in 1840. He was consecrated in Montreal, 13 May, 1856. On 2 February, 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 18 December, 1866, and died at Montreal, 30 January, 1883. As his successor, the Very Reverend John Walsh, V.G., Toronto, was chosen and consecrated on 10 November, 1867. Born in Mooncoin, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland, 24 May, 1830, he was ordained priest on 1 November, 1854, and spent the years previous to his elevation to the episcopate in parish work. He was promoted to the Archbishopric of Toronto, 25 July, 1889, and died there on 31 July, 1898. In October, 1869, he transferred his residence from Sandwich to London, and on 15 November 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 19 October, 1890. He was born at Pickering, Ontario, 28 March, 1841, and ordained priest on 8 December, 1863. Like his predecessor, he was elevated to the Archbishopric of Toronto, 24 January, 1899. To fill the vacancy thus created the Rev. Fergus Patrick McEvay, Vicar-General of the Diocese of Hamilton, was named and consecrated on 6 August, 1899. Bishop McEvay was born at Lindsay, Ontario, on 8 December, 1852, and ordained priest on 9 July, 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 17 June, 1908. As fifth Bishop of London, the pope appointed on 14 December, 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, 17 May, 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, Hospitalier 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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