Friday, January 12, 2007

Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes Church (downtown Toronto)

Our Lady of Lourdes Church in downtown Toronto is snuggled in between large condominium buildings near the heart of the city. There is some construction around that will further put this treasure of a church hidden away even better (or for worse). The view from the outside doesn't give it much justice depending in what direction you are walking towards it. For instance if you park on Earl Place (formerly Earl Street) it doesn't look like much, in fact if you are not on Sherbourne Street walking towards it, you would never notice it was there. Unless of course your condo faced this beautiful, but a little run-down, church. I approached this church driving on Jarvis and I missed it several times looking for Earl Place. Not until I decided to drive well below the speed limit and examined every square inch, or rather, centimeter (it is Canada after all) was I able to locate this gem.
I've been attending the daily noon Mass each day because it is the only noon Mass in the Greater Toronto Area, or GTA as Torontans(?) or locals refer to their great city. I forget the name of the priests that celebrate the Mass at noon, but they are reverential and orthodox as far as I could tell. A deacon or what seems to be another priest assists in the the celebration.
The exterior of Our Lady of Lourdes Church has a nice miniature, relative to St. Peter's, copula and beautiful Roman style pillars out front. There is a recreation of the apparition of Mary in Lourdes of a statue on the exterior of the church as well.
The interior of the church seems like any other traditional Catholic church with a chancel, transept, and nave forming the sanctuary (the chancel forms. The nave of course has pews with kneelers in them. The ambo is located on the lectern side and the gospel side is vacant. The narthex is nonexistent since the main entrance is actually behind the altar with side entrances filtering from the front. To the left of the gospel side is the sacristy. The tabernacle is directly behind the altar, but facing the opposite direction, meaning you can walk around the alter and pray towards the tabernacle and the nave, with a small wall separating the two.
To the left of the transept is a beautiful recreation, again, of the apparition of Mary in Lourdes for adoration. On the opposite side are an array of saints for adoration.
To learn more about Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Toronto click here.
To learn more about Lourdes, click here.
To learn more about Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, click here.
For my Canadian adventure click here.
For my last review of a Catholic church click here.


Anonymous said...

There is no longer any such thing as "the gospel side" of a sanctuary. The Gospel can be read from either side -- wherever the ambo/pulpit has been placed. The old distinction (one side for Old Testament readings, the other for the Gospel) was determined to have been rooted in anti-semitism. Now all readings are proclaimed from the same side (i.e., either).

Tito said...


If you're correct, thanks for the clarification. Where can I find the most current information regarding the proper names for the the different parts of the church?

As far as the 'anti-semitism' charge I would respectfully disagree with you until that information is pointed out to me.

God bless,


Anonymous said...

I hope you enjoyed your stay in Toronto. Actually, there are two other Roman Catholic churches in downtown Toronto that have daily noon masses: St. Michael's Cathedral on Bond Street, near the Eaton Centre, and St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church on McCaul Street, near the Art Gallery of Ontario. In addition, St. Stephen's Chapel, a sort of satellite location of St. Michael's Cathedral, provides noon mass to the business crowd on Bay Street.

God bless,

Derwin, a Torontonian

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