St. Bonaventure Parish
Toronto ON

M3C 2K9





Who we are

OUR VISION: THE SPIRIT OF ASSISI

St. Bonaventure Parish, the Franciscan Friars and Secular Franciscans working together to respond to the spiritual hungers of the community by becoming as oasis of peace, prayer and service; a little bit of Assisi in Toronto.

OUR MISSION

We are a community of believing people, who have chosen St. Bonaventure as our spiritual home within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto. Together, inspired by the Franciscan Spirit, we seek to live and proclaim the Gospel of Christ in our daily lives by becoming a holy people and serving our sisters and brothers for the Glory of God.



Church Address

St. Bonaventure Parish
1300 Leslie Street
Don Mills
Toronto, ON M3C 2K9
Canada
Phone: 416.447.5571
Fax: 416.447.4082
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Church Pastor

Fr. Dennis J. Mason, OFM Conv.
Fr. Dennis J. Mason, OFM Conv.
Pastor
1300 Leslie Street
Don Mills
Toronto, ON M3C 2K9
Canada
Phone: 416.447.5571 / 416.441.0932
Fax: 416.447.4082
Download Pastor Fr. Dennis J. Mason, OFM Conv. vCard   Edit


Chocolate Gift Baskets Canada

Quote of the Day
James 4:7

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Denomination


Affiliations

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Church Website


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St. Bonaventure Parish on YouTube




Leadership

Leader Name:
Fr. Dennis J. Mason, OFM Conv.   Edit
Leader Position:
Pastor   Edit
Formal Title:
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Leader Address:
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Tel:
Fax:
416.447.4082   Edit
Leader Email:
Leader Bio:
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Other Church Leaders:
Friar Peter Knaapen, Associate Pastor
Friar David Suckling, Pastoral Associate
Sal Badali, Deacon   Edit

Leadership Photos



Administration

Admin Name:
Connie Durante   Edit
Admin Position:
Parish Manager   Edit
Admin Address:
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Tel:
Fax:
416.447.4082   Edit
Admin Email:

Mailing Address

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Driving Directions

A From:
B To:
1300 Leslie Street Don Mills, Toronto, ON
Mode of Travel:




Travel/Directions Tips

We are located at 1300 Leslie Street, south of Lawrence Avenue, and south of Edwards Gardens. Take bus 54 or 51 from the Eglinton Station or bus 51 from the Leslie Station.   Edit


Parking

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St. Bonaventure Parish Toronto Mass Times

Weekday Liturgy

Monday to Friday, 9 am
Public Holidays: 9 am
Reconciliation: Saturday,

4 pm

Sunday Liturgy
Saturday Vigil: 5 pm
Sunday: 8:30 am, 10 am,

12 noon

Ministry Centre

416.447.5571

Office Hours
Monday to Thursday
9:00 am – 4:30 pm

closed 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
Friday

9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Saturday 2:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Sunday 9:30 am – 1:30 pm

COVID-19

The Franciscan Church of St. Bonaventure

TUESDAY MORNINGS: gatherings in ZOOM meetings at 10:00 – 11:30 am.

LIVING GRACEFULLY DURING THE PANDEMIC

November 10 Living Gracefully during the Pandemic
From living with regrets to Looking Forward

November 24 Living Gracefully during the Pandemic
Abiding in Love & Love in troubled times

December 8 Living Gracefully during the Pandemic
Keeping Hope Alive

December 22 Living Gracefully during the Pandemic
The Embrace of Joy & Living in Joy

Mass Times last updated on the 28th of October, 2020
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Worship Languages

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Dress Code

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Sunday School / Children and Youth Activities

Under 12s:
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Under 18s:
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Local outreach & community activities

Spiritual & Pastoral Care
The Prayer Network
Private Prayer
Christian Meditation Group
Sunday Coffee Teams
St. Bonaventure Hockey League
St. Bonaventure Baseball League
Tobias House
The Catholic Women's League
The Knights of Columbus
St. Clare Inn
Alcoholics Anonymous   Edit

Other activities & ministries

Ministries

Pastoral Council
Finance Council
Volunteer Screening & Management
Sunday Collection Counters

The Environment & Art Ministry
Extraordinary Ministers of Communion
Ministers of Communion to the Homebound
Lectors
Ministers of Hospitality
The Youth Choir
The Noon Choir
Youth Altar
Weekday Liturgical Ministers
Children's Liturgy

Visitation Caregivers
The Canadian Food for Children
Casserole Makers
The Don Mills Community Food Bank
North York General Hospital Chaplaincy
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Marriage Preparation
Small Faith Communities
The Inquiry Team
The Catechumenate Team

Pastoral Care
St. Paul’s Breakfast Club
Sacramental Preparation
The Family Choir   Edit

Special Needs/Accessibility

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Prayers and Hymns

Main Bible:
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Hymns and Songs:
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Other information

Average Adult Congregation:
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Average Youth Congregation:
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Additional Info:
Office Hours
Monday to Thursday
9:00 am – 4:30 pm closed 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
Friday 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Saturday 2:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Sunday 9:30 am – 1:30 pm   Edit


Church Photos




History of St. Bonaventure Parish Toronto

The history of the parish of St. Bonaventure is almost the history of Don Mills, since construction of the church began just a few years after the 1953 birth of the suburb − ‘Canada’s Finest Planned Community.’ Catholic families were prominent among the first to move into Don Mills, and the need for a parish church was soon keenly felt. In January 1956, the Archbishop of Toronto, His Eminence James Cardinal McGuigan, placed the members of the new parish of Don Mills in the care of the Franciscans − Order of Friars Minor Conventual. There was as yet no church, rectory or school. The 200 or so Catholic families of Don Mills mostly attended St. Gabriel’s church and school in Willowdale.

From that time on, things moved fast and joyfully. It is no exaggeration to say that the atmosphere was one of contagious excitement, with parishioners getting a real taste of what it meant to be pioneers, to go forth and blaze a path in what until a few years before had mostly been unpaved tracks and sparse habitations. The 1960s were a period of great activity in the church and saw the development of many societies and organizations, including the Catholic Women’s League, the Holy Name Society, the Knights of Columbus, the parish choir, and various sports and social groups. As the 25th anniversary publication describes the events of 1957-63: ‘In the beautiful church, and under the guiding hand of Friar Kieran, the congregation began to witness and participate in the full splendour of the liturgy. There was an increase in spiritual programs, greater involvement in charitable and benevolent causes, and outreach to the broader community. The pastor’s great love for music was reflected in many ways.’ That legacy continues to the present day: St. Bonaventure has a well-deserved reputation as being a church of music. Friar Kieran was assigned to another pastorate in 1963 and sadly would die two years later.

He had worked hard for six years and had set the new parish on a steady course. He was succeeded by Friar Cecil, whose good-natured presence and intimate knowledge of the parish and its people helped create a populist persona about him. People felt they could relax with Friar Cecil and not be quite so hard on themselves.

Nevertheless, Friar Cecil frowned on any backsliding with regard to the eternal truths as they concerned love and justice, the sanctity of life and the importance of the family. Friar Cecil had the uncanny ability to relate to ordinary people and it has been said that some of his best ministry was done walking down the aisles in the local Dominion store talking with people. In 1970, Friar Cecil was transferred to Endicott , NY . Parishioners here were sorry to see him go, for he had played an important role in the development of St. Bonaventure.

A familiar figure in the Don Mills community in general, his amiability helped draw the parish family close together and he was always a warm favourite with the children at the school. The Dominion store never really was the same after he left!

The appointment of Friar Briant Cullinane as pastor in 1970 was very well received, since he had already been a lively, energetic part of the parish team for more than seven years. Nobody worked harder than he did, though it’s fair to say he pushed many parishioners to try! And they did try, since Friar Briant showed himself to be a truly inspirational leader, capable of getting the best out of his flock. The Franciscan community was very vibrant and various friars lived among us including Friar Raymond Sobocinski and George Sabol. They and Friar Regis Rodda were also involved in the establishment of our “daughter” parish of Blessed John XXIII. In his 13 years with us (6 as pastor) Friar Briant helped create a warm spiritual home that was also the focus of many social and sporting interests. Friar Briant led the renovation of St. Bonaventure’s Church and expansion of the Parish Centre. He brought an exceptional level of care to this project which resulted in the excellence and beauty of our parish facilities. St.Bonaventure became the jewel of the Archdiocese. Friar Briant’s farewell party at the parish hall in 1976 (he was elected Vicar Provincial of the Franciscan Order, for his province) is remembered as a joyous occasion tinged with more than a little sadness. It was attended by just about the whole parish as well as fellow priests, well-wishers and clergy of other denominations. It would come as no surprise when, shortly afterward, Friar Briant was elected Minister Provincial of the Immaculate Conception Province of the Franciscan Order. Friar Tobias Klein followed Friar Briant and would serve as our pastor until 1982. His pastorate was very sensitive to contemporary issues, with increased emphasis on outreach ministries and greater use of the parish council to oversee pastoral directives. He was instrumental in acquiring the Casavant pipe-organ for the parish. It was a welcome addition to the church’s liturgy. It is hard to imagine St. Bonaventure without it. Of note at the friary were also Friars Michael Smyth, Reg Sweeney and Canice Connors. Friar David Collins became the next pastor. This was truly a homecoming for David and a sign of blessing on the local community: one of its own had become the pastor! As someone who grew up in the parish, he had a good understanding of what the parish needed. A closer relationship between the school and church staff developed, and the youth group became active again. The Renew program strengthened the community in many ways. Some of these faith sharing groups still meet today on a regular basis. The local Franciscan community included Friar Michael Smyth, the treasurer of the Order in Canada. Bro. Michael, as he was known to most, had an exceptional capacity to connect with people in the parish, especially those who were newcomers. These warm relationships led this most simple and frugal friar to visit such farflung places as Africa , including Egypt . Another important member of the community was the associate pastor, Friar Tom Saunders. Tom was a tall, handsome, imposing man who had faced many struggles in his life as a friar, especially as a missionary in Costa Rica . Friar Tom was quite open and honest about the painful moments of his life. This led many of our parishioners to finally face some of their own “demons” and work toward a healing process. Tom was also very passionate about bringing the Gospel to life. This led him to initiate the dramatic presentations of the Passion on Good Friday and the Nativity during the late Advent Season. Through these events Friar Tom created a sense of real welcome, and many people were drawn to, or back to, the Catholic Church. The years 1985 and 1986 stand out as being particularly eventful. In August 1985, Friar Rick Riccioli joined the local friary after finishing his undergraduate studies. He was to spend a “fraternal apostolic” year in the community and work in the parish. It was also the year that the community experienced the sudden death of Friar Tom Saunders and then later the death of Friar Tobias Klein. Toby, as the friars called him, fought valiantly against his cancer but in April left us. The periods of pain were also mingled with great joy as the parish hosted the Ordination to the Priesthood of Friar Mark Steed in 1987. This was the first, but not last, presbyteral ordination to take place at St.Bonaventure. A very youthful Friar John Ruffo arrived in 1988 after serving in Québec. He came with energy and an amazing game of tennis! He carried on with the Chris tmas pageant and the parish picnics, which by now had become traditions at St. Bonaventure. The parish was a welcoming space for all. An interesting presence among us was that of Friar George Sandor. Friar George was living in the friary while working on his doctorate in Medieval Studies. The friars remember him as a caring presence and an exceptional host and chef. Many of our young people found in him a compassionate confidant and mentor. His passion for St. Francis and St. Clare and all things Franciscan was instrumental in our parish’s renewal. During that time Friar Phil Daley arrived as a deacon and was ordained a priest in 1989. Friar Phil was especially noted for his music ministry, which forever changed St. Bonaventure. Sadly he left the friars and active ministry. Many years later he resumed his ministry as a diocesan priest in Manitoba . In June 1990, the friary and parish hosted the presbyteral ordination of Friar Rick Riccioli. It took place on the evening of Pentecost in the midst of a huge summer wind storm. The opening hymn at the liturgy “Send Down the Fire,” had many believing that this was actually happening as the roof seemed to groan, creating the impression that it was about to come loose.

The ordination was presided by the Most Reverend Edward Grosz, the auxiliary Bishop of Buffalo and Secular Franciscan, who inspired everyone with his warmth and humour. This liturgy and many others were videotaped by Bob Brooks, the Emmy Award winning professional who helped create the parish’s collective memory and whose photographs are abundant in 50 th Anniversary book, along with those of Richard Valenti and Richard Rix. Friar Joseph Madden became pastor in 1992. Although he was pastor for a short time, the parish was blessed with his spiritual guidance. He inspired many with his passion for the Sacred Scriptures and his commitment to issues of justice and peace. He was assisted by Friar Peter Knaapen, whose quiet strength and counsel were appreciated by so many. In 1994, Friar David Collins returned as Pastor. This time his ministry as pastor was in addition to his ministry as Provincial Custos (major superior) of the friars in Canada . The friary included Friars Michael Smyth and Boniface Reinhart; and later Ed Debono, Phil Kelly and Austin Williams. Parish life continued to flourish. It was also around this time that Tobias House was finally realized. Tobias House is about providing housing and support services for people with physical disabilities so that they can live independently. Two locations were built in Toronto : at Coxwell and Danforth; and at Church and Carleton. In 1996, Friar David Suckling, a friar in First Vows, came to minister at St. Bonaventure as part of his formation program. He lived at St. Anthony Friary on Madison Avenue and came up to Don Mills every day. Friar David was previously married to Margaret and together their home was one that welcomed children of all kinds; their own, their foster children and those with significant physical disabilities. It was after Margaret’s death that David − a father, grandfather, great grandfather − joined the Franciscan Order. His life experience made him an instant hit with the schoolchildren at St. Bonaventure, and he became a valued member of the pastoral team. On September 20, 1998 , Friar David made his Solemn Profession of Vows at St. Bonaventure into the hands of The Very Reverend David Collins, the Provincial Custos of the Friars. In 2001, Friar Rick Riccioli became Associate Pastor, while living at the downtown friary on Madison Avenue. Soon afterward, in 2002, World Youth Day came to Toronto . The Franciscans and St. Bonaventure, under the leadership of Friar Ed Debono, hosted FrancisFest, one of many festivals which were part of WYD 2002. Franciscans of all sorts, men and women, lay and religious found a home here, and the spirit of Francis and Clare was seen to be very much alive among us all. St. Bonaventure’s ability to host these events was in part due to the amazing people of all ages who gave more than 100% of themselves. Three people in particular stand out as truly amazing, both for their assistance with FrancisFest and to the parish over many years: Mrs Karen Abbott, parish secretary, Mr. Tony de Melo, long-standing custodian; and his able assistant, Mr. Luigi Gabriele. These three did much to help the friars shine and the parish to excel . The events of the summer of 2002 led many of the friars to re-imagine the potential of their ministry at St. Bonaventure. This would lead to the vision of the Spirit of Assisi … bringing the peace, prayer and service associated with St.

Francis to our community … a little bit of Assisi in Toronto . Part of the renewal of St. Bonaventure included building a new friary that was better able to sustain a larger community, with members at various degrees of mobility. Plans were also made for the new Ministry Centre to be the hub of parish activities.

Friar Richard Riccioli became Pastor in September, 2003, and Friar Mark Steed joined the local community. Friar Mark brought his many years of training and experience in spirituality and adult education to respond to the need expressed by parishioners for a deepening of their faith. Friar Boniface Reinhart, who had served faithfully as Associate Pastor and whose passionate preaching inspired so many to return to the faith, moved on in ministry to provide weekend assistance to the exploding population of a Mississauga parish and to Prayer Ministry in our own midst. The Ministry Centre opened in 2004. With it came a new sense of ownership among the parishioners. The Parish Pastoral Council led a renewed approach to ministry and leadership, which resulted in the hiring of a Parish Manager to oversee the facilities, finances and personnel issues of the parish. This challenging position in our community was assumed by Mrs. Connie Durante. In 2004, Karen Abbot the parish secretary retired. A new yet not-so-new face appeared in the person of Jeanette Williams. Jeanette, who had grown up in the parish as one of the “ Bell ” family, now returned to take on the role of Pastoral Associate. The two of them were assisted in the transition by one of our founders, Mrs. Mildred Cope.

An important development during this time was the establishment of Don Mills’s own Community Food Bank supported by the local churches. This was in addition to the wonderful work already being done to provide food to the Good Shepherd Centre and our monthly collection for Dr. Simone. Another project brought to life at St. Bonaventure was that of the Friends of St. Francis. This group of parishioners has sought to respond to the issue of homelessness in Toronto by providing transitional housing for homeless women who also have problems with addictions or mental health issues. In June, 2006, Friar Tom Purcell was hired as the Executive Director of St. Clare Inn . This modest home is but the first step in the response to St. Francis’s challenge: “Preach the Gospel always; if necessary use words.” Finally, the following appeared in St. Bonaventure’s 25 th Anniversary publication, in 1981: ‘St. Bonaventure’s crosses the threshold into its second quarter-century as a mature, cosmopolitan parish − enriched by 25 years of spiritual guidance in the Franciscan tradition. When the parish celebrates its Golden Jubilee in 2006, may the Pastor and parishioners of that day say of us, their predecessors: “What they did, they did exceedingly well!”’ Without doubt we may say that they did more than exceedingly well. What they did was exceptional and serves as a fitting tribute to their selfless love of God, community, commitment, duty, compassion and social justice. We must be grateful to them for helping to launch and guide one of the most dynamic and community oriented churches of modern times. Importantly, they based their structure on the three pillars that represent the timeless values of St. Francis: spirituality, community and service. Today’s parishioners may benefit from that legacy and fulfil their own obligation to build an even stronger church for future generations of Catholics in the Franciscan tradition − a church that continues to reach out to the world with a sense of willing compassion.   Edit


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The power of Christian prayer Learn to know Christ
Learn to know Christ and him crucified. Learn to sing to him, and say, Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, I am your sin. You have taken upon yourself what is mine and given me what is yours. You have become what you were not so that I might become what I was not.
This page was last updated on the 28th of October, 2020
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