St. John Chrysostom Parish Newmarket ON

L3Y 2K4

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Who we are

St. John Chrysostom Parish is a large and vibrant parish located in Newmarket, Ontario north of Toronto. We have about 4000 registered families and serves five elementary schools and one high school. Established in 1841, it is one of the oldest parishes in the region, predating the existence of the Archdiocese itself by one year. by visiting the pages on the menu, you can learn about us including our parish patron, our crest, and our history.

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Location of worship

St. John Chrysostom Parish
432 Ontario Street
Newmarket, ON L3Y 2K4
Canada
Phone: (905) 898-4137
Fax: (905) 898-0277
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Church Pastor

Rev. Efren Alvarez Pelayo
Rev. Efren Alvarez Pelayo
Parish Priest
432 Ontario Street
Newmarket, ON L3Y 2K4
Canada
Phone: (905) 898-4137 ext 230
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Music of the Day

My hope is built on nothing less


My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name. ...

Denomination

Roman Catholic



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Affiliations

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Church Website


St. John Chrysostom Parish on Social Media


Facebook Video: St. John Chrysostom Parish Facebook Video




Leadership

Leader Name:
Rev. Efren Alvarez Pelayo   Edit
Leader Position:
Parish Priest   Edit
Formal Title:
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Leader Address:
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Phone:
Fax:
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Leader Email:
Click here to contact Rev. Efren Alvarez Pelayo   Edit
Leader Bio:
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Other Church Leaders:
Fr. Miro Michalik, Associate Pastor   Edit

Leadership Photos



Administration

Admin Name:
Louisa Steele   Edit
Admin Position:
Parish Office   Edit
Admin Address:
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Phone:
Fax:
(905) 898-0277   Edit
Admin Email:
Click here to contact Louisa Steele   Edit

Mailing Address

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Driving Directions

A From:
B To:
432 Ontario Street, Newmarket, ON
Mode of Travel:




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St. John Chrysostom Parish Mass Times

​Sunday Masses​

​Saturday
​5 pm
7 pm (Cantonese & Mandarin)

Sunday
​8:30 am
10 am
12 noon
5 pm (Spanish & English)

Weekday Masses​
​Monday No masses on Monday
​Tuesday ​7 pm
​Wednesday ​12 noon
​Thursday ​8 am
​Friday 8 am - Second, Third and Fourth Fridays
​7 pm - First Friday - Adoration & Benediction
​Saturday 9 am

Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession, Penance)

​Saturday
​After morning Mass - approximately 9:40 am
6:30 pm in Chinese

​Other Times
​By appointment

​Communal Advent Celebration of Reconciliation
​Usually the first or second week of Advent

​Communal Lenten Celebration of Reconciliation
Usually two weeks prior to Easter

​Day of Confessions
Usually two weeks prior to Easter and Christmas

It's been more than 3 years since the last mass times update. Please make sure to contact the church to confirm mass times.

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Worship Languages

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Dress Code

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Sunday School / Children and Youth Activities

Under 12s:
Vacation Bible School

Monday - Friday 9 AM - 12 noon

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Under 18s:
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Local outreach & community activities

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Other activities & ministries

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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:
Christmas Office Hours

December 24: 9 am to 12 pm
December 25 & 26: Office closed
December 29 & 30: Regular office hours
December 31: 9 am to 12 pm
January 1: Office closed
January 2: 9 am to 4 pm   Edit


St. John Chrysostom Parish Church Newmarket Photos




St. John Chrysostom Parish History

St. John's Parish was established in 1841. It is older than the Archdiocese itself.

The Beginnings of the Town of Newmarket

In June 1800, Timothy Rogers, a Quaker from Vermont, came north to explore the area around the Holland River and up to Lake Simcoe. He sought to create a new home for the Quakers fleeing persecution after refusing to participate in the violence that accompa-nied the American Revolutionary War. The fol-lowing year, "in the dead of winter," Rogers moved his and several other Quaker families by sleigh from Vermont to settle in the 8,000 acres of land which had been granted to him around Yonge Street. The Yonge Street settlement eventually grew to become the town of Newmarket. The original Quaker Meeting House still stands on Yonge Street just south of Eagle Street to this day and is home to a practicing community of Quakers (Religious Society of Friends).

By Christmas of 1801, Joseph Hill had constructed a mill on the Holland River, at what is now known as Fairy Lake. Soon shops started to spring up just north of this mill, as it was a natural location for trade and commerce to take place. This became Newmarket’s Main Street. By 1820, Main Street had fourteen buildings: three stores, an inn, a doctor's office, a blacksmith’s forge, a shoemaker, a hatter, a number of mil-lers and a meeting house.

The town continued to grow, and in the 1830s it became a hotbed of political dissent. William Lyon Mackenzie, who had been elected as the first mayor of Toronto in 1834, organized a number of reform-movement meetings in an attempt to both overthrow the old order of the Tory establish-ment and reject the Family Compact, the name given to a small group of men who exer-cised most of the political, economic and judicial power in Upper Canada. One of the first of these meetings was held on Main Street in Newmarket. York County was to be-come renowned as the birth-place of responsible government. The outcome of this was the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837 or a time, this small Irish Catholic population relied on itinerant, missionary priests from St. Paul's Church in Toronto (then known as York). One such priest was Fr. Edward Gordon who rode on horseback from town to town car-rying all that he needed to administer the sacraments (including an altar stone on which to say Mass). Just some of the territory covered included York, Brampton, Markham, Scarborough, Holland Landing, Georgina and Niagara. When poor Fr. Gordon literally wore himself out, Catholics in the area were without pastoral care for three years. Reli-gious practice was so important to these early residents that many considered moving to the United States where there was not such a clergy shortage.

In 1938, the bishop of the time, Alexander MacDonnell decided to consider the possibil-ity of establishing a church for the Catholics of Newmarket, Holland Landing, West Gwillimbury, Brock, Mara and Thorah. At the time there were "fifty six Catholics, of whom thirty-four were old enough to go to communion." That November, six men met at storekeeper John Walsh's home to talk about building a church. This little group of committed believers began fundraising, but the meagre sixty dollars that they raised was no where near adequate. The next year the group of representatives grew to nine. Gath-ering in the home of a man named William Wallace, they committed themselves to building a church.

The First Catholics

During the period of political turmoil of the 1930s, Irish Roman Catholic immigrants slowly began moving into Newmarket. Although they were a reform minded group and certainly no fans of Britain and its institutions, these Catholic settlers followed the advice of Kingston Bishop Alexander MacDonnell and did not take part in the armed rebellion. Their silence was seen by the government as a sign of loyalty and prompted the British Government to grant approbation for the formation of the Diocese of Toronto in 1840. Previously it had been a part of the large Diocese of Kingston. There was a feeling among the government that a Catholic bishop might be helpful in "quelling that spirit of insubordination and fierce democratic spirit" displayed "in many parts of the frontier line."

A Church of their Own

For a time, this small Irish Catholic population relied for it’s pastoral care on itinerant, missionary priests from St. Paul's Church in Toronto (then known as York). One such priest was Fr. Edward Gordon who rode on horseback from town to town carrying all that he needed to administer the sacraments (including an altar stone on which to say Mass). Just some of the territory covered included York, Brampton, Markham, Scar-borough, Holland Landing, Georgina and Niagara. When poor Fr. Gordon literally wore himself out, Catholics in the area were without pastoral care for three years. Religious practice was so important to these early residents that many considered moving to the United States where there was not such a clergy shortage.

In 1938, the bishop of the time, Alexander Macdonell de-cided to consider the possibility of establishing a church for the Catholics of Newmarket, Holland Landing, West Gwillimbury, Brock, Mara and Thorah. At the time there were "fifty six Catholics, of whom thirty-four were old enough to go to communion."

That November, six men met at storekeeper John Walsh's home to talk about building a church. This little group of committed believers began fundraising, but the meagre sixty dollars that they raised was no where near adequate. The next year the group of representatives grew to nine. Gathering in the home of a man named William Wallace, they committed themselves to building a church.

Construction was completed on the first church in Newmarket in the fall of 1839. It was a barebones, white-frame church measuring 40' by 20' and was situated on a hill in St. Patrick’s Ward, roughly where the current church’s north parking lot is located today. The basement was intended to serve as the first school. The cemetery was located to the west of the church.

For quite some time, the people had a church but no pastor. There was no seminary in Upper Canada, so priests primarily came from Ireland. The life of clergy in these mis-sions was difficult. According to Fr. Dean William Harris, "if he lives to the age of fifty, the priest is practically an old man." Unsurprisingly, it was difficult to find people to serve.

In 1840, St. Mary’s church was formally constituted as a mission. This meant it began to keep formal records of births, marriages and deaths. The pastor was Fr. James Quinlan, originally of Ireland but who had also served in parishes in Saint John, New Brunswick, Cincinnati, Ohio and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania before coming to Newmarket and the Lake Simcoe missions. With the influx of Irish immigrants due to the potato famine, the size of the population grew quickly. It was not long before the little white frame church was no longer adequate. How could this community of impoverished immigrants afford to build a new church? Not only were they able to afford very little, but (by their own ad-mission) the clergy of the time had not been able to properly manage what little funds there were. It was not until Fr. Patrick Keane arrived that the parish became fiscally sound enough to begin thinking of building a larger church. It was 1872.

One struggle ended and a new one began. The priest and the parishioners disagreed strongly regarding the location of the new church. Fr. Keane wanted the existing ceme-tery moved and a church built on top of it. The poor, uneducated Irish parishioners were horrified at the idea for two reasons. First of all, they were superstitious and not at all pleased with the idea of exhuming their dead. Secondly, many had been too poor to afford proper grave markers for their loved ones and they were concerned that their re-mains might be lost in the move. Petitions were signed and sent to the Archbishop. Since a location had already been selected for a new cemetery north of Paddytown, the Archbishop sided wtih Fr. Keane. The bodies were exhumed and moved north. (When the new church was struck by lightening only one year after it was completed, the pa-rishioners read this as a sign that though the Archbishop had sided with the priest, the All-powerful Creator of the Universe had sided with them.)

An Undesirable Minority

Before we look at the building of the new church, let us spend a moment on the community of Irish Catholics in Newmarket. The Irish Catholics were held in distain by their majority Protestant neighbours. Though the men took up jobs as labourers in Newmarket and its surround-ing areas, the Irish Catholics were ostracized - excluded from the public school system and not allowed to live in the town proper. They congregated instead in the area outside of the village just north of today's Davis Drive. The area was known as Paddytown. Here they built small homes out of logs heated with wood burned in the field-stone fireplaces. Gardens and small orchards were plant-ed and barns were built to raise livestock. The Irish dietary staples of cabbage and pota-toes were supplemented with wild berries and venison. They sold excess produce in the village.

The Irish Catholics were not only physically marginalized, they were also excluded from the public school system and offered only the most low-paying employment. This, of course, perpetuated their poverty and associated issues. The situation worsened during 1847-48 with the Irish potato famine. Millions left their homeland and a great many of them came to Canada. The trip was treacherous and many died en route. Those who survived the journey brought with them a disastrous typhus epidemic. Already held in suspicion, the Irish were now regarded as carriers of contagion. Indeed, typhus was known by many as "Irish immigrant fever." (The first bishop of Toronto -- Michael Power -- himself succumbed to the disease after working in the "fever sheds" in Toronto.)

In the 1890s the Equal Rights Association was established. While "equal rights" sounds like a perfectly noble goal, the group was rooted in the fear that the rights extended to the growing minority of Catholics would undermine their own rights and privileges. Un-der the guise of equality, the group wanted to destroy the separate school system, abol-ish the use of the French language outside Quebec, blacklist Catholic workers, boycott Catholic merchants and exclude Catholics from the civil service. This group gained a de-gree of popularity in the Newmarket area, at one point hanging a banner reading "Equal Rights to All" across Main Street.

Well into the 1940s there were still significant barriers for Catholics. For example, priests, unlike Protestant ministers, were denied access to the maternity wards of hospitals. Since Catholics were forbidden to belong to the Masonic Order (both by their own church and by the Masons), they had trouble integrating into community life. It was im-possible for non-Masons to attain prominent work or elected positions.

Over time, this anti-Catholicism began to wane. Acceptance has triumphed over preju-dice. Today, Catholics are equally contributing and respected members of the communi-ty and very little of the old prejudices continue to exist. It is significant that three of the town's mayors - Joseph Vale, Bob Forhan and Ray Twinney - have been Catholics.

St. John Chrysostom Parish's First Church

When it was finally time to build a church suitable for the growing Catholic community, well-known Toronto architect -- Henry Langley -- was commissioned to design the new Gothic style church. Upon completion in 1875, the church was described in the following way:

The beauty of the building adds to the view of Newmarket from passing trains. The exterior is simple red brick with a single slated spire, topped with a gilt cross. The interior remains just as simple, with subdued light from stained glass windows playing over white stucco walls, and a marble white ceiling supported by stained woodwork. The church is very spacious, with an upper gallery near the choir and organ if the lower level becomes too crowded. (The Era, 8 January 1875)

The cornerstone, containing a piece of rock from Lourdes was laid on Sunday, May 10th, 1874 by Archbishop of Toronto -- John J. Lynch. On the same day, he consecrated the new cemetery. The following year, the rectory burned down and the parish had to take on the burden of building a new one. A school was built just a few years later in 1880.

Slowly the congregation enhanced and beautified their new church by adding elements year by year.

1877 - Stations of the Cross 1880 - 800 pound Bell 1882 - High Altar 1898 - Stained Glass Windows of Sacred Heart and Last Supper (created by the es-teemed MacCausland stained glass artists) 1910 - Pipe Organ 1936 - Statue of Our Lady (donated by Herb Cain of NHL fame)

You can see some of these items in the church to this day.

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St. John Chrysostom Parish Historical Photos

The power of Christian prayer With us night and morning
By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered, and confidently waiting come what may, we know that God is with us night and morning, and never fails to greet us each new day. Yet is this heart by its old foe tormented, still evil days bring burdens hard to bear; Oh, give our frightened souls the sure salvation for which, O Lord, You taught us to prepare. And when this cup You give is filled to brimming with bitter suffering, hard to understand, we take it thankfully and without trembling, out of so good and so beloved a hand. Yet when again in this same world You give us the joy we had, the brightness of Your Sun, we shall remember all the days we lived through, and our whole life shall then be Yours alone.
St. John Chrysostom Parish listing was last updated on the 14th of June, 2020
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