About the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate:
In the early years of Guelph the Catholics were mainly Irish. From 1827 to 1835 there was no church and no priest in town. Finally, by 1835, the parishioners were able to construct a small wooden church on the hill, and, being mainly Irish, they dedicated it to St. Patrick. It was the first painted structure in the settlement, and was used until October 10, 1844, when it was destroyed by fire.
In 1837 Father Thomas McGivney became the first resident pastor in Guelph, and was responsible as well for the territory from Mount Forest to Goderich. The parish was still extremely poor. Father McGivney was involved, along with several Protestant ministers and other citizens, in the establishment of the Guelph School Board, and in 1846 he dedicated a small stone church, St. Bartholomew, which replaced St. Patrick’s. The church was destroyed in a fire and the faithful of Guelph, of the diocese of Toronto, built a new church, in honor of the blessed apostle Bartholomew. 1845. Father McGivney was killed in a riding accident on October 17, 1846.
In 1841, Guelph came under the jurisdiction of the new Diocese of Toronto, which was separated in that year from the Diocese of Kingston.
The years following the death of Father McGivney were difficult for the parish. Many Irish immigrants arrived fleeing the potato famine in their homeland and they were destitute and often suffering from disease. Tensions between the religious groups in Guelph increased. But through it all the parish grew: on June 12, 1977 the Catholics of Guelph marked the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Catholic life in Guelph by holding a procession through the center of the city, followed by a Holy Hour.
The Basilica is built in Gothic style and features decorative carving and stained glass executed by skilled craftsmen.
The church was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990. Pope Francis designated the church a basilica on 8 December 2014.
Finding the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate in Guelph:
Address: 28 Norfolk Street, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 4H8 Canada
Click here for the official website of the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate.