St. Thomas Parish is a parish that has a history dating back to the mid nineteenth century, when Catholics first started settling in the Waterdown area. The first Catholic Church in Waterdown was built in 1846 and was a small wooden structure. Prior to this circuit priests served the Catholic population from Dundas and Oakville. After the first church was built in Waterdown it became a mission of St. Mary's Parish in Hamilton. The first church was built in 1846, and was originally named St. Francis, then in 1852 was renamed St. Thomas the Apostle. This was to reflect the donation of the land by Mr. Thomas English an early settler who had emigrated from England. The existing St. Thomas Cemetery is located on this land, which is located on the south side of Dundas St in Waterdown and is still in operation to this day.
The second Catholic Church built in Waterdown was completed and dedicated in June of 1864. This church was built of stone and was a more permanent structure than the previous wooden one. It was located where the existing St. Thomas cemetery is now. In 1877 the parish became a mission of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Freelton. The parish history of St. Thomas at that time parallels that of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as the priests in Freelton also served at St. Thomas during this period. The building was in use for some time until the present church was built and completed in 1915. The second church was eventually demolished in 1937.
The third Catholic Church built in Waterdown is the present one at 44 Flamboro St that is currently in use by the parish. Construction on it began in 1914. A new more centrally located church. was needed at that time.
The Catholic population in the area continued to increase on a very gradual basis, and in 1950 the Bishop of Hamilton changed the role of St Thomas from a mission church to that of a separate parish by appointing Father Joseph P Cremmen as the first pastor. Since then the growth of the parish has continued in direct relation to the growth and development of the Town of Waterdown and surrounding area.
Around 1990 the parish found itself in a similar situation where the growth of the parish has exceeded the capacity of the existing church. In the course of the last 50 years many things have changed in the church in regards to liturgy and parish life that need to be reflected in a new church building. The existing church had served the parish of St. Thomas very well over the years, however the parish must move on in a new building that has the space and other necessary facilities to serve a modern and growing parish community.
St. Thomas the Apostle
St. Thomas was a Jew, called to be one of the twelve Apostles. He was a dedicated follower of Christ. When Jesus said He was returning to Judea to visit His sick friend Lazarus, Thomas immediately exhorted the other Apostles to accompany Him on the trip that involved certain danger and possible death because of the mounting hostility of the authorities. At the Last Supper, when Christ told His Apostles that He was going to prepare a place for them to which they also might come because they knew both the place and the way, Thomas pleaded that they did not understand and received the beautiful assurance that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
St. Thomas is best known for his role in verifying the Resurrection of his Master. Thomas' unwillingness to believe that the other Apostles had seen their risen Lord on the first Easter Sunday earned him the title of "doubting Thomas." Eight days later, on Christ's second apparition, Thomas was gently rebuked for his skepticism and given the evidence he had demanded - seeing in Christ's hands the point of the nails and putting his fingers in the place of the nails and his hand into His side. At this, St. Thomas became convinced of the truth of the Resurrection and exclaimed: "My Lord and My God," thus making a public Profession of Faith in the Divinity of Jesus. St. Thomas is also mentioned as being present at another Resurrection appearance of Jesus - at Lake when a miraculous catch of fish occurred. This is all that we know about St. Thomas from the New Testament. Tradition says that at the dispersal of the Apostles after Pentecost this saint was sent to evangelize the Parthians, Medes, and Persians. He ultimately reached India, carrying the Faith to the Malabar coast, which still boasts a large native population calling themselves "Christians of St. Thomas." He finished his life by shedding his blood for his Master, speared to death at a place called Calamine. His feast day is July 3rd and he is the patron saint of architects.
Parish Pastoral Staff