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Priests in Charge

Priests in charge of Durham region
James Crowley1824 - 1826
Angus Macdonell1827
William John O’Grady1828 - 1833
William Patrick McDonagh1833 - 1842 
In 1828 Father O’Grady, an Irish priest, came to Upper Canada and was appointed pastor of York. He visited the eastern townships at intervals. In 1830 he said the first Mass in Oshawa at the home of Daniel Leonard, the first Catholic settler in the village. Also, in 1830 O’Grady was appointed Vicar General of Kingston diocese. O’Grady became one of the leaders of the advanced wing of the Reform Party and the editor of the Canadian Correspondent in 1832. He was suspended, presumably because of his political activities, in 1833.
Father Proulx, a native of Lachine, Quebec, came to Toronto and worked tirelessly among the sick and dying. He established a hospital of his own near Holland Landing, having had medical training and aided by a French Canadian.

In 1848 Proulx was appointed to the mission of Oshawa, which at that time included the entire county of Ontario. Father H. Murray of Oshawa told a story illustrating Proulx’s ability to overcome difficult situations. On one occasion he prevented a bloody confrontation from occurring in Oshawa when Irish Catholics were set to ambush a procession of Protestant Orangemen, by leading the Orange parade himself.

He succeeded in laying the spiritual foundation of the Oshawa /Whitby/Pickering mission, furnishing the town of Oshawa with improved church accommodations and educational facilities. 
Priests in charge of Oshawa and Whitby
James Bennett1843
William Nightingale and
Henry Fitzpatrick 
1843 - 1847
Edward Smith1848
Jean Baptiste Proulx1848 - 1860
Eugine O’Keefe1860 - 1862
John Joseph Shea1862 - 1872
Joseph John McCann1872 - 1877
John Joseph McEntee1877 - 1883 
Priests in charge of Whitby
Patrick James McColl1883 - 1890
Patrick Kiernam1890 - 1891 
Father McColl was placed in charge of Whitby in 1883 and remained there until 1890. Under his guidance, Whitby became a separate parish. McColl was St. John’s first parish priest. 
However, due to a shortage of priests, Whitby again became a mission of Oshawa in 1891.
Priest and author, Father O'Malley was born in Rochester, New York, on November 8, 1863. He served in several parishes in Ontario, including St. Mary’s and St. Paul’s in Toronto, St. Catharine's, and Uxbridge, and came to Oshawa in 1901 where he remained until 1907. In 1901 Whitby’s first Catholic church was destroyed by fire and rebuilt on the old site under Father O’Malley’s direction. On December 14, 1902, Archbishop Denis O’Connor performed the dedication ceremonies and on May 21, 1903 he blessed the altar. 
Priests in charge of Oshawa and Whitby
John Lawrence Hand1891 - 1892
Michael Joseph Jeffcott1892 - 1901
Andrew O’Malley1901 - 1907
Michael Cline1907 - 1913
H. Murray1913 - 1921 
Priests in charge of St. John's, Whitby
Charles Cantillon1913 - 1914
William Joseph Ryan1914 - 1937
D. Vincent Hickey1937 - 1956
Leo J. Austin1956 - 1975
John Harrington CSsR1975 - 1980
Robert B. Clune1979 - 1991
      Anthony Meagher1980 - 1981
      Albert Love1981 - 1982
      Stanley Blackwell1982 - 1985
      Bernard Wilson1985 - 1991
Andrew Macbeth1991 - 2003
Anthony Iacobelli2003 - 2012 
Damian Ali2012 - Present

Father Leo J. Austin was born in Toronto and ordained there on June 3, 1939. He served in several Toronto parishes before coming to Whitby in 1956. 
He organized a building fund campaign for the new church in October 1957, with a goal of $80 000. By December of that year, contributions had reached $100 646, surpassing all expectations. The sod was turned for the new church on Giffard Street on May 4, 1958 and the church was officially opened at Christmas 1958, with Midnight Mass.
The new church’s unique architecture attracted considerable attention for it was one of the first buildings in Canada to have a hyperbolic paraboloid style roof, and Father Austin was instrumental in choosing this design.
Catholic education was of particular interest to Father Austin: in 1959 he brought the Grey Sisters, a teaching order of nuns, to Whitby; under his guidance, St. Theresa's was build, and St. Leo's in Brooklin; he build four additions to St. John's school, and started Denis O'Connor High School in 1964 in Whitby.