Stained glass windows. Green and purple.

Priests in Charge


Priests in charge of Durham region
James Crowley 1824 - 1826
Angus Macdonell 1827
William John O’Grady 1828 - 1833
William Patrick McDonagh 1833 - 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 Bennett 1843
William Nightingale and
Henry Fitzpatrick 
1843 - 1847
Edward Smith 1848
Jean Baptiste Proulx 1848 - 1860
Eugine O’Keefe 1860 - 1862
John Joseph Shea 1862 - 1872
Joseph John McCann 1872 - 1877
John Joseph McEntee 1877 - 1883 
Priests in charge of Whitby
Patrick James McColl 1883 - 1890
Patrick Kiernam 1890 - 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 Hand 1891 - 1892
Michael Joseph Jeffcott 1892 - 1901
Andrew O’Malley 1901 - 1907
Michael Cline 1907 - 1913
H. Murray 1913 - 1921 
Priests in charge of St. John's, Whitby
Charles Cantillon 1913 - 1914
William Joseph Ryan 1914 - 1937
D. Vincent Hickey 1937 - 1956
Leo J. Austin 1956 - 1975
John Harrington CSsR 1975 - 1980
Robert B. Clune 1979 - 1991
      Anthony Meagher 1980 - 1981
      Albert Love 1981 - 1982
      Stanley Blackwell 1982 - 1985
      Bernard Wilson 1985 - 1991
Andrew Macbeth 1991 - 2003
Anthony Iacobelli 2003 - 2012 
Damian Ali 2012 - 2020
Francisco Fernandez Siles 2020 - 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.