About Our Parish

The Parish of St. Vincent de Paul is the direct successor of the many and often interrupted missionary endeavours in the Niagara area since 1626. Missionaries from france, mainly Franciscans and Jesuits, spread the Gospel in what is now Ontario, under the bishop in Quebec. The Parish of St. Vincent de Paul was one fo the three missions in Upper Canada.

Given that Newark, now Niagara-on-the-Lake, was home to Upper Canada's first parliament (1792), responsibilities for Upper Canada (Ontario) were transferred from Quebec to a new bishop in Kingston, Alexander Macdonnell in 1826. Bishop Macdonnel named Fr. James Campion as the first resident parish priest for the whole of Niagara Peninsula and thus, in 1826, St. Vincent de Paul Parish was established to serve the pastoral needs of the growing number of Catholics in the Niagara Peninsula and the west-central part of the Province. Though the area of its pastoral jurisdiction was soon reduced, St. Vincent de Paul remained very much a spiritual home to Catholics from both sides of the Niagara River for many years.

In April 1831, the Catholic residents met to discuss building a church. In May 1832, four acres of land were deeded to Bishop Macdonnel. The building process began and was completed in 1834. Bishop Alexander Macdonell of Kingston blessed the frame church with its Gothic windows on November 9, 1835. Pews were added in 1844. The original clapboard siding was covered with stucco in 1923.

The original building was enlarged by 1965 with the addition of a nine-sided structure compatible with the original windows and including three sets of oak doors. The sanctuary was updated in keeping with the liturgical directives of the Second Vatican Council.

The Most Reverend Thomas J. McCarthy, Bishop of St. Catharines, blessed the restoration of the original church and the polygon-shaped addition to the front of the building on July 25, 1965.

Today St. Vincent de Paul, an example of early church architecture in Canada, remains the oldest surviving Catholic Church still used for regular worship in the Province of Ontario.