About Us

Our Parish History

The original Church of St. Mary Immaculate goes back to 1857; however, its humble beginnings go back even further than that. In these earlier years before 1857, Catholics in these northern townships were looked after by missionary priests.
The original Church was located on Mill Street from 1857 until 1894, when the second Church was built and opened at the corner of Yonge and what is now Dunlop Street. The priest who built this church was Father Patrick McMahon.
In the 1950s, the Parish of St. Mary Immaculate experienced a large boom in the number of Parishioners. It was becoming evident that the church would be too small to accommodate the many new Parishioners moving into the area. So Father McGinn, the Pastor at the time, began to plan for a new church. Father McGinn would not live to see the new church, as he went to his heavenly reward on July 28, 1964.
In September 1964, Father Clement Schwalm was appointed Pastor of St. Mary Immaculate Church, and made the building of the new Church a priority, as this was important to Father McGinn.
The new church was constructed over a two-year period between 1966-1968. It was built to accommodate the growing congregation – at the time, there were between 300 to 400 families at the Parish. Today, we serve over 7,000 families.

Key Dates in the History of St. Mary Immaculate Parish Year Event Key Clergy

1797 Chapel established in Windham (Now Oak Ridges) to serve a short lived French community (Father Edmund Burke)

1822 St. Paul’s Parish in York was established. Missionary priests brought the sacraments to settlers’ homes in the Richmond Hill area. (Father Edward Gordon)

1834 Ordination of Father McNulty in New York.

1840 Richmond Hill becomes part of the Newmarket mission.

1842 The Newmarket parish was established to serve the area that included Richmond Hill (Father John Baptist Proulx)

1852 Petition presented by the Building Committee to the Right Reverend F.M. de Charbonnel, second Bishop of Toronto, seeking permission to erect a Church in Richmond Hill. (Father John McNulty)

1853 Subscription list drawn up to provide funds for the erection of the church (Father John McNulty)

1854 Land upon which the new Church was to be built, was secured by Matthew Teefy Father John McNulty

1857 A mission church was built on Mill Street in Richmond Hill. Work commenced on the church, located on two acres of land on Mill Street, between the High School and Lucas Street. Dedication ceremonies upon the opening of the church, September 20, (Father John McNulty)

1858 The Richmond Hill mission is transferred to the jurisdiction of St. Luke’s Parish. With Reverend Louis Griffa appointed first resident priest of the Thornhill District Mission. (Father John McNulty)

1874 The church on Mill Street was enlarged.

1878 Father John Read Teefy was ordained on June 24, 1878 and became the first priest from St. Mary Immaculate.

1893 Father Patrick McMahon was appointed pastor of Thornhill. (Father Patrick McMahon)

1894 The second Richmond Hill church is built near the corner of Yonge and what is now Dunlop Street. (Father Patrick McMahon)

1913 Reverend Edward Kelly appointed pastor of the Thornhill and Richmond Hill Churches. (Father Edward Kelly)

1918 St. Mary Immaculate ceases to be a Mission of St. Luke’s and becomes a Parish. (Father Edward Kelly)

1931 Reverend Edward Keane appointed pastor of St. Mary Immaculate, Richmond Hill. (Father Edward Keane)

1942 Reverend Frederick J. McGinn appointed pastor, St. Mary Immaculate Church, Richmond Hill. (Father Frederick McGinn)

1948 Opening of the first of the three Catholic schools to be built in Richmond Hill. (Father Frederick McGinn)

1957 One hundredth anniversary of the building of the first Catholic Church in Richmond Hill. (Father Frederick McGinn)

1964 Death of Fr. Frederick McGinn, July 28, 1964. (Father Frederick McGinn/Father C.J. Schwalm)

1964 Appointment of Reverend C.J. Schwalm, pastor. (Father C.J. Schwalm)

1967 Work commenced on the new church of St. Mary Immaculate. (Father C.J. Schwalm)

1968 The present Church is consecrated. July 28, 1968. (Father C.J. Schwalm)

1977 Shrine to Our Lady of Fatima erected in the north chapel.

1987 Our Lady of Annunciation parish was created from the northern portion of the parish. (Father McKenna)

1989 Renovations undertaken, the first since the building of the Church in 1968. (Father Wilfred Lenius)

1992 Our Lady of Annunciation parish was created from the northern portion of the parish. (Father William Scanlon)

1997 Stained Glass windows are installed. (Father William Scanlon)

2007 150th Anniversary. (Father John Duffy)

2007 Appointment of Father Robert Reddy as Pastor. (Father Robert Reddy)

2014 Father Pawel Zborowski appointed pastor. (Father Pawel Zborowski)