Timeline of St. Padre Pio Parish

Our Parish History
The founding of St. Padre Pio Parish in 2002 marked a significant milestone for the Archdiocese of Toronto, as the parish became the first church in Canada dedicated to honouring this beloved saint. This parish is a special place of worship where people come together to celebrate and remember this beloved saint, who was famous for his strong faith and miracles. Located in Kleinburg, Ontario, the Parish of St. Padre Pio is a focal point for devotees of St. Padre Pio from across Canada and beyond. The community represents a recognition of the saint's profound influence and a commitment to perpetuating his legacy of faith, humility, and compassion. St. Padre Pio Parish offers a range of services and devotional activities to nurture the spiritual growth of its community. Daily Masses, sacramental celebrations, and gatherings are regular features of parish life.

The parish is known not only for its dedication to St. Padre Pio, but also for its commitment to living out the Gospel values of love, compassion, and solidarity. Through its various ministries and outreach activities, St. Padre Pio Parish makes a positive impact on the lives of many individuals and families in the community. Over the years, St. Padre Pio Parish has continued to thrive as a centre of Catholic worship, spirituality, and community life. Its founding as the first church in Canada dedicated to St. Padre Pio continues to leave a lasting legacy, inspiring similar initiatives and fostering greater devotion to the saint.

New Parish
The Archdiocese Prepares for a New Parish
On May 23, 2000, the Archdiocese of Toronto purchased the church site, located on the northwest corner of Major Mackenzie and Islington in Kleinburg. The plan was to eventually split the boundaries of St. Margaret Mary Parish in two, with the northern half making up the new parish. In June 2001, the Archdiocese put this plan into effect by appointing Fr. Gregory Ace as pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish. The idea was that Fr. Greg would remain there as pastor for at least two to three years, getting to know the people and forming a nucleus which would eventually become the new community. Fr. Greg was then appointed pastor of the new parish, soon to be named St. Padre Pio.
The Community is Named
When the new parish was being established, Fr. Greg presented three possible names for the community to the Archbishop. The first name he chose was Blessed Padre Pio (he was not canonized until June of that year), as his father was healed from colon cancer weeks after his name was sent to San Giovanni Rotondo for prayers. In recognition of this healing, Fr. Greg wanted the name of this new parish to be Blessed Padre Pio. The Archbishop was deeply touched by the story, and gave his approval to the name. The name of the new parish community, Blessed Padre Pio, was officially announced on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2002.
St. Padre Pio
New Parish
The World Youth Day Cross Comes to the Parish
On Saturday, June 15, 2002, the World Youth Day cross came to Woodbridge. The cross was brought to the site of the future Church, on the northwest corner of Major Mackenzie and Islington. After the welcoming of the cross and an opening prayer, a special blessing to dedicate the site as holy ground was said. Also, a new sign, indicating that this is the future site of St. Padre Pio Church, was unveiled. Hundreds of people joined hands as they sang "Holy Ground." At the end of the ceremony, hundreds of balloons were released.
Official Establishment of the Parish
On Sunday, June 16, 2002, a special Mass was celebrated at St. Andrew School. Earlier that day, in Rome, Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio as a saint of the Church. At the opening of the Mass at the school, the Papal Bull of the Canonization of Padre Pio was read to the great joy of the people. Then the official Establishment of the Parish of St. Padre Pio was read. This was a very historic moment, as this was the first new parish established in the Archdiocese of Toronto in the new millennium. This was followed by the Letter of Appointment of Fr. Greg as the new Pastor. Then, the unveiling and blessing of the new statue of St. Padre Pio took place. At the end of the Mass, the relic of St. Padre Pio cloth, containing his blood, was presented and a special blessing was given to all.
Growing Parish
The Parish Grew Very Quickly
People began coming to St. Padre Pio Parish from beyond its boundaries. By September 2002, the parish moved from having one Sunday Mass to four Masses. On September 23, 2002, the first feast day of St. Padre Pio, the Rectory and Chapel were blessed. The original 200 families eventually grew to over 3500 families, and still continues to grow to this day. St. Padre Pio has truly become a universal saint. God has blessed this parish with many ministries. The original four ministries have grown to over thirty ministries, serving the needs of the parish and wider community.
The Church Model is Presented
On January 16, 2005, the Church Model was presented to the parish community. It was explained that the front entrance of the Church would face the east, as a reminder of the special ‘East Gate’ of the Temple of Jerusalem. The Narthex would feature a large gathering space, image of the Trinity, the bust of St. Padre Pio, a store for religious articles, the parish office, washrooms, sacristy, and an usher's room. Inside the Church, there would be a Shrine for Our Lady, a Shrine of St. Padre Pio, and a Blessed Sacrament Chapel. The sanctuary would include a large ambo, large stone altar made of Jerusalem limestone, candles, processional cross with the image of the Crucified Christ, and a large image of the Risen Christ.
Church Model
The Relic Gloves of St. Padre Pio
Some of the parish's special treasures are the relic gloves of St. Padre Pio. These are the gloves that St. Padre Pio wore to cover the stigmata on his hands. The first relic glove was presented by Fr. Guglielmo Corbo OFM, Cap., on behalf of the Capuchin Fathers of San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy on September 24, 2005. The parish gratefully and enthusiastically accepted this gift. Today, the Parish of St. Padre Pio is home to a number of St. Padre Pio's relics. Visitors and parishioners can venerate these relics in the shrine area of St. Padre Pio Parish. For the parish, the relic gloves continue to be tangible expressions of the presence of St. Padre Pio, a reminder of the heroic virtue that he practiced, a symbol of the stigmata that he carried, and an instrument of his powerful intercession.
Groundbreaking Ceremony
The next major event was the Groundbreaking Ceremony, which occurred on September 23, 2007. Officiating was the Most Rev. Peter Hundt, Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto. The ceremony was a culmination of a successful initial fundraising drive. Over 1500 people participated, including many clergy and community leaders. A giant balloon statue representing the Holy Spirit stood above the stage on the site of the Groundbreaking Ceremony. The choir sang hymns of praise during the celebration. After the blessing of the site by Bishop Hundt, a large cake in the form of the new church was presented.
Groundbreaking Ceremony
The Construction Process
In 2008, the Archdiocese gave permission for the actual construction of the church to begin. Slowly, week by week, we saw the church take shape. Beginning with a large hole in the ground, to a metal skeleton of a building. It seemed like that little mustard seed was becoming a large tree. It took two years to build, but eventually our dream became a reality. Normally, a church is opened for about five months before the Solemn Dedication takes place. In our case, we received official occupancy five hours before the ceremony. Many people helped with all of the last minute preparations, including members of the Building Committee, the parish secretaries, and the Knights of Columbus. Without their help, the church would not have been ready.
Naming of St. Padre Pio Gardens
On September 19, 2010, just days before the Solemn Dedication and Opening of St. Padre Pio Parish, the street name was changed. Initially Old Major Mackenzie Drive, the street name was changed to St. Padre Pio Gardens, in honour of the parish and its patron saint. The name of this street serves as a constant reminder of the importance of faith and spiritual well-being, creating a place for the community to come together and find peace within this parish community.
The Opening and Dedication of St. Padre Pio
On September 23, 2010, the feast of St. Padre Pio, the Church of St. Padre Pio was solemnly dedicated by His Grace, the Most Rev. Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto. Over 2000 people filled the church, with another 1000 people outside. It was a magnificent celebration, with over thirty-five priests concelebrating. The highlight of the Mass was the unveiling of the large figure of the Risen Christ in the sanctuary. As the cloth was raised to the sounds of a trumpet fanfare, the congregation broke into spontaneous applause, and many people wept. A second highlight was the presentation of the very special relics of St. Padre Pio. Two Capuchin priests presented the parish with a fragment of the cloth that St. Padre Pio used to wipe the blood from the stigmata on his side, and also a chalice and paten that he used in the celebration of the Mass.