St. Mary's and the Missions
Roman Catholic Parish in Owen Sound
St. Thomas the Apostle
Confessions: 30 minutes before all Masses
Address: 5 Brock St., Tobermory, ON N0H 2R0
(at Tobermory United Church)
In 1931, Fr Oscar Labelle SJ was appointed as resident priest at Cape Croker. He began the process of establishing a mission at Tobermory by sponsoring the building of a chapel. The little chapel still standing (although now an arcade) near the north end of Highway 6, was built in 1936 by Fr Labelle and local residents, both Catholic and non-Catholic. (Funding for the chapel came mainly from a Mrs O'Leary, who insisted that it be named after her brother Thomas. This is why we have TWO St Thomas's on the peninsula.) The Jesuits continued their support of the mission until 1980, when the Basilians from St Mary's in Owen Sound assumed this responsibility.
Originally, Mass was only offered in the summer months, to accommodate tourists, as there were only two Catholic families here. In the winter, Mass was occasionally celebrated in individuals' homes. Eventually the summer influx grew so large that,, in 1989, the local United Church congregation and minister invited the Catholics to use their church (Harbour St United) during the summer months. When the winter mission congregation began to grow, bi-monthly Masses began to be offered from October to May. However, the chapel on Hwy 6 had no insulation and no water or bathroom facilities. As a result, since 1994, the Harbour St United Church has been the site where all weekend Masses are celebrated in Tobermory. With further deterioration, eventually the chapel could be used only as a storage facility. In 2002, the building was deconsecrated and sold. The Catholic congregation continues to meet weekly throughout the year at Tobermory United Church and offers a warm welcome to all who wish to worship here with us.