Raised high upon a gentle rolling hill, in the northeast corner of Guelph, Ontario, stands the Jesuit parish Holy Rosary. The towering brick church is wrapped in a multitude of window panels through which sunlight splashes an array of colours throughout the interior of the church.
Among other features, the interior boasts a soaring crucifix, (20×8 ft.) and blue glass beads shaped like a living rosary, where hundreds of the faithful dedicate a bead for a loved one to be prayed for on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Crafted by Kitras Glass of Fergus, ON, the rosary brought spiritual completion to the parish renovations started in 2012.
The parish was established in 1956 and the church consecrated in 1964 by then Bishop J.F. Ryan. The Spiritan Fathers administered the parish until 2000 but with declining priests, Bishop Anthony Tonnos invited the Jesuits to serve the parish in the Ignatian tradition of the Society of Jesus. The first Jesuit pastor appointed was Fr. Bernard Carroll, SJ, also the first to assume the role of pastor after a period of 76 years when the last Jesuit pastor handed over administration of the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate to the Diocese in 1924. The current pastor is Fr. Vernon P. Boyd, SJ. In residence, Fr. Roger Yaworski, SJ, Director of Loyola House and Superior of the Guelph Jesuits, assists in the parish and leads the RCIA program for the catechumens and candidates.
Holy Rosary Parish is an active and generous faith community. It serves approximately 1,300 families and two schools, two care homes, the Guelph General Hospital, and Homewood Health Centre, a well-known mental health and addiction facility in Canada.
The parish lists more than 300 volunteers involved in ministry and pastoral care that includes: visitation to the sick, Communion visits, bereavement, adult faith formation, senior youth ministry (high school), liturgy, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, Catholic Women’s League, Knights of Columbus, Christian Life Community, choir, Fr. Martin Royackers, SJ, Food Pantry, community outreach, Development and Peace, social justice, and Missions Possible. The parish connects with nearby Loyola House, allowing it to call upon Jesuit and Ignatian collaborators trained in the Spiritual Exercises. The parish established a refugee council and is sponsoring a family from Syria and Iraq.
The parish strives to build on the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission seeking to foster deeper friendship with our Indigenous brothers and sisters in our Jesuit parishes on Manitoulin Island. The parish also maintains a ministry of collaboration with our Jesuit parish in Jamaica.
A vibrant and growing parish, once mostly Italian, Dutch, and German, it now sees families, young and old, from all lands and nations enter through its doors. A parish serving in the Ignatian tradition Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam – All for the greater glory of God.