Fonds - Holy Trinity Parish (Torbay, N.L.) fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Holy Trinity Parish (Torbay, N.L.) fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on letterhead found in the fonds

Level of description


Reference code

Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1883-1990, predominant 1916-1982 (Creation)
    Holy Trinity Parish (Torbay, N.L. : Catholic)

Physical description area

Physical description

12 cm of textual records

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator


Administrative history

The exact date of the founding of Holy Trinity Parish is somewhat uncertain. Primary and secondary sources give differing dates, including 1830, 1834, 1842, and 1845. However, 1845 seems the most likely date from which to mark the informal establishment of the parish since it was in 1845 that Rev. Edward Troy, the first resident Catholic priest, was appointed to Torbay. Prior to this appointment, Torbay and the surrounding area was served by priests travelling from St. John's (in 1830, the District of St. John's included the communities of Portugal Cove, Torbay, Pouch Cove, Topsail, and Petty Harbour). The establishment of Holy Trinity Parish in 1845 must be considered informal since Newfoundland was still a vicariate Apostolic and, as such, the ordinary hierarchy of the Catholic Church was not yet considered to be fully evolved in the colony. Since, technically, a parish is a portion of a diocese, no parishes can be said to have existed prior to the erection of Newfoundland as a diocese in 1847. However, the term "parish" was commonly used to refer to a geographic territory possessing a church and a resident priest (the term "district" was sometimes used).

Corpus Christi Chapel, built around 1834, was the first Catholic structure in Torbay. It was consecrated 5 June 1836 by Bishop Michael A. Fleming. On 9 October 1859, Bishop John T. Mullock laid the cornerstone for a church to replace the chapel. The church was consecrated and dedicated to the Holy Trinity in October 1863. This stone structure served the parish for more than 60 years until construction began on a larger wooden church to replace it. Archbishop Edward P. Roche laid the cornerstone of this building on 8 August 1919. It was completed sometime in 1922 and served the parish until 1988, when it was closed because of structural weakness. Construction on the current church began in 1989, and on 21 June 1992, it was officially opened by Archbishop James H. MacDonald.

The activities of Holy Trinity Parish were intimately intertwined with the operations of parochial schools. The first Roman Catholic school was a one-room structure built in 1850 (prior to this, classes were held in temporary quarters as early as 1843). In 1865, the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Congregation (Presentation Sisters) established St. Michael's Convent and School at Torbay. Charged with the responsibility of educating both Catholic boys and girls, St. Michael's co-existed with the original one-room school for several years. In 1918, the North Side School was opened in Torbay, offering grades one to seven from which graduating students were fed into St. Michael's Convent to complete higher grades. In 1956, with the opening of Holy Trinity School, St. Michael's and the North Side schools were phased out and the Presentation Sisters assumed responsibility for the new unified parochial school. In the 1980s, Holy Trinity High School was built and the former all-grade school became Holy Trinity Elementary. On 31 July 1986, St. Michael's Convent was closed and the Presentation Sisters withdrew from their parish teaching responsibilities. Direct parish involvement with Holy Trinity Elementary and High schools ceased after denominational education reforms were passed by the Provincial Government in 1997. They are now secular institutions.

Holy Trinity's boundaries have evolved since its inception in 1845. Initially, the parish encompassed the nearby communities of Flatrock, Outer Cove, and Middle Cove. However, the parishes of St. Agnes-St. Michael's (Pouch Cove-Flatrock) and St. Francis of Assisi (Outer Cove) were later established to serve the needs of the Catholic populations of these communities, contracting Holy Trinity's boundaries. The parish's boundaries now encompass only the community of Torbay.

Pastors who have served Holy Trinity Parish since its establishment in 1845 include: Edward Troy (1845-1872); Patrick J. Delaney, (Administrator? 1872); John Joseph Nugent, (Administrator? 1872); Richard V. Howley, (Administrator? 1872-1873); Michael J. Clarke (1873-1911); John J. St. John (1911-1917); John T. Ashley (1918-1926); John W. Carter (1927-1930); Alfred J. Maher (1930-1934); Michael J. Kennedy (1934-1935); James J. Greene (1935-1955); James A. Miller (1955-1969); Eric R. Lawlor (1969-1977); Charles G. Greene (1977-1987); John Hanton (1987-1994); Richard Hockman, Administrator (1994-1995); John Vickers, Administrator (1994-1998); Don Layden, Administrator (1995-1998); and David Butler (1998- ).

Structurally, Holy Trinity Parish is organized along lines similar to most Roman Catholic parishes, with various committees and lay societies active in the administration of parochial affairs, including the Parish Council, the Finance Committee, the Liturgy Committee, the Parish Family Aid Group, the Catholic Women's League, the Knights of Columbus, and the Holy Name Society (this list is not exhaustive).

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of correspondence relating to parish building projects, schools, property, and general affairs (1927-82); financial statements and receipts (1916-30, 1977); canonical decree defining parish boundaries (1982); inventory of personal household effects (1883); conveyance of land to parish (1886); petition to Archbishop Edward P. Roche from parishioners [before 1950]; 4 parish record books recording church dues, pew rents, donations, baptisms, marriages, and deaths (1915-23); address to Archbishop Patrick J. Skinner from parish children [195-]; and newspaper clippings (some photocopies and transcriptions) relating to parish history (1857-1990). Fonds includes some photocopies.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


Language of material

  • English
  • Latin

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Restrictions on access may apply. Consult the archivist.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

Box list available

Associated materials

See Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Parish fonds for records that predate the establishment of Holy Trinity Parish.

Related materials


The fonds is open. Further accruals expected.

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier

Institution identifier

Rules or conventions



Level of detail


Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created - April 24, 2013

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related places

Related genres