Cobourg Newspapers
St. Michael's Church, Cobourg

Media Type:
Item Type:
St. Michael’s Church, Cobourg
Source: Unknown
Acquired: Spring 1984
Date of Publication:
Apr 1984
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.95977 Longitude: -78.16515
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Cobourg Public Library
WWW address
Agency street/mail address

200 Ontario Street, Cobourg, ON K9A 5P4

Full Text

St. Michael's, Cobourg, is the oldest parish in the deanery of Durham and Northumberland. A parish was first established here in 1837, taking in the lakeshore area from Trenton to Oshawa. The first church, dedicated to St. Polycarp, was built in 1839, on William St., serving a congregation of about 50. During the 1860's, a new church was erected on the same site, after a fire, and was dedicated to St. Michael.

The cornerstone of the present St. Michael's Church was laid in 1895, and the next year the completed church, designed in the Romanesque style, was dedicated by Bishop O'Connor of Peterborough. In 1909 the sanctuary was embellished with paintings, and in 1913 the church interior was redecorated and the Stations of the Cross depicted by oil paintings. By 1942 the parish included 265 families, numbering about 1100 persons, and by 1948, 300 families with 1250 parishioners.

St. Michael's School, which had opened in 1883 as a 2 room school run by the Sisters of St. Joseph, added rooms in 1903, 1928 and 1954 until by 1958 it was a 12 room school. St. Joseph School operated from 1960-1970 to serve primarily the Armed Forces Station. St. Mary's School opened in 1963 in the west side of town, with an addition in 1968.

During the pastorate of Msgr. Joseph Collins, which extended from 1948 to 1970, the church building was extensively renovated and redecorated, a new heating system installed. The parish also contributed to the cost of building a new convent on Havelock St. for the Sisters of St. Joseph. This convent was officially opened in 1963, replacing the former nineteenth century structure.

Since its inception, the parish of Cobourg has had 11 pastors, three of whom served a total of 102 years. Rev. Michael Timlin was pastor for 33 years (1844-1877), Msgr. E.H. Murray for 47 (1879-1926), and Msgr. Collins for 22. Father Collins retired in June 1970 after celebrating the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. He was succeeded at St. Michael's by Rev. Timothy B. Coughlan, who served for five years. Father Coughlan is now an executive director of the Cobourg based Horizons of Friendship, formerly the Help Honduras Foundation, which carries out development work in Latin America.

Rev. Joseph Lynch was pastor from 1975 to 1978, when he was succeeded by Rev. Bartholomew Burke, Father Burke left in 1982 to work in the Labrador missions, and Rev. Peter Seabrooke became pastor. At present the parish numbers about 2500.


The early Catholic settlers in the Harwood area on the south shore of Rice Lake had to walk fourteen miles to Cobourg to make their Easter Duty. Then in the 1850's Father Michael Timlin of Cobourg began to travel to Harwood four times a year to say Mass at a private home. Following completion of the Cobourg-Peterborough Railway in 1854, Harwood's population increased, and Father Timlin came to say Mass once a month. About 1880, after Father Murray became pastor in Cobourg, the Catholic residents of Harwood met with him to plan construction of a church. In 1884 it was finished, dedicated to the Sacted Heart of Jesus by Bishop Jamot of Peterborough.

From 1887 to 1962, the parish was a mission first of Burnley, then of Warkworth. During the 1920's Sacred Heart again became a mission of Cobourg and has remained so to the present. Father Tim Coughlan, who resides near Harwood, celebrates Sunday Mass there during most of the year.


I. Parish Staff

II. Parish Council

A. Liturgical Committee

B. Family Life Committee

C. Adult Education Committee

D. Property and Finance Committee

E. Youth Committee

F. Cemetery Committee

G. Mission Committee

H. Social Committee

I. Evangelization Committee

III. Directory

Parish Priests
St. Michael's and Sacred Heart
379 Division St.
Cobourg Ont. K9A 3R7
(416) 372-6844

Sisters of St. Joseph
16 Havelock St.
Cobourg Ont. K9A 2J3
(416) 372-3444

Sisters of St. Joseph
Villa St. Joseph
445 Monk St.
Cobourg Ont. K9A 2S9
(416) 372-2741

St. Michael's School
23 University Ave. W.
Cobourg Ont. K9A 2G6
(416) 372-7414

St. Mary's School
760 Burnham St.
Cobourg Ont. K9A 2A6
(416) 372-7674

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St. Michael's Church, Cobourg

St. Michael’s Church, Cobourg
Source: Unknown
Acquired: Spring 1984