A little bit about “our shelves…”

The Diocese of Hamilton maintains a Library and Archives, open to the public in order to promote an appreciation of our faith and history.  The first Catholic library in the city of Hamilton was opened in 1858, two years after the establishment of the Diocese in 1856.  The library was located in the chapel of our Pro-Cathedral, St. Mary.  The library housed 265 books and was open to individuals in the surrounding area.  A Diocesan library has continued to exist from this point onward.

On September 30th, 2013, the Feast of St. Jerome, patron saint of libraries, our current library and archives facility was opened.   Located at 698 King St. West on the beautiful grounds of the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King, our library provides easy access to just under 9,000 items including titles on marriage, parenting, liturgy, scripture, prayer, social awareness, and vocations.  Materials can be used for parish programming, small faith group sharing, youth ministry and catechesis, or general enrichment.  The Library is open to all members of the community.


Our Archival records present a history of the Catholic Church in Ontario, as well as, an account of the people in the region, providing a rich resource for researchers, genealogists, and students.  We maintain collections for our Parishes, current and past bishops, and diocesan institutions and organizations.

Our facility provides over 2,000 square feet for archival storage, library stacks, and processing requirements, in addition to offering a welcoming, tranquil space for researchers.  The building was named for the first Ordinary of the Diocese of Hamilton, Bishop John Farrell, who guided the diocese for seventeen years, from 1856 until 1873.

Image 1 - Bishop Farrell

Bishop John Farrell was the first Ordinary of the Diocese of Hamilton, serving from 1956 – 1873

Prior to serving as the library and archives, our location functioned as home to the Sisters of St. Joseph Homecare and the St. Elizabeth Visiting Nurses.  It was built in 1967 as our Chancery Office, the main administrative centre for the Diocese of Hamilton.  At the time of opening there were seven members of the Chancery Office:  Bishop Joseph Ryan, Bishop of the Diocese of Hamilton from 1937 – 1973; Bishop Paul Reding, Auxiliary Bishop; Bishop Matthew Ustrzycki, Chancellor; Fr. George Storz, Secretary to the Bishop; Mrs. Paula Thewalt; Mrs. Modeski; and an additional staff member.

Chancery Staff in Front of 698 King St. West

Chancery Staff, 1967

The Diocese of Hamilton has grown to become the second largest English-speaking Roman Catholic Diocese in Canada, with over 40 members of the Chancery Office available to provide support to the Parishes and parishioners of our community.


Chancery Staff, 2017

The Bishop Farrell Library and Archives honours the diverse history of the Diocese of Hamilton.  The library is open to the public Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The archives are open by appointment.  The library catalogue and archives descriptive database can both be searched online at:  https://hamiltondiocese.com/chancellor/library/

To learn more about the Diocese of Hamilton and the services provided through our Chancery Office visit our website at:  https://hamiltondiocese.com/