Death of The Most Reverend John Aloysius O’Mara, Bishop Emeritus of St. Catharines

Friday, February 18, 2022

The Most Reverend John Aloysius O’Mara, Bishop Emeritus of St. Catharines, died on Tuesday, 16 February 2022, in his 98th year.

Bishop O’Mara was born on 17 November 1924 in Buffalo, New York. He studied at St. Michael’s College School, Toronto and St. Augustine’s Seminary, Scarborough and was ordained Priest by Cardinal McGuigan in St. Michael’s Cathedral, Toronto, on June 1, 1951.

Following ordination, he pursued graduate studies in Canon Law at St. Thomas Aquinas University (Angelicum) in Rome. Returning to Toronto in July 1953, he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Toronto and in March, 1954, he was named Secretary to Cardinal McGuigan. Also, in 1957, he was appointed the part-time pastor of the newly established parish of St. Margaret Mary in Woodbridge.

From 1961 to 2002, Bishop O’Mara served on the Board of Directors of several hospitals, on the Boards of the Catholic Hospital Association of Ontario, the Ontario Hospital Association, the Ontario Hospital Services Commission, the Catholic Hospital Association of Canada and the Catholic Health Corporation of Ontario.

From 1969 to 1975, Monsignor O’Mara served as President/Rector of St. Augustine’s Seminary, Scarborough which was a founding member of the Toronto School of Theology. In December 1974, he was appointed Pastor of St. Lawrence Parish, Scarborough and, in May 1976, he was appointed Bishop of Thunder Bay by Pope Paul VI.

Bishop O’Mara was ordained Bishop by the late Archbishop Philip Pocock in St. Michael’s Cathedral, Toronto on June 29, 1976 and he ministered in Thunder Bay until 1994. In February 1994 Bishop O’Mara was transferred to the Diocese of St. Catharines.

In addition to the pastoral responsibilities in the Dioceses where he served, Bishop O’Mara was active in the Canadian and Ontario Bishops Conferences for twelve years. At the CCCB, he served on the Episcopal Commission for Canon Law, the Clergy Commission of the Department for Clergy and Religious, the Social Affairs Commission of the Department for Social Affairs and the Laity, the Episcopal Commission for Missions, and various other commissions and committees. Bishop O’Mara also represented the Church in Canada on the Pontifical Council Cor Unum in Rome.

The funeral Mass for Bishop John Aloysius O’Mara will be celebrated on Tuesday, 22 February 2022, at 11:00 a.m., at St. Alfred Roman Catholic Church in St. Catharines, Ontario.