Monsignor Matthew Clifford


He was ordained to the priesthood by James C. Cardinal McGuigan on May 30, 1943. He served in Toronto and Newmarket before returning to the Niagara sector of the Archdiocese of Toronto.

Ten years into his priesthood, in 1953, while he was at St. Mary, Welland, Fr. Clifford became involved in the Catholic school system at the formation meeting which brought the Welland Separate School Board into existence. Being one of the ‘movers’ in the formation of the board, he was chosen its first chairman and served in that capacity until 1955.

In 1956, he became founding pastor of St. Thomas More in Niagara Falls, where he remained until 1969.

In 1967, Fr. Clifford was elected to the Niagara Falls Separate School Board.  At that time, the provincial government decided to establish regional school boards. Fr. Clifford embraced this challenge and became a member of the Interim Committee for County Boards. He was later elected trustee from the city of Niagara Falls for the newly organized Welland County Roman Catholic Separate School Board.

Upon his posting to St. Denis in St. Catharines (where he served until 1980), Fr. Clifford again ran for office and was elected trustee for the Lincoln County Roman Catholic Separate School Board.  He continued in that role until 1972.

In 1977, Fr. Clifford was named a Monsignor, an honour bestowed by Pope Paul VI.

His final assignment was as pastor of St. Julia, St. Catharines. He fell ill in 1983 and went into semi- retirement in 1985. He died on March 12, 1989.

Inducted: April 12, 2014