Meet Our Partners: the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver
This week we are featuring our partners at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver. Established by Pope Pius X in 1908, this Archdiocese encompasses B.C.’s Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, with over 80 affiliated organizations and ministries serving the Church and its mission.
The Archdiocese originated in the 1800s as a mission outpost of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. In September of 1890, the pre-diocesan Apostolic Vicariate of British Columbia became the Diocese of New Westminster, which later rose to become the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Vancouver.
Only last year, the Archdiocese set new priorities and goals for itself. “We’re focusing our pastoral efforts and mission on intentionally helping people experience God’s merciful love,” says Archdiocese Communications Director Paul Schratz.
The Archdiocese’s new vision and mission put an emphasis on prioritizing the care of parents, pastors, and parishioners alike in their spiritual well-being as part of the Catholic Church. They are pursuing this mission through outreaches, retreats, parenting programs, and the Alpha Program.
The value of an intentional Sunday morning mass is also very important to the Archdiocese. Schratz notes the Church’s ideal is to inspire “a greater sense of community [and faith] through effective preaching, beautiful music, and a welcoming sense of community.”
Over the past year, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver has underlined hope. A meeting with Pope Francis last spring inspired Archbishop Miller to encourage the Church by offering the hope that is found in Jesus Christ.
“Offering hope to our more than 400,000 Catholics as well as countless non-Catholics in the Lower Mainland is central to our mission,” notes Schratz, “This is the flock God has entrusted to us, and our pastoral activities, ministries, and programs must reflect this.”
The need for hope becomes especially obvious in the Church’s response to the drug overdose crisis afflicating Vancouver and other major cities across Canada. It is the heart of Archbishop Miller to see the Church “reach beyond our pews” to recognize the face of Christ in the marginalized.
As the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver looks towards the future during the 150th anniversary of Confederation, it emphasizes once again that Canadians cannot take religious freedom for granted. Even though it is constitutionally protected in Canada, there are continuing social pressures that threaten to mute those who stand up for their faith in a practical way. Schratz enjoins the faithful not to be silent, but to “continue encouraging the widest involvement of different faith groups in addition to non-religious perspectives” in the public square.
To learn more about the work of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, visit: http://rcav.org/
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