Table of Contents

Baptized and Sent title text
rcav logo
2019/2020 Annual Report
letter title

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This Annual Report is best described as two half-year reports, so different was the start of the pastoral year from the way it is ending.

Last October we had just successfully launched the new Proclaim Movement, our exciting evangelization initiative aimed at encouraging Catholics to share their faith and become “missionary disciples,” as Pope Francis urges us all to do.

While enthusiasm for Proclaim was growing, the world changed dramatically. As you are only too aware, we were confronted with a pandemic that has taken over a million lives and had disastrous consequences for countless others.

As the ripples of COVID-19 spread and disrupted every aspect of the life of the Church and of society, the faithful of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, like everyone else, were forced to refocus and alter their pastoral plans for the remainder of the year.

What we witnessed here was an imaginative and creative response to the pandemic. Catholics stepped forward to face the fears, struggles, and uncertainty around us. 

The Archdiocese adopted the motto Church Never Stops to illustrate the diverse and innovative ways our Catholic community was able to labour and pray to ensure that the Church’s evangelizing mission went full steam ahead. continued. The #ChurchNeverStops hashtag became a way of sharing inspirational stories of our parishes, schools, and organizations. They found resourceful ways of connecting the Church with the faithful, of actively proclaiming the Gospel through Alpha and Discovery, and of caring for those in need. 

Despite obstacles in our way, we often found ingenious solutions for overcoming them. We reallocated resources and with the extraordinary use of technology now possible, we were able to persevere in our mission of fostering friendship with the Lord, sharing the Gospel and loving as good Samaritans.

When necessary restrictions threatened to separate the faithful from the Sacraments and the Church’s devotional life, the good Lord was not kept apart from us. Parishioners came up with innovations: drive-up confessionals, physically distanced Adoration, and livestreamed Masses sprang up everywhere. And when schools had to shut down, our administrators and educators quickly adopted new hybrid forms of learning, and then managed to put in place a full return to classroom learning in time for September.

The suffering for many has been severe, and we must continue to offer them consolation and support in whatever we can as families and parishes. As we reach out to others, we are reaching out to Jesus him. Amidst all the trials, God has also been blessed us. Many people are drawing closer to him. Others are returning to the Sacraments; and yet others are deepening their lives of faith, while carrying the cross that COVID-19 has become for us.

As 2020 draws to a close and we are planning for 2021, we cannot predict what the future holds. What we can do is what Jesus asks of us: to be the salt of the earth and the light of our world. I offer this annual report, with its theme Baptized and Sent, as a sign of our commitment to responding to Christ’s call.

We pray that Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, will continue to guide us through this pandemic, deepening our trust in Providence who will provide us with everything we need to ensure that the Church Never Stops.

With the assurance of my blessing and prayers, I remain, 
+ J. Michael Miller, CSB
Archbishop of Vancouver

Our Evangelizing Mission: Priorities and Goals

Make Every Sunday Matter

Celebrate like we mean it 
Welcome like we mean it

Get Closer to Jesus

Foster personal encounters
Promote discipleship paths

Strengthen Marriages
and Families

Provide support for parents seeking to acquire additional parenting skills
Connect people in need with support services that address their challenges

Develop Parish Leadership and Support

Parishes are called to be dynamic communities of missionary disciples
Every parish will be offered services in management, development, and human resource functions

Our Story

77
parishes
51
schools
4
higher education institutions
4,725
catechists
202
priests
96
religious sisters
23
permanent deacons
445,128
Catholics
2019
2,843
Baptisms
2,731
Confirmations
2,593
First Communions
481
Marriages

Upper Room Conference

Three years ago, Pope Francis called the Church to live out her missionary calling, declaring October 2019 to be the Extraordinary Missionary Month. As God was calling the global Church, Archbishop Michael called us to step boldly into sharing the Gospel in a time when our culture needs truth more than ever.

More than 1,000 disciples from across the Lower Mainland gathered to be challenged, equipped, and inspired to proclaim the name of Jesus. The Upper Room Conference was the official launch of Proclaim, a new movement designed to awaken disciples across our cities and spread the name of Jesus in their homes and communities.

1,050
Disciples attended Upper Room
498
Committed to leading an Alpha or Discovery program
Brett Powell
Archbishop’s Delegate for Ministries and DevelopmenT
“A person’s first step toward faith is having a trusted relationship with a believer. We’re not inviting people to start conversations with complete strangers, but urging them to offer family members, friends, co-workers, or neighbours a chance to speak about God.”

Proclaim

Awaken Disciples to Proclaim Jesus

Proclaim is an evangelization movement, inspiring and equipping disciples to share the Gospel in their homes and parishes. We provide resources and training to Catholics interested in sharing the Gospel with people on the peripheries. Alpha and Discovery are endorsed as exceptional tools.

14
training events
300+
attended follow-up training
3,800
invitation to take Alpha or Discovery 
were made by Proclaim members 
ERIC CHOW
PROCLAIM DIRECTOR
“One woman was invited to the Facebook group where she learned about Proclaim. She noted that she had wanted to evangelize within her family but was hesitant. Proclaim was an answer to her prayer. We offered training and accompaniment, and she was able to lead a Discovery study with her family members during the pandemic. Several of her members indicated their desire to return to the sacrament of Confession.”

Digital Environment

The Archdiocese launched three new websites this past year to bring a more focused approach to its communication goals and make it easier for users to find what they need.

Users can now create a “Catholic Vancouver Account” at www.rcav.org which provides a more personalized experience and populates relevant information based on the user’s interests.

Scroll/drag left/right to see more
Behold Vancouver website

Nurture

Behold is a place to ask questions, connect with others, and discover more of God. . The new website includes articles, videos, and other media on subjects such as deeper relationships, identity, purpose, and hearing God’s voice. All this is designed to lead users to connect with a parish, event or service such as marriage preparation, counselling, and faith studies.

Proclaim website

Mobilize

Proclaim is a movement inspiring disciples to proclaim Jesus in their homes and communities. The digital environment, which includes a website, Facebook group, and podcast, aims to equip missionary disciples through training, accompaniment, encouragement, and conversation.

RCAV website

Direct

The Archdiocese of Vancouver’s social media and web presence is for the general public and local Catholics. It exists to be the official administrative face of the Roman Catholic Church in Vancouver. As Pastoral Centre staff worked remotely for much of the year, increased use of technology kept the faithful informed and connected. The Communications Office is a valued resource for Catholics, ramping up social media creation, offering parish consulting services, increasing video production, and adding new hosted websites to the Tilma platform for parishes.

BC Catholic website

Inform

The B.C. Catholic is the Archdiocese’s newspaper and news site, telling stories that reveal the heart of Jesus and draw people to him and his Church. Online readership of The B.C. Catholic reached an all-time high in the summer as the Catholic community turned to it for stories and information about the pandemic. The newspaper also marked its most successful year of Catholic journalism, winning 25 Canadian and international press awards.

RCAV support website

Grow

The Development Office website connects caring donors to ministries, organizations, communities, and individuals in need within the Archdiocese. Since the launch of the new website, the number of online donations received for Project Advance has increased by 28%. We have also been able to better support an online offertory system for everyone, with over 5,000 donors making their gift online.

#ChurchNeverStops

In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Archbishop Miller announced that Masses with a public congregation would no longer be offered, like other dioceses across British Columbia and Canada.

Through physical distancing measures and by making use of diverse streaming technology, the faithful continued to take part in many aspects of parish life, resulting in soaring viewership of virtual Masses, record web traffic to archdiocesan websites, and inventive ways of bringing communities together while observing physical distancing rules.

MARRIAGE ANNIVERSARY MASS ATTENDEE
“Knowing I don’t belong to your Archdiocese, I didn’t expect you to ship a copy of the anniversary Mass certificate all the way to India. Today when my parents received the certificate, they were moved to tears. I was deeply touched by your gesture. Thank you for taking the time to do this for me and my family and for showing that we are one big family, no matter where we are in this whole wide world.”
Renewing our baptismal promises over livestream
All Saints Parish hosts drive-up adoration
189 couples celebrate milestone anniversaries
Archbishop Miller blesses Vancouver
Parishioners surprise parish staff at St. Joseph the Worker
Drive-up Adoration at St. Paul’s Parish
St. Patrick’s offers drive-up confessions
Renewing our baptismal promises over livestream

Transforming Hearts

“We welcome people from all faiths or no faith. We hope to attract some people with no religion to come and know about our Church. If they feel comfortable in meeting people here, in seeing the place or the celebration, they may come back.”
Fr. Paul Chu
Chinese Ministry
“On both our men’s and women’s retreats we heard testimonies of people who didn’t really know what they were coming to, but had a powerful encounter with the Person of Jesus. They either began a journey of faith or it reignited their desire to return to the Church.”
Jake Khym
life restoration
“Participants at our online Grade 8 Summer Retreat deepened their understanding and relationship with Jesus through identifying practical ways of growing in holiness.”
Erwin Fung
youth ministry
“It was definitely a different experience [going on Net Australia]. Things didn’t go according to plan, but I learned to accept God’s plan with peace and joy, and a bull abandonment to His will. Before, prayer was about intercessions, asking for things. Now prayer has become more about receiving.”
Chris Van Vugt
NET Ministries

Discerning a Priestly Vocation

Despite the challenges, the seminarians persevered with their formation. They finished the academic year through online learning thanks to the accommodation of Seminary of Christ the King. They also participated in weekly formation meetings in the summer with sessions given by various leaders in the Archdiocese.

The seminarians were actively engaged in pastoral ministry, often in creative ways. Running online retreats, conducting interviews with priests, and playing video games with the youth are some of the new forms of ministry that they have pioneered.

22
Seminarians
3
New Seminarians in 2019
7
New Seminarians in 2020
Fr. Hien Nguyen
spirituality year , Director
“With the recognition of the unconditional love of the Father, these young men lived with joy, openness, transparency and humility. They truly have worked hard to build a more beautiful self-tabernacle architected by the Lord and directed by the Holy Spirit. It has truly been a year of God’s work.”
Deacon Richard Conlin
transitional deacon
“I have personally experienced God at work in the midst of these challenging times. I have had the privilege of accompanying young adults through their spiritual difficulties, preaching the Gospel on Zoom, and leading guided Lectio Divina sessions on Facebook live. Time and time again, I am amazed at how God is actively at work in the lives of these young adults, raising up the next generation of saints.”

Fostering a Culture of Vocations

Discerning a vocation to the priesthood is delicate work that requires close accompaniment and guidance. Our new Director of Vocations and Seminarians, Fr. Paul Goo, has journeyed personally and intentionally with those who are discerning a call to the priesthood.

The Vocations Office has taken on new initiatives including:

  • Gathering with high school students over lunch
  • Dinner discussions with discerning young adults
  • Collaborating with Filipino Ministry to lead young men in discernment
  • Reviving the Parish Vocation Ministry initiative

The Virtual Parish

Fr. Paul has also been serving "The Virtual Parish," an online young adult community that is praying the Rosary together daily during the pandemic. Through prayerful support, four of its members have chosen to give of themselves wholeheartedly to the Lord by joining religious orders.

New Vocations to Consecrated Life

Several young women have experienced conversion through an openness to religious life and responding to a call to join religious communities. In 2020, we have three local young women entering communities that serve in the Archdiocese of Vancouver: Danielle has been accepted to the Salesian Sisters; and Samantha and Danah have been accepted as pre-postulants with the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist.

Permanent Deacons

The pandemic has challenged our deacons to reach out in new ways. For those whose primary ministry is “accompaniment,” video conferencing provides an important means of staying in touch and reaching out. Those in health care have prayed with the sick by phone, and visits with seafarers are now on land rather than ships. Parish deacons continue to assist with Sunday liturgies and the celebration of baptisms and marriages during these unusual times. A fourth cohort of seven men was formed during 2020 and has now begun academic studies at St. Mark’s College, following an initial period of formation together.

Strengthening Marriages & Families

NEW Witness to Love Marriage Mentorship Program

Engaged couples choose their mentors (preferably from the same parish) and meet regularly for guided study that includes a little homework, self-reflection, discussion, and identifying areas where the couples can become more patient, kind, or understanding.

Marriage Mentorship Course Participants
“The discussions have helped my fiancé and I talk about things we might not have approached otherwise or that would have eventually come up later on. It helped us open up more and think exactly about God’s plan for us and our marriage.

“As a nonbeliever I didn’t see the purpose of talking about this stuff because we have been together for 13 years now and we know everything about each other, right? I couldn't have been more wrong! This was really beneficial; it opened my eyes, it made me think about stuff that I take for granted; it made me appreciate things again and it definitely strengthened our relationship. The only thing I regret is that it is not mandatory for ALL couples before they get married.”
St. Helen

NEW Ministry to those Divorced and Separated

One of the Archdiocese’s newest ministries reaches out to a community within the Church who may feel ashamed and alienated because of separation or divorce. The first presentation took place over Zoom and had more than 80 participants.

  • Online presentations
  • Small-group discussions
  • Community Prayer
  • Facebook group

Sister John Mary Sullivan, FSE
associate director of ministries and outreach

“One woman attending a small group discussion had been away from the Eucharist since her divorce, even though she had not remarried; her leader was able to address this and encourage her to speak again with her priest, and she has hopefully been able to return to the sacraments.”

Welcoming Couples

For the third consecutive year, the Filipino Ministry Office helped re-evangelize civilly married couples by hosting a mass wedding celebration. Archbishop Miller blessed the marriages of 23 couples, allowing them to deepen their faith.

Growing in Faith

Taking Faith Formation Online

710
people experienced a deeper Holy Week at an “Online Lenten Retreat” with Fr. Juan Lucca
506
people learned about the “Gospel of Mark” at Fr. Nick Meisl’s webinar
357
people joined Archbishop Miller for the “Incarnational Nature of the Church” webinar
209
people were offered healing in their struggle with sexual addiction at the “Made in God’s Image” webinar, presented by Scott Neufeld

Personality and Human Relationships

PRH (Personality and Human Relationships) workshops are experiential formation promoting an understanding of human personality and relationships through increasing one’s self knowledge. More than 60 parish leaders have been formed through various in-depth workshops.

illustration of people sitting on chairs

Equipping Leaders to Share the Gospel

RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) leaders were enriched in their ministry by a one-and-a-half-day training session led by TeamRCIA from San Jose, California. Participants learned the difference between evangelization and catechesis, the importance of meeting a person where they are at and that each person is at a different stage in their faith journey.

RCIA Leader
“It gave our ministry a much stronger method to bring inquirers into a lasting loving relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Endow: Women’s Faith Studies

100 women participated in an eight-week faith study on St. Edith Stein. Having the faith study over Zoom videoconferencing allowed many more women to take part who otherwise wouldn’t have in-person because of distance or time.

After the study, 13 participants said they would consider leading a small-group if the Archdiocese ran another faith study, 10 said they would consider running one in their parish, and 7 said they would consider running one in their home.

Endow Faith Study participant
“I walked away with renewed hope, courage, friendship, and a heart full of love and longing to be ever seeking to grow in faith, arm myself with knowledge, and proclaim Jesus with my life. Thank you for this blessed opportunity. I will cherish it for life.”

A New Generation

Parish Religious
Education Program

1,000+ catechists
taught 5,997 students
Clifford & Jillian Lignes-Mamuad
St. Patrick’s Parish, Vancouver
When our daughter was nine years old, she started asking us questions about our faith. We were embarrassed that we couldn’t answer her questions and decided to enroll our children in our parish’s Religious Education Program (PREP).

After attending, all their questions were answered except one: ‘How come we don’t go to church every Sunday?’ My husband and I had a long talk that night and decided that if we want our children to live by faith, we needed to live by example.

We started attending Mass every Sunday and praying as a family every night. I noticed a big change in all of us.”

Vanspec: Special Needs Catechism Classes

Vanspec offers special needs children and young adults the opportunity to learn about the Catholic faith at their own pace, bringing them closer to Jesus.

50+ volunteers taught 48 students
with developmental abilities

Brenna Maduro
Vanspec Volunteer
“As a catechist, we not only meet the needs of our Vanspec students, but they allow us to encounter Christ more intimately in our hearts, and that’s what keeps this ministry going.”

Our Catholic School Community

907
Teachers
557
Education Assistants
16,395
Total Student Enrollment
(2019-2020)
93%
of students
are Catholic
The grade three class at St. Pius X Elementary School in North Vancouver participated in a “Gratitude Project" in which they created cards and posters for essential service workers. Several of their creations were delivered to various hospitals, research centres, and Vancouver Coastal Health. The Grade 7 class started “The Kindness Rock Project” where they invited students to paint positive messages on rocks and bring them to the school garden.
The Grade 5 class at Immaculate Conception Elementary School in Vancouver made the Catholic understanding of human dignity the central concept guiding their learning. The class started a project to make 200 sandwich lunches for The Door Is Open, which feeds vulnerable men and women in the Downtown Eastside. Students and their families were invited to decorate the brown paper bags with messages of hope and encouragement.
The Hymnin Band teamed up with Kelly Kozack, the Principal at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Delta, to film themselves singing and reading the Gospel each week. To bring the Gospel alive to young children, they paired the reading, music, and activity together to create connections with families.

"I was in prison, and you visited me."

Multiplying Disciples in Prison

Angela Veters
Volunteer Coordinator, Prison Ministry
“Zack is new to the faith, baptized in October 2019. It has been wonderful to journey with him as he explores his newfound relationship in Christ. Since our volunteers have not been able to go in the prisons because of the pandemic, he has taken the light of faith we passed onto him and shared it with so many others.”

Letter Writing Program

Ryan Prasad has witnessed at several Catholic high schools how his faith saved him from a continued life of crime. After hearing his testimony, one high school student shared:

“I learned that God can call upon you in miraculous ways. In times of struggle, whether they be personal, or involving a friend or family member, God will come to you to help you in the most unexpected ways.”

Bob Buckham
Coordinator, Prison Ministry
“When the pandemic closed prisons to visitors, our ministry has been able to reach some new inmates through our letter writing program. One fellow, Jonathan, had never been to our chapel events before, but he was searching for more out of life. We were able to be with him through our written words of consolation and prayer. We look forward to meeting him one day in the chapel when the lockdown is lifted.”

Doing God's Work

Conversation with Other Faiths

More than 200 people attended a dinner and discussion at Congregation Beth Israel as part of a series on Christian and Jewish perspectives. Dinner was followed by a conversation on the Old Testament Book of Esther as part of Jewish and Catholic tradition. It was a festive, joyful demonstration of our shared belief in fraternity.

Welcoming Refugees

We helped 11 parishes sponsor 122 refugees from Iraq, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Pakistan, Syria, Rwanda, and Myanmar. 

Refugee family
“It feels like I was saved from the jaws of death. We serve a living God and it makes so much sense when he can use you to extend his miraculous hand to us. My family and I prayed for 13 years as refugees. Along the way we lost hope; we got worried and faint at heart. Our faith was tested. The resettlement to Canada was a living proof that we really serve a living God and that he is always there to answer our problems.”

Ministering to Those Far From Home

Some seasonal farm workers from Guatemala and Mexico found themselves without work and unable to return to their countries for two months due to the pandemic. Volunteers at several parishes have consistently prepared and distributed meals, collected clothing and bicycles, and offered prayer for them. 

Educating students on human trafficking

The Anti-Human Trafficking Committee presented to over 80 students in collaboration with Simon Fraser University Chaplaincy. The interest on the issue was great and willingness to learn more was apparent in the Q&A period.

Listening Circle

Archbishop Miller took part in a listening circle at a retreat centre in the Sts’ailes (Chehalis) First Nation community to hear from Indigenous peoples on reconciliation and the Catholic faith. Participants from Chilliwack shared about the traumatic effects of local residential schools. Since the event, more people have been attending the community church.

Pro-Life Sunday Collection

The annual collection raised over $190,000 to fund 21 local pro-life groups to support abortion-vulnerable women and provide education.

Being Jesus to Others

Men’s Shelter

The Catholic Charities Men’s Shelter celebrated 60 years of offering warm, safe places for homeless men to sleep. Our guests also receive meals and supportive health and housing services with the goal of helping them fully re-integrate with society. In the Fall of 2020, the Shelter will be relocated to the Comox Building on the current St. Paul’s Hospital site.


Alexandre Legere
“I truly believe that God brought me to the Men’s Hostel as a guest for my own transformation. Now I experience God’s overflowing graces. When I became part of the shelter, no longer as a guest but one of the staff, I used clippers and scissors to cut hair of our guests for their physical transformation, but God uses me as a tool for their spiritual transformation. 

Having been where they are at now allows me to speak and read their language in terms of emotion as well as their spiritual struggles. Spending time with the clients gives me a chance to introduce God by sharing my own experience of darkness and sin and how God saved me and brought me into light. It is always my daily prayer that God will give me the grace to bring the light I have experienced from him to others struggling to get out of darkness.”

The Door is Open

The Door Is Open is a drop-in ministry that provides food, clothing, counselling, and shelter services and referrals. It is a warm and safe environment located in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Gerald Wells
guest
The Christianity at the Door is Open is not just in the background … you can feel it. It’s not just a business here, unlike in other places. I look forward every day to joining this community, to share food and to exchange smiles and joy with each other. This keeps us all going even in the midst of the pandemic.”

Sexual Abuse Report

A ground-breaking report by the Archdiocese’s Case Review Committee on clerical sexual abuse was released in November 2019. It contained 31 recommendations and responses from a group that included survivors and non-Catholics. The report also named Vancouver priests who have been criminally convicted, named in settled lawsuits, or were the subject of other public cases.

The 12-page report was published online and in The B.C. Catholic. It was the culmination of a months-long review of sexual abuse cases occurring in the Archdiocese of Vancouver since 1950, and it was the first report of its kind released by any diocese in Canada. 

Archbishop Miller has launched an Implementation Working Group to work out the practical details of what was recommended.

Read the full report at rcav.org/abuse-crisis/abuse-report.

Growing Our Archdiocese

St. Thomas Aquinas High School, North Vancouver

The 61-year-old high school was rebuilt to accommodate 650 students. It reopened in fall 2019.

St. Paul’s Church, Richmond

The new St. Paul’s Parish church was completed at after the old church was deemed inadequate for the needs of the neighbourhood. The new church boasts the largest seating capacity in the Archdiocese with room for 1,100 parishioners.

Holy Angels Mausolea & Columbaria, South Surrey

The new Mausolea & Columbaria are at the heart of Gardens of Gethsemani and include the addition of 195 crypts, 1,328 exterior granite niches, and 632 glass-fronted niches, providing a bright and reverent space for remembering. The new interment space was consecrated in June 2020.  

Project Advance

Project Advance meets the growing needs of our archdiocesan family and develops our commitment to stewardship as one faith, one Church, and one family.

Financials at a Glance

Combined Statement of Operations for Pastoral Centre
and Parishes of the Archdiocese of Vancouver
Year ended December 31, 2019

The Finance Office is pleased to publish externally audited financial statements for the Archdiocese of Vancouver at rcav.org/finance/financial-statements