Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver (Latin: Archidioecesis Vancouveriensis) is a Roman Catholic Latin archdiocese that includes part of the federal Province of British Columbia.

Archdiocese of Vancouver

Archidioecesis Vancouveriensis[1]
Coat of Arms of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver.jpg
The Coat of Arms of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver
TerritorySouth West British Columbia
Ecclesiastical provinceVancouver
Area119,439 km2 (46,116 sq mi)
- Catholics

477,792[2] (17.8%)
DenominationRoman Catholic
RiteRoman Rite
Established14 December 1863
CathedralHoly Rosary Cathedral (Vancouver)
Current leadership
ArchbishopJ. Michael Miller, CSB
SuffragansJoseph Phuong Nguyen
Bishop of Kamloops
Gregory Bittman
Bishop of Nelson
Stephen Jensen
Bishop of Prince George
Gary Gordon
Bishop of Victoria
Bishops emeritusAdam Exner
Holy Rosary Cathedral, Vancouver

Its cathedral archiepiscopal see is the Holy Rosary Cathedral, dedicated to the diocesan patron saint Our Lady of the Rosary, in Vancouver, B.C.

The incumbent ordinary of the archdiocese is Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB.

Ecclesiastical provinceEdit

The Archbishop of Vancouver is the Metropolitan see of the Ecclesiastical Province of Vancouver, which also includes as suffragan dioceses :

Archdiocesan statisticsEdit

As per 2014, it pastorally served 430,000 Catholics (15.3% of 2,809,153 total) on 119,439 km². As of December 2015, the archdiocese contained 76 parishes, seven missions, 110 diocesan priests, 106 religious priests, and approximately 407,000 baptized Catholics. It also has 107 female religious, 19 male religious, and 17 permanent deacons. There are 51 Catholic schools.[3]

Anniversaries of significance to the archdioceseEdit

  • October 3 – Anniversary of the Dedication of Holy Rosary Cathedral (1953)[4][5]
  • October 7 – Solemnity of the Holy Rosary, patronal feast of both the Archdiocese and the Cathedral[6][7]
  • December 14 – Anniversary of the establishment of the Vicariate Apostolic of British Columbia (1863)[8]



On 24 July 1846, the Diocese of Vancouver Island was erected on territory split off from the Apostolic Vicariate of Oregon (based in the US Oregon Territory; now Diocese of Victoria).

Holy Rosary Cathedral pipe organ

Oblates of Mary Immaculate yearsEdit

On 14 December 1863, the Apostolic Vicariate of British Columbia was erected on territory split off from the Diocese of Vancouver Island). A French priest, by the name Louis-Joseph D'Herbomez, from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, became the first Vicar Apostolic of the newly formed territory. He was soon ordained Titular Bishop of Miletopolis in 1864 and served the Catholic community until his death in 1890.

On 2 September 1890, the pre-diocesan Apostolic Vicariate of British Columbia becomes the Diocese of New Westminster. Another Oblate of Mary Immaculate French Bishop, Pierre-Paul Durieu, took over the responsibilities and served the community until his death in 1899.

On 1894.07.27, during his tenure, the US Territory of Alaska was lost in the creation of the Apostolic Prefecture of Alaska.

Another French Bishop, Augustin Dontenwill, took governance of the Diocese of New Westminster in 1899 and served the community until he resigned, to become the Superior General of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, in 1908. Under his tenure the Holy Rosary Church was commissioned.

Under the Archdiocese of VictoriaEdit

In 1903, the Diocese of Vancouver Island was elevated to Archdiocese of Vancouver Island and in 1904, it was renamed as the Archdiocese of Victoria. A German-born Bishop, Bertram Orth, was appointed Archbishop in 1903 and lead the Archdiocese of Victoria and its suffrages until he resigned in 1908.

On 19 September 1908, the Diocese of New Westminster was elevated to the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Vancouver[1] and in October, 1908, the Archdiocese of Victoria was lowered to the Diocese of Victoria. Father Alexander MacDonald, of Nova Scotia, was quickly appointed and ordained Bishop of Victoria.

The Canadian BishopsEdit

For just over one year the Archdiocese of Vancouver had no bishop until Neil McNeil, Bishop of St. George’s, Newfoundland, became the first appointed Canadian Archbishop of Vancouver on 19 January 1910. His tenure was short, as he then went on to become the Archbishop of Toronto on 10 April 1912.

August, 1912, Timothy Casey, Bishop of Saint John in America, New Brunswick, becomes the 5th Archbishop of Vancouver. In 1914, what is now called World War I broke out and Archbishop Casey had to battle hard financial times for the Archdiocese. Under his governance, Holy Rosary Church became a Cathedral. He served his community until his death on October 1931.

The "Iron Duke" yearsEdit

August 1928, a priest from St. John, New Brunswick, became Coadjutor Archbishop of Vancouver and on 5 October 1931, Bishop William Mark Duke became Archbishop of Vancouver. In his 32 years of service to his community Archbishop Duke had to deal with the Great Depression of the Dirty Thirties and later World War II. His strict disciplinarian beliefs and financial management of the Archdiocese earned him the title “Iron Duke”. The legacy that was left behind when Archbishop William Mark Duke retired in March 1964 is impressive. He helped establish St. Mark’s College at the University of British Columbia, 2 Catholic high schools, 1 non-diocese Catholic high school, 22 Catholic elementary schools and 3 Catholic hospitals including many new parishes in the diocese alone.

During his tenure the archbishopric lost territory twice, to establish suffragan sees : on 1936.02.22 the Diocese of Nelson was erected and on 1945.12.22 the Diocese of Kamloops. These new diocese helped erect a new high school, new elementary schools & parishes.: Lost territory to establish Diocese of Nelson

The bishop of Nelson, Martin Michael Johnston, became Coadjutor Archbishop of Vancouver, in 1954, to assist Archbishop Duke during the last 10 years of governance. Bishop Johnston became Archbishop of Vancouver on 1964 and retired in 1969. During Archbishop Johnston tenure, the Vicariate of Prince Rupert was elevated to Diocese of Prince George, in 1967.

Project Advance yearsEdit

Auxiliary Bishop James Carney became Archbishop of Vancouver in 1969. Carney became the first Vancouver-born bishop to be appointed to the Archdiocese. During his tenure Carney saw the need to rebuild many of the parishes, schools and hospitals that were showing their age. Project Advance was introduced into the community that required the parishes to raise funds. These funds went back into the community to help rebuild their parishes & schools and also to build new facilities, like Archbishop Carney Regional Secondary School, which was built in the archbishop's honour after he died in 1990.

It enjoyed a Papal visit from Pope John Paul II in August 1984.[9]

Archdiocesan synodEdit

The archdiocese concluded a nine-year synod in December 2006. Lay and religious representatives from every parish, Catholic school, religious community, the local seminary, and Catholic organizations took part, as well as non-Catholic observers who were invited to the process.

Although it formally ran from October 2002 to October 2003, extensive preparation went into the synod as far back as 1998 during the period leading up to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. The synod’s aim was to bring the Church of Vancouver into the 21st century, from the “maintenance” mode it was in to more of a mission-driven model, as former Archbishop Emeritus Adam Exner, OMI, put it.

On December 3, 2006, at Holy Rosary Cathedral, Archbishop Raymond Roussin officially declared the synod closed, officially setting in motion the initiatives proposed.

According to the archdiocesan newspaper The B.C. Catholic, the first 20 declarations from the synod were to come into effect almost immediately. "Among the highlights are initiatives to encourage pastors to delegate more duties to the laity, to promote the faith formation of teachers, to initiate an adult faith formation strategy, to establish an office and vicar for evangelization, and to initiate a support group for priests."

Current SituationEdit

The archdiocese is now working in a significant infrastructure upgrade. This includes seismic upgrades to many churches and schools.[10] The Archdiocese of Vancouver is considered to be among the most conservative of Canada.[11]


Episcopal ordinariesEdit

First Suffragan Bishop Pierre-Paul Durieu
Apostolic Vicars of British Columbia
Suffragan Bishops of New Westminster
  • Pierre-Paul Durieu (born France) (see above 1890.09.02 – death 1899.06.01)
  • Augustin Dontenwill (born France) (1899.06.01 – 1908.09.19 see below), succeeding as former Coadjutor Bishop of New Westminster (1897.04.19 – 1899.06.01) and Titular Bishop of Germanicopolis (1897.04.19 – 1899.06.01)
Metropolitan Archbishops of Vancouver
First Archbishop Augustin Dontenwill

Coadjutor bishopsEdit

Auxiliary bishopsEdit

Other priests of this diocese who became bishopsEdit


The churches offer masses in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese), Chinese (Mandarin), Croatian, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Laotian, Traditional Latin, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.


Catholic High SchoolsEdit

Aerial View of the Archdiocese's new Archbishop Carney Secondary School
School City Est. Website Enrollment
Holy Cross Regional High School Surrey 1982 ~780 (co-ed)
St. Thomas Aquinas Regional Secondary School North Vancouver 1953 ~600 (co-ed)
Archbishop Carney Regional Secondary School Port Coquitlam 1994 ~750 (co-ed)
St. Patrick's Regional Secondary Vancouver 1928 ~500 (co-ed)
St. Thomas More Collegiate (non-diocese) Burnaby 1960 ~660 (co-ed)
St.John Brebeuf Regional Secondary Abbotsford 1992 ~335 (co-ed)
Notre Dame Regional Secondary School Vancouver 1953 ~600 (co-ed)
Traditional Learning Academy Coquitlam 1991
Vancouver College (non-diocese) Vancouver 1922 ~600 (boys)
Little Flower Academy (non-diocese) Vancouver 1927 ~470 (girls)
Convent of the Sacred Heart high school closed 1979. Now it's St. George's Junior School

Catholic Elementary SchoolsEdit

School City Est. Website
Assumption School Powell River 1961
Blessed Sacrament Vancouver 1954
Cloverdale Catholic Surrey 1954
Corpus Christi Vancouver 1957
Holy Cross Burnaby 1959
Holy Trinity North Vancouver 1955
Immaculate Conception Delta 1959
Immaculate Conception Vancouver 1926
Our Lady of Fatima Coquitlam 1947
Our Lady of Good Counsel Surrey 1957
Our Lady of Mercy Burnaby 1959
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Vancouver 1927
Our Lady of Sorrows Vancouver 1926
Our Lady of the Assumption Port Coquitlam 1982
Queen of All Saints Coquitlam 1996
Sacred Heart Delta 1944
St. Andrew's Vancouver 1937
St. Anthony of Padua Vancouver 1997
St. Anthony's West Vancouver 1958
St. Augustine's Vancouver 1921
St. Bernadette's Surrey 1986
St. Catherine's Langley 1986
St. Edmund's North Vancouver 1911
St. Francis de Sales Burnaby 1954
St. Francis of Assisi Vancouver 1946
St. Francis Xavier Vancouver 1940
St. Helen's Burnaby 1923
St. James Abbotsford 1985
St. Joseph's Vancouver 1922
St. Joseph the Worker Richmond 1988
St. Jude's Vancouver 1955
St. Mary's Chilliwack 1948
St. Mary's Vancouver 1931
St. Matthew's Surrey 2012
St. Michael's Burnaby 1957
St. Patrick's Maple Ridge 1955
St. Patrick's Vancouver 1922
St. Paul's Richmond 1960
St. Pius X North Vancouver 1996
Star of the Sea White Rock 1981
Vancouver College Vancouver 1922
  • St. Ann's Academy, of Vancouver (located by Holy Rosary Cathedral), was open 1888 & closed 1946.
  • St. Ann's Academy, of New Westminster, was open 1865 & closed 1968.
  • St. Peter's School, of New Westminster, was open 1945 & closed in 1968.
  • Holy Ghost School, of Lulu Island, was opened 1947 & closed in 1955.
  • In 1982, Little Flower Academy closed its elementary section of the school.[13]

Catholic Universities, Colleges and SeminariesEdit

Church of Westminster Abbey
at the Seminary of Christ the King

At present there are no Catholic universities, but, as per Archdiocesan Synod, there are plans to build one in the future.

College City Est. Website Enrollment
St. Mark's College (UBC) Vancouver @ University of British Columbia 1956 ~30 (co-ed)
Corpus Christi College (UBC) Vancouver @ University of British Columbia (co-ed)
Catholic Pacific College Walnut Grove Campus & Glover Road Campus in Langley, BC 1999 (co-ed)
Seminary of Christ the King Mission 1931 (men only)

Religious institutesEdit


The Gardens of Gethsemani Cemetery & Mausoleum (Est. 1965), 15800 - 32nd Avenue, Surrey, B.C.

Charitable OrganizationsEdit

Health Care

St. Vincent's Heather is built on the old site of St. Vincent's Hospital.

On March 31, 2000, St. Paul’s Hospital, Holy Family Hospital, & CHARA Health Care Society were consolidated into one legal entity and formed Providence Health Care, with eight sites in the city of Vancouver.

Although the Archdiocese is responsible for the creation of the hospitals & care facilities. It no long has direct control of these facilities as they are governed by a Board of Directors, the Congregation of Sisters & Providence Senior Leadership Team. Providence Health Care continues to provide Catholic health care.

Providence Health Care is presently developing the Legacy Project, which is to renew St. Paul’s Hospital into a state of the art research and teaching facility.

Hospital City Est. Religious institute Beds
St. Paul's Hospital (Vancouver) Vancouver 1894 the Sisters of Providence 500
St. Vincent's Hospital (Vancouver) Vancouver 1939 the Sisters of Charity 650
Mount Saint Joseph Hospital (1946) Vancouver 1921 the Missionary Sisters 208
Holy Family Hospital Vancouver 1947 the Sisters of Providence 218
Youville Residence Vancouver 1931 the Grey Sisters 152

Family support

  • Catholic Family Services - School assistance, marriage, employee assistance, separation, abortion healing, etc.

Overseas assistance


  • Catholic Charities Men's Hostel - Emergency shelter for men.
  • Columbus Towers - Low rent housing for seniors
  • Missionaries of Charity - housing for single pregnant mothers.
  • St. Michael's Centre - extended care beds & hospice beds. (144 beds)

Social support

  • Apostleship of the Sea - Provides services to visiting international seafarers.
  • Catholic Charities Justice Services - Prison visitation & re-integration programs.
  • Faith & Light Association - Providing services & support for the mentally handicapped & their families.
  • Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement - emergency food & clothing programs.
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul - visiting the sick and assistance to families.
  • The Door is Open - A safe drop-in centre for the homeless.

See alsoEdit



  • The Archdiocese publishes a newspaper called The B.C. Catholic for the community. (Founded in 1931)


  • Rosemary Heights Retreat Centre - A ministry of the Archdiocese which consists of a chapel, accommodations, conference rooms, full cafeteria service, gardens and grottos.


  1. ^ a b In sublimi, Litterae Apostolicae, Dioecesis Neo-Westmonasteriensis in Archidioecesim erigitur Vancouveriensem denominandam., d. 19 m. Septembris a. 1908, Pius PP. X September 19, 1908 letter from Vatican Secretary of State declaring seat of Diocese of New Westminster transferred to City of Vancouver (Latin)
  2. ^ Catholic hierarchy - Archdiocese of Vancouver (Statistics section) - Retrieved April 23, 2009
  3. ^ "Archdiocese Backgrounder - Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver". Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  4. ^ "Throwback Thursday: Holy Rosary Cathedral edition". The B.C. Catholic. Vancouver. October 2, 2019. Archived from the original on October 10, 2019. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  5. ^ "October 3rd Feast of the Dedication of Cathedral". Holy Rosary Cathedral. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver. September 29, 2018. Archived from the original on October 10, 2019. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  6. ^ "Solemn Mass for the Feast of the Holy Rosary". Holy Rosary Cathedral. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver. Archived from the original on October 10, 2019. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  7. ^ "Readings for Mass" (PDF). Holy Rosary Cathedral. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver. October 7, 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 10, 2019. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  8. ^ "A focus on vocations to the priesthood – Particular Church of Vancouver". Abbotsford: St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church. Archived from the original on October 10, 2019. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "Archdiocese of Vancouver, Canada". GCatholic. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  10. ^ "Infrastructure Renewal Project Brief". Archdiocese of Vancouver.
  11. ^ Todd, Douglas. "Contrasting two B.C. Catholic dioceses – De Roo and Exner". Vancouver Sun.
  12. ^ a b Religious of the Sacred Heart - Retrieved May 15, 2009
  13. ^ British Columbia Archival Union List - Retrieved May 15, 2009

Sources and external linksEdit

Coordinates: 49°15′00″N 123°06′00″W / 49.2500°N 123.1000°W / 49.2500; -123.1000