The Archdiocese of Vancouver was just the mission outpost started by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in the 1800s. The diocese humble beginning started from the Vicariate Apostolic of the Oregon Territory U.S.A. on July 24, 1846, and was called the Diocese of Vancouver Is‐ land. Five months later on December 14, 1863, the Vicariate Apostolic of British Columbia was erected. Not until over 40 years later in 1890 that the Vicariate Apostolic of BC became the Diocese of New Westminster. In 1903, the diocese of Victoria (Vancouver Island) was elevated to the Archdiocese of Victoria while Vancouver remained the diocese of New Westminster. Shortly five years later in 1908, the reverse affect happened. The Archdiocese of Victoria was lower to the Diocese of Victoria and the Diocese of New Westminster was raised to the Archdiocese of Vancouver under the guidance of Arch‐ bishop Neil McNeil.
From 1931 under the leadership of Archbishop William Mark Duke who took the motto from the Gospel of Luke 5:4 “Duc in Altum”, he began the launching of faith reform in the Archdiocese that eventually earned the reputation of “an unyielding foe of Sunday picnics, parish hall dances, demon rum and Marxism.”
The Catholics were the minority with only 12% in comparison to their Protestant counterparts with over 50%. Archbishop Duke wanted to evangelize through education system and set a goal of inaugurating a seminary and building more Catholic schools in parishes and universities.
By 1950, the Archdiocese of Vancouver had 67,000 Catholics, 60 parishes, 63 diocesan priests, 70 religious priests, one college, 2 high schools (plus 1 independent Catholic), 22 Catholic elementary schools, and 3 hospitals. A seminary was also established with the help of the Benedictine monks from Mountain Angels in Oregon.
Today (2010) Archbishop Michael Miller, CSB is our shepherd who governs the Archdiocese with close to half millions baptized faithful. The Archdiocese contains 74 parishes, 15 missions, 89 diocesan priests, 90 religious priests, over 100 religious sisters and 20 brothers and a permanent deacon. There are also 49 Catholic schools as well as hospitals, colleges, and Seminary of Christ the King.
(Next week: Vocation Crisis)