VANCOUVER—An East Vancouver pastor is hoping a pilot project will help draw his neighbours closer to God and closer to each other.
Father Bruce-John Hamilton of Corpus Christi Parish is launching a series of talks on topics such as coping with loss, communication, reaching young families, and helping immigrants and refugees.
“I hope they see it as an effort to assist them in their personal and family life,” said Father Hamilton. “We want them to grow, receive further formation, and hopefully it adds something to their lives.”
He’s launching the project in collaboration with 17 parishes across Vancouver and Burnaby. As far as he knows, this is the first time the entire Vancouver East Deanery has worked together on something like this.
Parishes “tend to operate on our own,” said Father Hamilton, the dean of the deanery. “For some parishes, it’s fine; we have huge parishes in this diocese,” but other parishes are so small they don’t have enough people to run certain events or ministries.
This pilot project involves 17 communities – big and small – pooling resources so all can have access to professional presentations on topics that matter to them.
Father Hamilton said a survey that had 380 respondents found most of the topics that interested people in his deanery had to do with family life.
“Priests come from families. Future married people come from families. If you don’t strengthen families, you’re putting the cart before the horse.”
“Priests come from families. Future married people come from families. If you don’t strengthen families, you’re putting the cart before the horse,” said Father Hamilton.
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, announced “strengthening families” as one of four of the archdiocese’s priorities in 2016, along with making every Sunday matter, evangelizing, and strengthening parish leadership.
Father Hamilton sees this pilot project as one way of fulfilling the archbishop’s goal when it comes to reaching out to families.
“Pastors are (concerned) that so many young people don’t come to Mass,” he said. “There is no one answer to this, but if you can do anything to help families connect with God, first, and then each other, that’s only going to ultimately reflect in them coming to Mass and receiving the sacraments.”
The free presentations will feature professionals including counsellor Denis Boyd and Creative Edge Consultant Emi Garzitto. They will be held on the first Saturday of each month from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at parishes across the deanery.
October 7: Engaging Youth – Corpus Christi Parish
November 4: Connecting with Your Parish – Holy Cross Parish
January 6: Loss – St. Helen's Parish
February 3: Ministry to Young Families – St. Joseph's Parish
March 3: Communication – St. Jude's Parish
April 7: Immigrants and Refugees – Our Lady of Sorrows Parish