Immigrants vital to growth of the Church in Canada


Catholic Register, 21 September 2017

A celebration planned by the Canadian Goan Christian Group for St. Joseph’s parish in Mississauga on Oct. 14 will highlight the role that immigrants play in keeping the Church in Canada alive and vibrant.

The demographic dynamics of the global Catholic Church are evident in Canada. The faith is weak in the countries of old Europe — France and Ireland to highlight two — that were the foundation of the Church in Canada. Likewise, the practice of the faith is weak in those French and Irish parts of the Catholic population which have been in Canada for generations.

In the global south, the picture is different. The Church is growing and vibrant in many parts of Asia, particularly India, Korea and the Philippines. There has been explosive growth of the Church in Africa. That too is reflected in the Church in Canada. Without priests from Africa, India and the Philippines, there would be thousands of parish communities that would be without the sacraments regularly. Many of the most vibrant parishes depend in large part on immigrants for their vital leadership. Without immigrants and the sons of immigrants, priestly vocations in Canada would be drastically reduced.

A few years back I assisted at the Holy Mass celebrating the 75th priestly anniversary of Msgr. Vincent Foy. Msgr. Foy. Cardinal Thomas Collins, who was the celebrant, represented that proud European heritage of the Church in Canada. The seminarians serving the Mass, and several of the other priests present, were from south Asia. The ministers of that Mass reflected both the heritage and the future of the Church in Canada.

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