Volunteers in the Archdiocese of Vancouver’s prison ministry, seen here at a meeting, received a $10,000 grant from the Project Advance 2018 appeal that helped them expand and train volunteers. Photo courtesy of B.C. Catholic

Archdiocese of Vancouver’s annual appeal tops $7 million

By  Agnieszka Ruck, Canadian Catholic News
  • March 12, 2019

VANCOUVER – For someone like Thad, once convicted of a sex crime and now trying to put his old life behind him, a near-record-breaking year for Project Advance means another year of funding for the prison ministry program he relies on.

“I want people to believe that I am more than the horrible things I did in my past,” said Thad, (name changed) who finished his sentence in a local prison, and is now a member of Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA). 

The group, run by dozens of volunteers in the Archdiocese of Vancouver’s prison ministry, helps Thad and men like him find housing and employment and provides a community that keeps him accountable. COSA is one of many organizations in the archdiocese that will benefit from the $7.47 million raised by the Archdiocese of Vancouver’s annual appeal, the fourth year in a row the campaign has raised more than $7 million, said Director of Development Chris Ufford.

“Project Advance continues to provide critical funding to rebuild our Catholic secondary schools, enable various ministries in the archdiocese and acquire land for new parish sites — the future of the Church in Vancouver,” said Ufford. 

It is also the second-highest amount the annual appeal has ever raised. This result means the Archdiocese of Vancouver continues supporting its various works in the Lower Mainland, including saving up for construction projects as well as funding various ministries that serve the youth, the marginalized and the unevangelized.

Of the total, $2.3 million was earmarked for schools and parish sites. Another $600,000 went to various archdiocesan ministries, including prison and hospital chaplaincies, the refugee sponsorship program, outreach programming for First Nations and migrants and various marriage and parenting resources.

Diocesan outreach and Youth and Young Adult Ministry received equal slices of the pie at $100,000 each, and a unique catechism class for people with special needs received $50,000.

Project Advance also awarded a total of $100,000 in special grants to 13 groups as diverse as prison ministry, L’Arche (which serves people with intellectual disabilities) and the Saint James Music Academy (which offers free music lessons to at-risk youth).

Also receiving special grants were evangelization and pro-life initiatives, two chaplaincy programs on university campuses and services for men and women with addictions or fleeing domestic abuse.

In all, of the $7.4 million raised, a total of $3.2 million was scooped up by the archdiocese for these initiatives. 

The rest — minus $417,000 in administration costs — streamed back into the parishes.

That left them with $3.8 million to spend on local projects: new hymnals or pews, church repairs or their own ministries to the young, ill, marginalized or elderly.

(The B.C. Catholic)

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