Canada – The Shift to a Post-Immigrant Catholicism

Monday, November 24 1997

Vatican City (CCCB) — Archbishop Michael Bzdel, C.Ss.R., of the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Winnipeg, told the Synod of Bishops’ Special Assembly for America that the Catholic Church in Canada finds itself in what he calls “a post- immigrant Catholicism.” “We were born and took root within various ethnic, immigrant communities,” he said. “In them we flourished and achieved a rare and powerful faith enculturation, normally being the community’s key institution – a type of virtual seminary.”

Archbishop Bzdel explained that “as Catholics leave their immigrant homes, many, though not all, are losing their religious roots and are unable to keep much personal faith alive.” He went on to say that a new evangelization is needed to take into account the post-immigrant, post-seminary situation.

The Metropolitan for the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada was intervening at the Synod for America on Nos. 12 and 15 of the Instrumentum Laboris, dealing with the Gospel and the cultures of immigrant peoples. Archbishop Bzdel said it will be necessary to focus on creating a faith that is based more on a personal encounter with the living Jesus Christ than on ethnic or social factors. The Archbishop concluded by saying the Church in Canada approaches this task with much hope, “given the powerful experience of the Catholicism of our youth.”