Archdiocese of Vancouver: One Faith, One Body, One Mission

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, shepherd of the Archdiocese of Vancouver, welcomes the attendees of the third annual ONE Conference on the morning of February 15, 2014. (Photo: Tony Wong of Singles for Christ Vancouver)

Last Saturday I attended the ONE Conference in the Archdiocese of Vancouver and let me tell you: I was blown away. It wasn’t just the amazing talks given by Father Spitzer, SJ, Doctor. Josephine Lombardi, and Christopher West that made it so worthwhile, but the atmosphere of simply being in such a buzzing place. It was here that the idea of “oneness” really sank into me: that the Catholic Church, with its different parts, truly shared one faith, one body, and one mission.

It reminded me of Saint Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:15-16:

If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow completely into Christ, who is the Head by whom the whole Body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each individual part to work according to its function. So the body grows until it has built itself in love.”

After scanning the booths of numerous ministries in the Archdiocese, I realized that there were MANY. Even more fascinating was how different each ministry was, catering to their own set of demographics and individual missions, yet ultimately contributing to the same mission of spreading God’s love.

The same thing could be observed on an individual basis. The conference was littered with people with different gifts and charisms. Some were excellent event planners, coordinating every detail to make this event work. Others were captivating speakers, spending years of their lives in school to educate themselves about the faith in order to impart their knowledge on others. Yet others had excellent interpersonal skills, able to greet strangers with warmth and to make the atmosphere more welcoming.

In short, Saint Paul was right: God blessed us with very DIFFERENT abilities and functions, in order to make up the different parts of His One Body.

However, we often fail to fulfill our specific God-given roles because we’re too busy working against them. One of the speakers, Dr. Josephine Lombardi, touched on this. She said that too often we get so caught up with wanting gifts that we don’t have, rather than on utilizing the gifts that already come naturally to us. The solution, according to Lombardi, is to do the opposite: “Do the possible with the gifts we have, and we might actually find ourselves doing the impossible.”

As Saint Paul writes in various parts of 1 Corinthians 12:17-20:

If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members of the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.” 

It is our responsibility to do our unique “part” as members of the Body of Christ with the best of our abilities. And I believe that it has been in doing so that our Archdiocese has continued to thrive, making this event an enriching experience. God is good!

Celine Diaz, CFC-Youth Pacific Region