Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver



January 26, 2009

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Archbishop Miller welcomed by huge crowd

By Laureen McMahon

The festive sound of bells chimed in the cold air on the afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 25, as Holy Rosary Cathedral bell ringers rang a peal to summon the faithful to a 3 p.m. Mass of Thanksgiving for Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB.


The cathedral was packed with well-wishers eager to pay their respects to Archbishop Miller at the Mass which marked his ascension as 9th Archbishop of Vancouver. He succeeded the retiring Archbishop Emeritus Raymond Roussin, SM, on Jan. 2, at the request of Pope Benedict XVI.

The Most Reverend Luigi Ventura, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, visiting bishops, and diocesan clergy processed into the cathedral as guest trumpeter Malcolm Aiken played Purcell's Sonata in D accompanied on the organ by Denis Bedard, Director of Music at Holy Rosary. Throughout the service, the Cathedral Senior Choir performed various selections chosen by Archbishop Miller for the occasion.

Archbishop Miller sprinkled holy water while processing down the centre aisle as the choir sang The Lord, My Shepherd, Rules My Life.

Monsignor Stephen Jensen, recently appointed vicar general of the archdiocese, welcomed everyone to the celebration with the words, "Today we celebrate things old and new. What is new is that another successor of the apostles has come to be our shepherd in the person of Archbishop Miller. What is old and timeless is our communion with the Church throughout the world and in every age, expressed and guaranteed especially by our communion with our leader, the Bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict."

Monsignor Jensen introduced Archbishop Luigi Ventura, the Apostolic Nuncio, who greeted the congregation and later presented Archbishop Miller with a silver crozier designating him shepherd of the Catholic faithful in this archdiocese. With its signature hook, the crozier symbolizes a bishop's duty to seek and return the spiritually lost, just as a shepherd uses his crook to draw his sheep back from any danger into which they stray.

A letter announcing the appointment of Archbishop Miller, as Coadjutor Archbishop to Vancouver, was read by Monsignor Jensen. This document from 2007 released Archbishop Miller from his former duties at the Holy See and commended his exemplary performance of those duties.

Since he was named coadjutor, Archbishop Miller had right of succession, and therefore became Archbishop of Vancouver immediately Archbishop Roussin's resignation was accepted, which was effective Jan. 2.

In the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio, Monsignor Jensen then read the proclamation from Pope Benedict XVI, dated Jan. 25, 2009, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, which affirmed his choice of Archbishop Miller as the new Archbishop of Vancouver.

After the archbishop was officially seated upon the cathedral throne, the guest bishops seated on the altar rose one by one to give him a personal and affectionate greeting.

The Prayers of the Faithful were read by young people in a number of different languages to stress the cultural diversity of the Vancouver archdiocese. As well as asking for the Holy Spirit to guide Archbishop Miller in his new role, several of the prayers touched on themes which he had chosen to include in his homily, such as the just-concluded Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the 50th anniversary of the announcement of the Second Vatican Council, and the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul; these last two share the date of Jan. 25.

Among groups presenting Archbishop Miller with spiritual bouquets were the Brett Powell Family on behalf of archdiocesan families, the Missionaries of Charity on behalf of religious communities of women, Westminster Abbey Abbot John Braganza, OSB, on behalf of religious communities of men, and Monsignor Bernard Rossi on behalf of the clergy of the archdiocese.

Bishop Gerald Wiesner, OMI, of Prince George extended a hand of welcome, friendship, and support to Archbishop Miller, who is now the Metropolitan Archbishop of B.C. and the Yukon, on behalf of the bishops from all his suffragan dioceses.

At the conclusion of the Mass everyone was invited to a reception at Rosary hall to offer personal greetings to Archbishop Miller, Archbishop Emeritus Roussin, and the Apostolic Nuncio.


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