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How simply we started!

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How simply we started!
Peter Vogel

Recently I came across, quite by accident in a Google search, a column I wrote in this space more than a decade and a half ago.

Covering essentially the state of diocesan web communications as of Jan. 28, 2002, it provides an interesting look back at how simply we started.

Here is that column. Except for a few style changes, it is exactly as it appeared at the time with the headline “Vancouver Catholics feeling @ home on the Web.” Note that some of the people mentioned here have moved on to other positions.


It has been almost four years since some of the web traffic for groups within the Archdiocese of Vancouver began flowing from the computers at Notre Dame Regional Secondary School.

Naturally the website for the school itself,, was the first to begin operation (in May of 1997) but within very short order a site for St. Francis of Assisi Parish was running. Initially, additional sites ran as subsets of the domain, giving rise to sites such as,, and the like, but these were only stopgap addresses.

In September of 1998 the main site for the archdiocese itself was moved to its own domain, In practice the archdiocese’s domain was also reachable through its Canadian domain name, Even today, a user entering a website URL of will note that the content is actually delivered from

Then, as now, the webmaster of the archdiocese was Paul Marquis. In those intervening years the archdiocese’s site has grown by leaps and bounds and traffic has grown dramatically. Each week it seems that another parish or organization announces its electronic presence in the weekly e-mail that Marquis sends to subscribers (fill out the form on the main page of the site of the archdiocese or send a subscription request to to join the list).

It is apparent that the Internet is a key source of information for many parishioners in this diocese. Keeping electronic information up to date is a major undertaking, something that led Marquis and Paul Schratz, communications director of the archdiocese and B.C. Catholic editor, to put out a call for parish-level volunteers to forward relevant information (e.g. parish bazaar dates, special celebrations or events) through the archdiocese’s website and mail service for redistribution. Should this appeal to you, send a note to for additional details.

While is the biggest site operating from Notre Dame, there are many others – the most recent being Corpus Christi College, which began serving web content in the early fall of 2001.

Holy Rosary Cathedral ( began its site under the guidance of Father Joseph Le about three years ago. Since then Father Le has moved to Corpus Christi Parish and, having been hooked by the website development bug, he immediately began work on

Father Anthony Boniface has continued to operate and enhance the cathedral’s site, but he too will soon be moving to a new parish.

Father Mark Schwab has done a wonderful job developing the vocations site for the archdiocese at This site offers a large number of photographs from the numerous sessions put on by Father Schwab and Father James Hughes.

Youth Ministry operates its own site at An e-mail subscription service is also available. Sign up online or send a note to

I shouldn’t forget this very paper. It too has long had an online presence, its website operating as a sub-domain of at

Presumably, if you are reading this, you have some interest in Internet technologies and more than likely have Internet access at home. If you haven’t yet visited the B.C. Catholic website, shame on you! Do take a look.

Two education groups operate web services from Notre Dame. The Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese (CISVA) has its website at, and VCSTA, the Vancouver Catholic Schools Teachers’ Association, operates from

All told, the various websites that operate from the Notre Dame servers comprise on the order of a gigabyte or so of disk storage space, most of that being photographs.

It’s not much when you think about it in comparison with the 60-80 gigabyte hard drive capacity of a typical consumer computer system today.


There you have it. A look back to 2002. Again, some of the people mentioned in this piece have moved on, and some of the URLs, email addresses, and domain names may have changed. Nonetheless, it was interesting to see how far the diocesan web efforts had come in just a few years, long before the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 22 June 2017 12:13  

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