(Address given to CPC students at "Evening with CPC" opening dinner of the 2021/22 academic year on September 8, 2021, Fort Langley)
Warm greetings - and congratulations - to all of you who are beginning your studies at Catholic Pacific College and TWU. You have made a wise choice in choosing CPC. Its Catholic Formation Track will give you a solid intellectual formation in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. And all this within the context of a major Christian university, with all the advantages that such a campus offer you.
St. John Henry Newman insisted relentlessly that the primary purpose of higher education - and this is true of CPC - is, in the first place, decidedly intellectual. Get ready to have your mind transformed, changed in the light of truth, so that you will become someone who can engage fruitfully in conversation and debate with your colleagues and peers, many of who do not share your faith. If CPC is successful in fulfilling its mission , you will become someone who has a capacity for exercising judgement, for bringing insights and arguments from a variety of disciplines to bear on the complex issues that are facing society and the Church. Just think of the light that needs to be shed on such questions as the meaning of human sexuality and marriage, gender identity, abortion and euthanasia, reconciliation between First Nations and non-Indigenous people, the proper role and limits of government authority.
Two Marks of a Catholic University Education
Many descriptions of Catholic higher education are possible. I will attempt only to give you two brief insights, that I believe are crucial - and probably the most important: an emphasis on community and on a sacramental-incarnational attitude to reality.
The community spirit that exists at CPC is due, yes, of course to its manageable size. It allows for and fosters the interaction of faculty with students, and of students with one another.
There is, moreover, also a theological basis for this strong sense of community. It comes from Catholic teaching on the Body of Christ, where each member is dependent on the other, and all together serve the common good. In worship - which you will find accessible and frequent at CPC - you are all together. Your prayer, while always personal, reached its high point at the Eucharist, where you are united as “one body, one spirit in Christ.” Furthermore, the students at CPC do good works for others. They commit themselves together to the common good of everyone and of each individual. This is what St. John Paul II called “solidarity.”
2. Sacramental Sensibility
Authentic Catholic education, such as you will experience at CPC, will help make you more attuned to seeing reflections and images of the divine in ordinary day-to-day life. You will come to appreciate, God willing, that all reality has been touched by God and can be explored. Truth is, of course, found fully in Christ, but “seeds of the Word” are everywhere, and Catholic formation helps one to see that. A Catholic education helps to see the harmony between faith and reason, between Jerusalem and Athens. The world itself is “charged with the grandeur of God,” in Gerard Manley Hopkins’ phrase.
The doctrine of the Incarnation is, therefore, central to a genuine Catholic college. That God is transcendent but also Emmanuel makes it possible to see that, no matter what one is studying, it can be connected to the things of God, because he became flesh (cf. Jn 1:14). CPC will alert you to an awareness of God’s sacramental presence in our world. Let me quote a theologian: “For the university, dedicated as it is to studying all aspects of human and natural reality,…faith in the Incarnation provides both a goal and a sense of companionship for our wonder: this world is a holy place, a shrine of meaning, because God has made it His own.” 2
Welcome to the exciting and exhilarating world of Catholic education at CPC.
J. Michael Miller, CSB
Archbishop of Vancouver
"Catholic Pacific College is a genuine Catholic college. CPC’s unique relationship with an evangelical university promotes dialogue regarding the shared mission of bringing Christ and his Gospel to the world. At CPC, students experience an outstanding Catholic formation while preparing for a wide variety of careers."
"You have made a wise choice in choosing CPC. Its Catholic Formation Track will give you a solid intellectual formation in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. And all this within the context of a major Christian university, with all the advantages that such a campus offer you."
"Get ready to have your mind transformed, changed in the light of truth, so that you will become someone who can engage fruitfully in conversation and debate with your colleagues and peers, many of who do not share your faith. If CPC is successful in fulfilling its mission, you will become someone who has a capacity for exercising judgement, for bringing insights and arguments from a variety of disciplines to bear on the complex issues that are facing society and the Church."
- Right Reverend J. Michael Miller, CSB, Archbishop of Vancouver
(Copied from Archbishop Miller's Biography on the Vancouver Archdiocesan website)
Archbishop Michael Miller, chief shepherd of Vancouver’s 430,000 Catholics since January 2009, has been part of the city’s religious landscape since 2007, when Pope Benedict XVI named him Coadjutor Archbishop.
Born in Ottawa in 1946, Archbishop Miller grew up in the nation’s capital before attending the University of Toronto. He then entered the novitiate of the Basilian Fathers, making his first profession of vows in 1966.
His original field of academic interest was Latin American studies, and he earned his Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Toronto in 1969, followed by his Master’s at the University of Wisconsin in 1970.
After teaching high school for a year, he pursued his Master of Divinity at the University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto, and then completed his Licentiate and Doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
In 1975, Pope Saint Paul VI ordained him a priest.
Archbishop Miller joined the theology faculty at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, in 1979 and subsequently served as chair of the Theology Department and dean of the School of Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary. In 1990, he was named St. Thomas’s vice president for academic affairs and in 1997 he became the university’s president. From 1992 to 1997 he worked in Rome at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.
Pope Saint John Paul II appointed him to the episcopacy in 2003, naming him Secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education.
In addition to teaching theology in seminaries in the U.S., Mexico and Rome, Archbishop Miller has served on the boards of schools, universities, health care institutions, and numerous professional and public service organizations. He is Grand Prior of the Western Canadian Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, a Conventual Chaplain of the Knights of Malta, and a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus.
Besides English, Archbishop Miller is fluent in Spanish, Italian and French. He is a specialist on the papacy and modern papal teaching, about which he has written extensively, and has received seven honorary doctorates.
Archbishop Miller currently serves on the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is also a member of the editorial committee of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.
Since his arrival in Vancouver, he has established new offices at the John Paul II Pastoral Centre for First Nations Ministry, Hispanic Ministry, Filipino Ministry, Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations, Communications, Development, and Stewardship.
Archbishop Miller started the first permanent diaconate program in the Archdiocese, and in 2015 he established the Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary Redemptoris Mater. He has invited the foundation of seven new religious communities of women in the Archdiocese. He re-established the tradition of the Red Mass, and has seen to the formation of a chapter of Legatus.
As well as his positions as Chancellor and board member of St. Mark’s College and Corpus Christi College, Archbishop Miller is president of the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese, sits on the board of governors of Catholic Pacific College, and is a member of the Providence Health Care Society.