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King’s University College at Western University
A Catholic, Liberal Arts University College

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By Michael Bechard

Picture 1

King’s University College at Western University is a Catholic, liberal arts university college affiliated with a large, world class university. As a Catholic university we welcome people of every faith and those who claim to have no faith. Picture 2 Respect for the human person is behind our commitment to diversity, accessibility, social justice and to building the common good is at the heart of who we are. Founded in 1954, as Christ the King College, King’s now boasts over 3500 students from over 30 countries and several hundred full and part-time faculty and staff. Western University boasts over 35000 students with 3700 faculty and staff across several disciplines.

Christ the King University Parish first established in the mid-60’s and reestablished in 2004 is the presence of the Roman Catholic Church on campus. We are a “personal parish” which means that we are connected to an institution and mission, not a territory or geographical area. We pride ourselves on our strong liturgical practice and our commitment to serving with the heart of Christ.

Picture 3 This small city at the university is served by myself, Deacons Jim Panchaud (Pastoral Counsellor) and Victor Salazar (Migrant Ministry) and by lay ministers Annette Dononvan Panchaud (Outreach), Janet Loo (Music), Maija Wilson (Youth) and Lisa Caeiro (Administration). We do not do this alone. Our demographic is broad and on any given Sunday, there will be a dozen walkers in the centre aisle and dozens of infants and toddlers making themselves known. Everyone is encouraged, as they are able, to engage in worship and to use their talents for The Kingdom.

Picture 4 Our job, quite simply, is to preach the gospel and to celebrate the presence of God in our midst. Sometimes our preaching is done with words. Sometimes our preaching is done through acts of loving service. The manner in which we do this changes daily but there are some things that are fairly consistent. Mass is celebrated six times a week. Confessions are heard. Devotional prayer is offered daily. Like other parishes, we provide an initiation process for those seeking baptism, another process for those seeking full-communion with the Catholic Church and we prepare couples and individuals for Baptism and Marriage. We walk with individuals and families in sickness and we join them in prayer at the time of death.

We host a lecture series, a book study, offer pastoral counselling and have three choirs.

Looking to the needs of the City of London and to the needs of our nation, we work with the broader community in ministering to the needy through experiential learning programs, ministry at The Hospitality Centre, through organizations like Development and Peace and Kairos and through raising awareness to the needs of the Church’s ministry within our First Nations. We run several initiatives that raise funds and other items for young mom's in need and we stuff hundreds of shoe boxes so that those in need might experience God's generosity at Christmas. In the last three years, our community raised over $300 000 to sponsor and assist refugees. They have come to us from different faith traditions and from different countries across Africa and the Middle East.

The environment in which we work, and minister is complex. Many that we accompany are from various Christian denominations and many are have yet to hear the Good News. All of them seek to know that they have dignity, value and a role in God’s Reign that is unique to them. We are blessed to accompany young and old on their journey.

You can learn more about our work and become engaged in our mission at: www.kings.uwo.ca/campus-ministry/

Please pray for God’s blessing on our labours and on those that have been entrusted to our care.

Picture 5 Everyone is welcome to join us on Sunday morning at 10:00 am and most Sunday evenings at 5:00 pm in The Chapel at Windermere on the Mount (1486 Richmond Street).

Michael Bechard is the Pastor of Christ the King University Parish and the Director of Campus Ministry at King’s University College. He also teaches in the Department of Religious Studies, offering a course in Sacramental and Liturgical Theology and another which considers the Church’s ministry amongst the Indigenous peoples of the Canadian North. In his spare time, he is the Director of Liturgy for the Diocese of London and Chairs the Commission for Christian Unity, Religious Relations with the Jews, and Interfaith Dialogue.