Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 22, 2002
Convert elected head of diocesan council
Meerveld wants to see evangelical thrust to APC
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
A Catholic convert, small business owner and floor hockey enthusiast has been elected chair of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council for the next two years.
Chris Meerveld, a member of Edmonton's Good Shepherd Parish and a father of two daughters, will take over the reins of the 30-member council in September. He replaces Joe Staszko of Fort Saskatchewan.
"I was somewhat surprised and also flattered that I was chosen," Meerveld, 55, said July 17. "I am a new Catholic and I am fairly new in the APC."
Established in the late 1980s, the APC advises the archbishop on pastoral matters. Its members include representatives of the 24 regions of the archdiocese, the Council of Priests and the Council of Women Religious. Meerveld has been representing the West Edmonton Regional Council on the APC for about a year.
His goals as a chair include bringing back into the Catholic community those individuals and parishes that have been hurt by the transformation of parishes, working closely with the Vocations Office in encouraging priestly vocations and continuing the evangelization of youth.
The council will be particularly involved in the program of activities following World Youth Day. "Youth is our future," Meerveld contends. "We have to develop not only the leaders of the future but also faithful individuals who can continue our mission in the future."
Born in Holland, Meerveld and his parents came to Canada when he was four. He married his wife Monica 15 years ago and moved to Edmonton soon after that. They own and operate Magna Coatings, a small company that manufactures fire coatings. Monica is now chair of Birthright Edmonton.
Meerveld was raised in the Christian Reformed Church but, thanks to his Catholic wife, he joined the Catholic Church in 1994. They agreed to baptize his first daughter, Danielle, 11, as a Catholic but the priest told him "You can't do this lightly" and encouraged him to join the Church.
He did eight years ago and now considers the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the one-year-long program that educates new Catholics in the faith, "the Church's best kept secret. It's community the way it is supposed to be. Too bad it's just for new Catholics."
After he became Catholic, he decided the only way he could keep his faith would be through involvement in the Church. At Good Shepherd Parish he helped start small Christian communities, served as a lector and has been a two-term member of the parish council.
Prayer is important in his life and that of his family. "We pray as a family every day," he says. "And we find that the best time to pray is before supper. I find that prayer is what keeps our faith and our family strong."
Although eternally busy, Meerveld always manages to leave some time for his family, his church, and to pursue hobbies and sports.
"I play floor hockey once a week," he says. He also likes digital photography and camping. "We camp frequently as a family," he says. "We take the trailer and go away camping almost every weekend."