Archbishop Michael Miller, chief shepherd of Vancouver’s 475,000 Catholics since January 2009, has been a prominent part of the city’s religious landscape since 2007, when Pope Benedict XVI named him Coadjutor Archbishop to assist Archbishop Raymond Roussin. In the 36 years since his ordination, he has held a remarkable number of positions, from university president to the Vatican’s secretary for Catholic education. In addition to teaching theology in seminaries in Mexico and Rome, he has served on the boards of schools, universities, health-care institutions, and 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 and a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Born in Ottawa in 1946, Archbishop Miller grew up in the nation’s capital before attending the University of Toronto. It was there that he entered the novitiate of the Basilian Fathers, making his first profession of vows in 1966. His original field of 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. After teaching high school for a year, he earned his Master of Divinity at the University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto, and then went to Rome to complete his Licentiate and Doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. In 1975 he was ordained a priest by Pope Paul VI.
Archbishop Miller joined the theology faculty at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, in 1979 and subsequently served as the university’s chair and as 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 Archbishop Miller worked in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, and in 2003, Pope John Paul II appointed him to the episcopacy and named him secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education and vice president of the Pontifical Work of Priestly Vocations. As a senior official of the Roman Curia, he served as a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, for the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, and as a consultor to the Congregation for Bishops. He is a past member of the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, is chair of its doctrinal commission, and serves as one of three bishops appointed to a committee to prepare for the implementation of Anglican ordinariates in Canada.
In addition to English, Archbishop Miller is fluent in Spanish, Italian and French. He has received six honorary doctorates from universities around the world and is a specialist on the papacy and modern papal teaching. He has written seven books on topics ranging from the Holy See’s teaching on Catholic schools, to the development of the papacy and the encyclicals of Pope John Paul II. His book The Holy See’s Teaching on Catholic Schools is currently in use in the 45 schools of the Archdiocese.
Archbishop Miller is president of the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese, and since his arrival in Vancouver, he has implemented the Apostolate of Catholic Education for Teachers, established a First Nations Ministry office, opened an official communications office, and overseen the launch of new and highly regarded website. He has started the first permanent diaconate program in the Archdiocese, and in the fall of 2011 opened an Archdiocesan development office that will oversee Project Advance and develop a comprehensive plan to implement new fundraising activities.
He is a frequent and popular speaker at conferences around the world.