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40. Faith in Action

“Were we to know the merit and value of only going from one street to another to help a neighbour for the love of God, we should prize it more than silver or gold.” - Blessed Edmund Rice


As a Catholic school, Vancouver College students have always found opportunities to work with those in need. 

The Sodality of our Lady was first formed among Vancouver College Grade 12 students in January 1958, moderated by Brother R.L. McKenzie (VC 1950). According to the Collegian from the 1960s, “One strong feature of the Sodality is that the boys are taught the value of the corporal works of mercy.” The Sodalists “hold weekly meetings and discussions on pertinent aspects of Catholic life. They devote a few minutes each day to meditation and private prayer. In addition, the Sodality participates in several apostolic works: visiting the young patients in local hospitals, collecting food for needy families, and many other charitable projects.”  The great work of the Sodality spread to other grade levels at the school with Br. H.L. Bucher co-moderating; however, by the 1970s, the group fizzled out. 

Although the Sodality of our Lady group itself was no longer active, Vancouver College students still participated in many service projects, especially during the Advent Season, and as part of their Religious Studies, they completed “service hours”.  

With the formalization of the Essential Elements of an Edmund Rice Christian Brothers Education at Vancouver College in the early 2000s, VC faculty became more intentional in providing opportunities for our students to live out our values. One of the Essential Elements is “to stand in solidarity with those marginalized by poverty and injustice”. With this undertaking in mind, student outreach programs were organized to place faith in action and make it a reality in our school community.

In July 2007 and 2008, Campus Minister, Kevin Beliveau, organized a group of Vancouver College teachers and students to participate in a service trip to Tijuana, Mexico. VC’s group joined Archbishop Carney and together they drove in passenger vans for four days, worked for six days, and then drove back again. The Los Embajadores groups performed acts of service for those experiencing poverty and hardship. The service trip participants lived simply and were immersed in the local environment. 

After a short break, the faith in action immersion program was revived in 2011 and groups of Vancouver College teachers and students once again travelled to various places to offer their services to those in need. The team went to New Orleans in 2011 to 2013 to help with Habitat for Humanity and Operation Helping Hands, and in 2015 and 2016 the team travelled to Whitehorse. 

In July 2015, Lilian Vernier, our Outreach Coordinator, went on a pilgrimage to Peru for a service immersion opportunity through the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers network.

Taking her personal experience and realizing the importance of providing our students with transformational experiences, Ms. Vernier grew the Faith In Action Program, one of the hallmarks of our school, to what it is today.  

Vancouver College, in collaboration with the Christian Brothers Network, provides Faith in Action Immersion Trips to our Senior School students. Students and teachers apply to participate in one of four immersion opportunities to serve families, individuals, and communities in Brownsville, Texas; South Bronx, New York; Lima, Peru; and Alert Bay, BC.  Through their year-long commitment, the Faith in Action teams strive to raise awareness of social justice issues faced by the people they are called to serve and to raise funds to provide educational supplies, materials to build housing, and to create restorative opportunities.

Students return from their immersions with an expanded viewpoint and a deeper understanding of social issues. They learn about advocacy and what they, as “Fighting Irish”, are fighting for. They come home with a newfound sense of appreciation and gratitude. Students sign up for these immersion trips because they want to stand in solidarity with others and help others, but Brother Stephen Casey, Immersions Coordinator stationed in Lima,  reminds Faith in Action participants that “If you have come to help the poor, you're wasting your time. But if you've come because you believe your Liberation is bound with [theirs], let us work together.”

By: Lilian Vernier and Ronith Cogswell

Faith in Action 2007 - 2022


Tijuana, Mexico

July 5-19 

Teachers: Kevin Beliveau, Tricia Marcotte, Wade Anderson, Carole Prescott, Lilian Vernier

Students VC 2007: Jon Lee, Rob Johnstone, Eric Uy, Dyllan Crook, Alex Dean, Pat Armstrong, Carson Wan, Ethan Wong, Henry Yu, James Lui, Rico Fionda

Students VC 2008: Justin Cervantes, Tim Lee, Mark Alban, Tom Curran, Seb Browne, Jon Chew

Student VC 2009: James Koo


Tijuana, Mexico

July 4-17 

Teachers: Kevin Beliveau, Carlos Freire, Wade Anderson, Lilian Vernier, Darren Yanko

Students VC 2007: Curtis Lau, Nick Hunter, Charles Mendoza

Students VC 2008: Jeffrey Abaquin, Jon Chiang, John Cordonier, Andrew Lee, Kyle Lim, Michael Macken, Scott Matheson, Jordan Recto, Cory Stout

Students VC 2009: Eric Gustavson, Derek Oswald, Billy Park, Matthew Robinson, Ryan Uy

Students VC 2010: Robert Ferrolino, Geno Lalana, Connor O’Toole


New Orleans, USA

Spring Break

Teachers: Mich DesLauriers, Kevin Beliveau, Br. O’Loughlin, Lilian Vernier, Jordan Harbidge

Students: VC 2011: Alex Abundo, Miguel Achtymichuk, Michel Fabre,  Daniel Kalinowski, Kevan LaGuardia, Louis Leung, Lendl Magsipoc, Angelo Rubini

Students VC 2012: Mark Goudie, Adam Min, Andrew Trasolini


New Orleans, USA

Spring Break

Teachers: Enzo Nardi, Fr. Chris Lynch, Lilian Vernier, Darren Yanko

Students VC 2012: Nicholas Armstong, Matthew Ellis, Spencer Ho, James Infante, Alvin Leung, Nicolas Pakula, Colin Paterson, Pat Toyota, William Zylmans

Students VC 2013: David Aquino, Ericson Herbosa, Jason Pinto


New Orleans, USA

Spring Break

Teachers: Enzo Nardi, Joseph Vernier, Brother Gattone, Darren Yanko

Students VC 2013: Aaron Bettiol, David Cavey, Levi de la Giroday, Bennett Jarvis, Cogulan Kumanan, Liam MacKay, Sebastian Miskovic, Eryck Moskven, Kevin Pinto, Juancho Ramirez, Jonathan Rubianto, Nicholas Tu


Whitehorse, Yukon

May 17-23

Teachers: Joe Dardano, Jon Tagulao

Students VC 2015: Justin Cortens, Colm Lyons, Christian Bettiol

Students VC 2016: Rhys Arrieta,Alfonso Sison, Mark Cruz, Nathaniel Villanueva


Whitehorse, Yukon

May 22-28

Teachers: Joe Dardano, Greg Van Dyk

Students VC 2016: Andrew Cheng, Mark Cruz,  John Paul Macken, Matthew Mendoza

Students VC 2017: Jaxin Da Roza, Aiden Gravelle, Paul Gustavson, Daniel Mendiola, Harresh Thayakaanthan, Michael Yun


Lima, Peru

March 11-21

Teachers: Kevin Beliveau, Nancy Herb, Ronith Cogswell

Students VC 2017: Jackson Aitken, Nathan Escobar, Tamas McGillivray, Chino Ramirez, Connor McLennan

Students VC 2018: Magnus Cheung, Nathan Hawes, Zephaniah Ko, Joshua Laberge, Ryan Leong, Owen Lin, Michael Villanueva


Brownsville, Texas

March 17-24

Teachers: Lilian Vernier, Andrew Knorr, Daryl Weaver

Students VC 2018: Liam Casey, David Chan-Kent, Michael Do, Christopher Fang, Zac Labrie, Evan Mak, Ruben Sarabia, Stephen Zelis

Students VC 2019: Darren Fernandes, Liam Lester, Sean Ryan, Brian Yoon


South Bronx, NY

March 10-18

Teachers: Chris Seppelt, Daryl Weaver, Brother Gattone, Lilian Vernier

Students VC 2020: John Atkins, Scott Brown, Cristian Ciampi, John Paul Cooper, Santiago Donelly, Darren Fernandes, Caleb Gallacher, Owen Greaves, Brandon Jong, Ethan Kalaw, Mason Lee, Jason MacDonald, Joshua MacDonald, Mitchell Morandini, Nicklas Nadeau, Nehemiah Rowe, Sean Ryan, Jonathan Song, Brendan Tai, Santiago Vargas, and Jonas Zimmermann.


Lima, Peru

March 11-21

Teachers: Andrea Prout-Bernett, Nancy Herb, Burton Haig

Students VC 2019: Alexander Antolis, Bretlourd Capsitrano, Trevor Chan, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jacob Gravelle, Minh Le, Sean Megan, Gavin Platt, Nicolas Quinn, Marcus Saldanha, Danesh Thananathan, 

Student VC 2020: Heath Yee Fung


Brownsville, Texas

November 16-23

Teachers: Daryl Weaver, Maureen Wicken, Chris Seppelt

Students VC 2020: Max Baldwinson, Tyler Berretta, Scott Brown, Jason Choy, Mason D’Souza, Victor Dutrizak, Liam Gorsuch, Ethan Kalaw, James Luteijn, Daniel Wang, Justin Woodhall

Student VC 2021: Andre Abela


Lima, Peru

March 7-18 (extended to March 28 due to Covid-19)

Teachers: Lilian Vernier, Lordia Robles, Paul Legge

Students VC 2020: Mateo Bachet, Bryan Cho, Timothy Choi, Ryan Sadhra, Carson Telfer

Students VC 2021: Will Black, Terence Chan, Nathanael Dardano, David de Souza Vaz, Tyson Gugushe, Matthew Keller, Kevin Shiao


South Bronx, NY

March 13-17 (interrupted due to Covid-19)

Teachers: Chris Seppelt, Michelle Rapier, Cathy Wolfman

Students VC 2020: Jack Boivin, Joseph Craig, Ethan Fong, Andrew Hansen, Sam Harris, Pius Lau, Jack MacDonald,  Alex Nyvit, Elvan Planas, Declan van Stratten, Trevor Yee

Students VC 2021: Matteo Banducci, Simon Boivin, Constantine Bousalis, Timothy Cheng, Ben Christian, Jordan Cuartero, Ben Kolb, Nathan Kwon, Markus Maile, Neil Palpal-Latoc, Paco Rodrigo, Zyken San Felipe, Erik van Breemen 


Peru, Virtual

Teachers: Paul Legge, Lorida Robles, Chantal Coschizza, Carlo Trentadue

Students VC 2021: Anthony Antolis, Dimitri Geissler, Joshua Greidanus, Filippo Hanley, Nicholas Huang, Marek Obajtek

Students VC 2022: Alessandro Dente, Aidan Flotildes, Colin Kitts, Brayden Labossiere, Jonathan McVicar, Rodrigo Puig Guinand, Dayton Se, Ethan Sparrow, Carlton Yan

Student VC 2023: Martin Vayalikunnel


Brownsville, Virtual

Teachers: Maureen Wicken, Jacquie Stewart, Enzo Nardi

Students VC 2021: Matthew Keller,  Raymond MacKay

Students VC 2022: Kyle Chan, Lucas Chan, Nathan Cheng, Marcus Chow, Ashton Chu, Gabriel Koch, Andy Lin, Declan Ng,  Jesse Tam

Students VC 2023: Ethan Addun, Aidan Bryson, Anthony Dinglason, David-Benjamin Dy, Michael Pak


South Bronx, Virtual

Teachers: Chris Seppelt, Michelle Rapier, Brandon Lieu

Students VC 2021: Matteo Banducci, Constantine Bousalis, Jonathan Chiu, Daniel Cho, Ben Christian, Ishmael Cordero, Jordan Cuartero, David Kim, Ben Kolb, Kai Koyama-Wong, Nathan Kwon, Markus Maile, Lachlan Uy, Matthew Voysey, Adam Yang


Peru, Virtual

Teachers:Lorida Robles, Paul Legge, Lucy Rocha, Polly Ludlow

Students VC 2022: William Dunn, Nicholas Jacob, Colm Kent, Gabriel Law, Ben Nichols, Jack Procter

Students VC 2023: Charlie Derrheim, Matteo Guerra, Aidan Loong, Matthias Kenton, Raphael Chong, Connor Sage


Brownsville, Virtual

Teachers: Maureen Wicken, Bill Wicken, Jacquie Stewart

Students VC 2022: Anders Chang, Ambrose Deck Stang, Aidan Flotides, Rodrigo Puig Guinard, Lewis Sale

Students VC 2023: Ryan Chan, Anthony Dinglasan, Cameron Lu, Michael Pak, Luis Panopio, Miguel Panopio, Clark Sinco


South Bronx, Virtual

Teachers: Chris Seppelt, Michelle Rapier, Michelle Ozdogan

Students VC 2022: Ben Baker, Noah Baldwin, Cameron Burke, Lucas Chan, Nathan Cheng, Jerrick De Vela, Markus Fletcher, Dean Hawrish-Blight, Nathan Helm, Henry Ho, Jacob Hsu, Kiyan Izadkhah, Ibraheem Khan, Luca Khayam, Gabriel Koch, Alexander Kon, Kody Liang, Andy Lin, Jonathan McVicar, Declan Ng, Owen Ross, Aidan Sanders, Dayton Se, Darren Zhang


Indigenous, Virtual

Teachers: Lilian Vernier, Nina Greaves, Carlo Trentadue

Students VC 2022:  Markus Fletcher, Edward Gillis, Charles Stewart

Students VC 2023: Finn Bahrich, Dylan Berretta, Pavlos Bousalis, Cameron MacDonald, Raimi Misalucha


Brownsville, Texas

November 12-19

Teachers: Bill Wicken, Maureen Wicken, Erika Gomos

Students VC 2023: Anthony Dinglasan, Matteo Guerra, Ye Huang

Students VC 2024: Zachary Greidanus, Alvin He, Raphael Koch, Thomas Jakubec, Jaden Leung, Ethan Ma, Connor Nishi

Students VC 2025: Max Goodison, Angus Taylor


Lima, Peru

March 5-17

Teachers: Lorida Robles, Paul Legge, Lucy Rocha

Students VC 2023: Conrad Chiu, Aidan Loong, Jaian Nichols, Luis Panopio, Miguel Panopio, Connor Sage,

Students VC 2024: Faith Akugbe, Anton Bersamira, Daniel Chan, Marcus Chan, Thuyavan Suthakar, Bosco Wong


South Bronx, NY

March 6-13

Teachers: Chris Seppelt, Michelle Rapier, Michelle Ozdogan

Students VC 2023: Luke Atkins, Dylan Berretta, Pavlos Bousalis, Ryan Chan, Alex Chromy, Clancy Cogswell, Kieran D’Souza, Jayden Gacula, Henry Ho, Ivan Jadulang, Raimi Misalucha, Clarence Sinco, Nikodemus Urrutia, Kyle van Straaten, Riley Yupitun

Students VC 2024: Ethan Cajigas, Nick Kolb, Ethan Lee, Cole Presley


Alert Bay, BC


Teachers: Nina Greaves, Mer Marghetti, Cliona Ryan-Glennon, Carlo Trentadue, Charles Steward (‘22)

Students VC 2024: Marciano Faugno, Stephenson Maine Wood, Matthew Ng

Students VC 2025: Nathan Brind, Oliver Duffy, Christopher Goehring, Mattias Kalaw, Declan Lee, Ben Waddell, Joshua Wong, Edmond Lee


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