My First Day in the New John Paul II Pastoral Centre

Yesterday was the first day in the new John Paul II Pastoral Centre. After months of anticipation, it was nice to finally get into our new building.

Here’s a look at my day…diary style.

6:45am: I rolled out of bed after just three hours of sleep. I guess I was too excited to get a decent sleep. Reminded me of the night before the first day of school. Or the night before releasing a new Canucks music video.

7:40am: I leave my home in Steveston via car.

8:09am: I make a left turn onto West 33rd and have to wait in traffic for about five minutes because of the construction in front of our building.  Still, this shaved about 10 to 15 minutes off my commute.

8:14am: I pull into the underground parking garage and park in spot number one. Appropriate for me given my ego I guess haha.


8:15am: I get off the elevator and receive my welcome package from Barb.

8:17am: I go upstairs and see my office for the first time. I get excited to see my nameplate on the door. I also realize that absolutely NO ONE calls me Clayton at work; I’m listed as Clay on my door, in the email system, and in the phone system. Call me whatever you like…just don’t call me late for dinner.


I then take a walk around the building and check out some of the boardrooms and other sites. I make note of the nearest bathrooms.

8:45am: I return to the main reception area and grab a couple pieces of banana bread and some fruit. After saving a seat in the front row in the Karol Wojtyla Hall, I spend some time greeting co-workers.  Pavel and I talk about what lies ahead for us. He’s excited. I’m excited. We’re all excited.


9:05am: I take my seat. Gerard, Erwin, and Faye join me in the front row and the OYYAM is looking super keen. I point this out to my buddy Archbishop Michael. Despite our friendship, he doesn’t seem too impressed.

9:10am: James Borkowski kicks off the festivities and quickly turns things over to Archbishop Michael for a blessing and some remarks. Archbishop Michael is like a proud Father (both literally and figuratively) and he makes the following key points about our new workspace:

  • It’s a place of light as Christ is the light.
  • It’s a place of dignity. Its beauty is important, but so is its simplicity.
  • It’s environmentally responsible.
  • It’s an open environment. We are encouraged to cooperate and collaborate as we are all doing one work for the glory of God.
  • No section is cordoned off. Thus, we are to respectful of our neighbours.

He ends off by saying that God has given us this building…and it’s not just the work of human hands.


9:20am: We hear from a number of different staff members on things like safety, telephones, parking, and IT. There’s also a lengthy question and answer period. James facilitates the meeting like a boss. He’s pretty darn funny.

10:35am: The general meeting ends and we all go to the reception area where Archbishop Michael blesses the large crucifix hanging above the reception desk.


10:45am: We move outside to take a group photo. Paul and Winetta set things up and Winetta almost bails running down the dirt hill after setting the timer on the camera.

10:50am: Our OYYAM staff gets a picture with Archbishop Michael – our first with him in the new building.


10:52am: We go on an informal building tour that takes us through all of the floors. People are still excited.


11:05am: During the tour, the OYYAM staff takes a quick detour to take our first picture in our new work area. We are happy. And hopeful.


11:55am: The tour ends and I check out the exercise room. I actually had my workout clothes in the car but the room won’t be operable for a few days still.

12:00pm: Archbishop Michael leads us in praying the Angelus (over the phone intercom).

12:05pm: I finish setting up my computer and my phone.


See what I mean about Clay vs. Clayton?

12:25pm: After starting to unpack my crates, I go downstairs a few minutes ahead of our lunch.

12:32pm: Archbishop Michael leads us in grace and we start to devour some sandwiches.


12:45pm: I take out my cell phone and show Archbishop Michael my blog from the morning on “What I Will Miss About 150 Robson”. He laughs out loud and encourages me to share it with the entire building staff at our lunch-time assembly. Not one to pass up an opportunity to hear myself speak, I agree to do it.

12:48pm: I sit with Megan for lunch. We catch up for a bit.

1:00pm: James invites me up to share my blog. For the next few minutes, I share excerpts from my blog while improvising some jokes. People laughed – either because they thought I was funny or they felt sorry for me. Maybe a bit of both.

1:05pm: In thanking me, James offers this gem: “Clay: while you may miss the urinal at our old building, you are NOT to miss the urinal here in the new building.” Raucous laughter ensued.

1:06pm: Archbishop Michael says, “We have a couple of comedians here.” He then thanks Dan Moric for his leadership during the moving process and presents him with a beautiful framed picture of St. Thomas Aquinas.

1:11pm: Gerard and I go up on the roof of the building to check out the view. We try to take some selfies but the sun is too bright and it burns our eyes. I get Gerard to take this picture of me.


1:27pm:  My first closed-door meeting is with Pat Gillespie.

1:35pm: More unpacking. I try really hard to keep my office clean.

2:05pm: Archbishop Michael stops by with some of the Moving Team leaders and they promptly tell me that they’ll be taking the flat-screen TV and placing it into one of the boardrooms. I can’t really object as the TV isn’t even mine – it’s the TV we used in the Catholic Hospitality Centre for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

2:45pm: My second meeting is with Michel Gloanec.

3:25pm: Meeting ends and I unpack the last of my crates. I look at my clean office and set the over/under for how long it takes me to mess up my office at 2 weeks.


4:00pm: We gather in the Karol Wojtyla Hall once again. This time, it’s for Mass celebrated by Archbishop Michael and Father Galvon.


4:40pm: Mass ends and a few of us help clean up.

5:01pm: I bring Faye and Gerard to my car with me and we leave for the day. I drop Gerard off at Oakridge and Faye off at the Bridgeport Station.

5:41pm: I arrive home eager to share my experiences with my family. They seem interested…haha. I’ll be bringing them to the building later today.