Our Diocese

Our Diocese

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Nelson is located in the beautiful Okanagan and Kootenay regions of south-eastern British Columbia and covers approximate 124, 272 km (48,000 sq. mi.). Erected February 22, 1936, the Diocese currently ministers to approximately 78,000 Catholics.

In the late 1830s French Canadians in the Oregon Territory petitioned the Quebec bishops to have missionary priests sent beyond the Rocky Mountains. In response to this plea, Fathers François-Norbert Blanchet and Modeste Demers were sent West to a remote part of the Quebec diocese referred to as New Caledonia by the Hudson’s Bay Company. While at Boat Encampment on the Columbia River (Mica Dam area), Blanchet and Demers celebrated Mass on October 10th 1838 ‑ the first Mass celebrated in what later became the Diocese of Nelson.

During the years of westward expansion and settlement, the spiritual needs of the region presently administered by the Diocese of Nelson came under the jurisdiction of various bishoprics:

  • Vicariate Apostolic of the Oregon Territory, 1843-1846
  • Diocese of Vancouver Island, 1846-1863
  • Vicariate Apostolic of British Columbia, 1863-1890
  • Diocese of New Westminster, 1890-1908
  • Archdiocese of Vancouver, 1908-1936

On February 22nd 1936, His Holiness Pope Pius XI erected the Diocese of Nelson to cover the Kootenay and Okanagan regions of southeastern British Columbia.

Pilgrimage of Faith – The First 50 Years – 1936-1986

The Story of the Diocese of Nelson

This booklet was produce to commemorate the first 50 years of the Diocese of Nelson.

Please visit our diocese website for more information.

Cathedral of the Diocese:

Mary Immaculate Cathedral, Nelson, BC Cathedral of Mary Immaculate website’s “Early History” and “Building Highlights” for those who might be interested in the early history and construction of this magnificent church is available here. Website tabs are located in the menu bar at the top of the Cathedral’s home page.

Diocesan Offices:

3665 Benvoulin Road
Kelowna BC
V1W 4M7
(relocated to Kelowna, BC July 2011)

Seat of the Diocese:

Nelson, BC