The initial feeling of loneliness and lack of community can be hard to take for many people when they immigrate to a different country. It has been seen that people rely on religion to overcome that feeling and find a sense of belonging.
An interesting trend has been noticed among the young immigrants of Canada- most of them are highly passionate about their religion, sometimes on a greater level than in their native country.
The trend is also highlighted by findings of Angus Reid Institute pollsters presented in the Statistics Canada. The religious commitment was seen to be high among the young immigrants.
The Tale of Boh Ryung Kim
Boh-Ryung Kim arrived in Canada with her parents in 2000. The family and the 22-year-old found Roman Catholicism to give them hope and made it a holistic part of their life. Kim said that they didn’t know anyone in Canada and going to church offered them a feeling of community and also provided a way to know people.
Kim attended the St. Andrew Kim Catholic Church in Surrey in the beginning which had 6,500 members comprising mostly of ethnic Koreans. Later when she was studying at the University of B.C., she went to St. Mark’s parish. Kim finds her religion to guide her in the right way and help her adjust to the foreign surroundings. A priest from UBC’s St. Mark’s Catholic parish, Father Rob Allore revealed that the foreign students who attended the church put more importance on the community than native British Columbians.
The young immigrants, mostly from Asia are making up for the attendance in the Canadian churches. The majority of the immigrants who came to Canada between 2001 and 2011 were either Catholics (21%) or Protestants (23%). Most of the immigrants to arrive in the decade were Roman Catholics numbering around 478,000, followed by 162,000 evangelicals and 108,000 Eastern Orthodox Christians.
How Is it For Young Immigrants?
Angus Reid pollsters say the young immigrants are almost 3 times more likely to participate in religious activities compared to Canadians. It is not surprising that there are many Roman Catholic mega-churches in Metro Vancouver attended by Chinese, Korean, Filipino, and Vietnamese people.
One can also find multiple evangelical Protestant churches serving to ethnic populations. Sometimes the immigrants attend churches more frequently than they did in their native countries. 50% of the polled immigrants said that they visited a religious institution at least once a month in Canada.
Reginald Bibby, Canadian sociologist of religion opines that institutional religion is not going to vanish from Canada anytime soon. The trend of spiritual passion has also been seen in other religions other than Christianity like Islam, Hinduism, and Sikh.
But not all stay on the religious path. Some exploit the freedom and divert to other enjoyments of life.