“There’s obviously a lot of excitement. We’ve been raising money for 10, 15 years,” said Paul Schratz, communications director for the Archdiocese of Vancouver and a member of the parish.

The St. James Parish in Abbotsford hopes to celebrate its first major holiday this Easter in its new building. It’s one of four parishes under the Archdiocese of Vancouver that is building a church from scratch or expanding.

“We have a lot of good news in this archdiocese,” says Schratz.

So, too, does the Archdiocese of Toronto, which covers a 13,000-square-kilometre area of southern Ontario stretching from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay. On average, it’s built one church a year over the past decade.

An upsurge in new churches in Canada’s urban centres is heralded by some as a sign that religion is far from dead, a fear often cited with the rise of secularism throughout the western world.

But others aren’t convinced — and recent figures from around the world, including Canada, suggest that the number of people who don’t identify with a religion has risen to unprecedented levels and shows no sign of abating.