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St. Mark’s College at UBC launches the Centre for Christian Engagement

Vancouver, BC – May 28, 2019. St. Mark’s College at UBC is pleased to announce the launch of the Centre for Christian Engagement. The Centre for Christian Engagement seeks to help create a culture of community and dialogue by providing opportunities to address the challenges of Christians disengaging from the Church and the life of faith.

The Centre launched with an inaugural series of events that started May 25, 2019, including a retreat called A Toolkit for Spiritual Survival featuring Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, OMI, President of the Oblate School of Theology speaking about Spirituality for Steadiness and Sanity, and Dr. Michael W. Higgins, Distinguished Professor of Catholic Thought at Sacred Heart University, speaking on the topic of Silence and Contemplation.

Dr. Michael Higgins delivered a keynote address on The Role of the Laity in the Reform of the Church on Monday, May 27, followed by a panel featuring: Sr. Sue Mosteller – Leader of the International Federation of L’Arche and a Sister of St. Joseph; Dr. Angus Reid – Canada's best-known and longest practicing pollster and Chairman of the Angus Reid Institute; Dr. Lynda Robitaille – Canon lawyer and Dean of Theology at St. Mark's College; and Fr. Ronald Rolheiser – Internationally renowned speaker, spiritual writer and member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

The inaugural event series will wrap up on Tuesday, May 28 at the 2019 British Columbia Jesuit Scotch Tasting Reception at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver. After the event, the Centre will continue to nurture the dialogue between Christians in the life of the Spirit and the Academy with that of wider society, providing forums to address the issues and challenges associated with Christian disengagements, and highlighting and encouraging the prophetic voices of the age as they proclaim the Gospel as the ultimate message of Christian engagement.

The Centre for Christian Engagement was established through generous donations from The Archdiocese of Vancouver, Peter Bull, Angus Reid and Andy Szocs.

“As he opened the second Vatican Council in 1962, Pope John XXIII explained his desire to ‘throw open the windows of the church and let the fresh air of the spirit blow through.’ He saw the need for the church to relate differently and creatively to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world. Pope Francis picked up on this same theme early in his pontificate, outlining in his Apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (2013) the need for the church to create a ‘culture of encounter’ and to become ‘a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcome, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel,’” said Dr. Peter Meehan, President and Vice Chancellor, Corpus Christi-St. Mark’s College at UBC. “By creating opportunities to listen, reflect, learn, discuss and pray, the Centre for Christian Engagement at St. Mark’s College at UBC seeks to address the increasing disengagement of Christians from the church and the life of faith.”


St. Mark's College is a member of the Community of St. Mark's at UBC, which comprises St. Mark's College, Corpus Christi College, and St. Mark's Parish. As the affiliated Catholic Theological College of the University of British Columbia (UBC), St. Mark's College offers a variety of academic programs and continuing education opportunities for Catholics and non-Catholics. Together with Corpus Christi College, St. Mark's College is a centre of excellence for undergraduate and graduate Catholic education in British Columbia.
St. Mark's is committed to promoting an authentic Christian humanism, marked by the pursuit of academic excellence and animated by the joy of searching for, discovering, and communicating truth in every field of knowledge. The College prepares graduates who continually strive to integrate and synthesize faith and reason so that they will serve society charged with a commitment to think rigorously, to act justly and to serve faithfully.

The College offers programs that are grounded in the Catholic intellectual and moral tradition, including a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Culture for aspiring Catholic teachers; Master's degrees in Religious Education, Theological Studies, Pastoral Studies and Catholic Leadership; and engaging public lectures and professional development opportunities addressing faith leading to understanding.


Kerilee Falloon, Communications, St. Mark’s College at UBC
[email protected]

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Summer Institute

Ready to be inspired and kickstart your own learning? Take advantage of the St. Mark’s Summer Institute, where you will attend virtual classes in real-time over a three-week period and then have many weeks left in which to finish coursework at your own pace. New and returning students have the option of completing a Catholic Core course, an elective course, or both.

Courses run Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from July 5-23, 2021. Students have until late August to complete their coursework.

The Summer Institute offers all who are interested - including those who work in education, parish ministry, healthcare, and other professions - the opportunity to engage deeply in reflection and discussion and earn course credits, in a more intensive format than the usual three-month term.

SCRI 505: Introduction to Scripture (Fr. Nick Meisl)
Morning class, 8:30am - 12:00pm
Courses run weekdays from July 4-15, 2021.

Discover a basic introduction to Scripture for students without previous background in Scripture. This course covers both the Old and New Testaments in their own contexts, thematic parallels between them, and gives attention to how the Catholic intellectual tradition engages these textual traditions.

Afternoon class (Elective course) – More details to come


Spotlight on student experience

"Deciding to take the Catholic Core Courses at St. Mark’s College, particularly during Covid-19, has been one of the smartest decisions of my life. At first, I felt some trepidation as I last undertook an academic course 9 years ago; however, the entire experience has been so positive and enlightening, I am delighted I did and would definitely encourage others to undertake them as well.

The learning environment is very collegial and supportive; in our classes, our contributions were always valued, not only by the professors, but also by our classmates. It is a wonderful way of learning from each other and forming new relationships. My teaching ministry will definitely be informed by my study at SMC: I am actually looking forward to sharing what I have learned with my students and colleagues. My faith life and appreciation of the liturgy has benefitted, too, from these studies on Scripture and Theology and the readings we have done in class; my choice of bedtime reading material now isn’t novels but the Bible and Apostolic Exhortations! Every Christian Education teacher should take the Catholic Core at St. Mark's College - it’s a great place to learn and grow in your faith!"

- Ann Marie McGrath, Educator
Summer Institute 2020[/letter]

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Is it required that I come to Vancouver for the Summer Institute courses?

No. Attending classes virtually is always an option we offer to students who live outside of Metro Vancouver.
This year, due to COVID-19, all students will be taking their Summer classes virtually through live online courses.

Synchronous, asynchronous, online, virtual, Zoom. So many new terms - how will my classes be offered?

Many people hear “online class” and think of a series of pre-recorded lectures and online interaction with no real-time interaction with a human. That’s not how our courses are offered.

Your classes will be virtual. The live online courses taking place in a digital classroom with real-time instruction and opportunities for face-to-face interaction with your professor and classmates.

Classes run on weekdays for three weeks in July on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. There will be a daily live lecture and class time. There may be required readings before each class and most other coursework is completed after classes end. You will have until late August to complete papers and other coursework.

Throughout the course you will be interacting with your professor and fellow classmates.

How do I access my online courses?

St. Mark’s College uses an online learning platform through UBC called Canvas. After you have registered for the course, you will be contacted by the Registrar's Office with instructions for accessing your course materials. If you have questions, please contact Chisom Onwuli at [email protected].

Will I be able to talk to my instructor and classmates?

Yes. The course design and video software allows for two-way interaction. You will be able (even encouraged) to interact with your professor and classmates and engage in discussions.

What is the cost of taking a Summer Institute course?

The Summer Institute courses are full 3-credit courses. The tuition cost can be found on the Tuition and Fees webpage.

As many of our students previously paid tuition in person, there are also special instructions on how to pay tuition during COVID-19.

How do I get the readings and books for my courses?

The list of required textbooks can be found through the online textbook list.

Readings may be shared directly by your professor or accessed through the libraries of St. Mark’s College and UBC.

Do I qualify for admission?

We have admission categories to accommodate various backgrounds including those with no previous post-secondary education, or those who wish to take classes as “auditing students” without going through the full application process. Visit our Admission Requirements webpage for more information.

If you’d like to speak to someone about starting your studies with St. Mark’s College, email [email protected].

More Questions?

Contact Dr. Lynda Robitaille
Email: [email protected]

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