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