The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver has assigned two Jesuit scientists —both of whom have been described as having an ‘earthy spirituality’—to head its new parish on the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus.
Jesuit Father Robert Allore, pastor and chaplain, and Jesuit Father John McCarthy, assistant pastor and chaplain, hope the new St. Mark’s Parish will grow and become an integral part of the faith and service life of UBC.
Fr. Allore said, “We actively support efforts that promote dialogue between the traditions of science and religion.”
Fr. McCarthy said, “At the same time, we hope to build bridges between sometimes separated communities that, we believe, need to work together for the benefit of all.”
St. Mark’s Parish, formed at the beginning of the year to serve students, faculty, staff and local residents, brings together the former worshiping communities of St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish and St. Mark’s College. In partnership with student support provided by the campus ministry team at St. Mark’s College, the new Parish of St. Mark will also deliver services to the UBC hospital system.
As befits a parish in an institution of higher education, Frs. Allore and McCarthy arrive at UBC well-qualified in their respective fields of science.
Fr. Allore is a geneticist who conducts research on gene therapy strategies for the nervous system, while Fr. McCarthy is an ecologist who specializes in boreal forest ecology and the biology of lichens.
While pursuing his training as a Jesuit, Father Allore worked at Montreal General Hospital’s division of Neurosurgery where he conducted research on gene therapy strategies for the nervous system. Before moving to Vancouver, he worked for several years at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mt. Sinai Hospital, investigating the genetics of nervous system development. While serving at St. Mark’s Parish, he will continue his genetics research in the UBC Department of Zoology.
Fr. McCarthy is a specialist in boreal forest ecology and the biology of lichens, important biological indicators of environmental conditions. He has conducted extensive studies on the ecology of old growth forests in northern Newfoundland. He served for years as the Co-Chair of the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Advisory Council for the government of Newfoundland and Labrador. His work in boreal forest conservation earned him the Canadian Environment Award, Gold Prize, from the Royal Geographical Society of Canada.
Aside from his parish duties, Fr. McCarthy continues his ecological research activities on the biodiversity of lichens in Newfoundland and Labrador. His field work takes him to all parts of Canada and Europe to collect samples and meet with research collaborators.
You can read the original story on Frs. Allore and McCarthy’s newest assignments in this The Campus Resident article written by its editor, John Tompkins.