Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


New Lyke House chaplain engaged in working toward the common good

By ANDREW NELSON, Staff writer | Published August 6, 2015

ATLANTA—A new chaplain will greet students as they return to Lyke House at the Atlanta University Center.

Society of the Divine Word Father Urey P. Mark in July became the director and chaplain of the Catholic Center for Atlanta’s historically black colleges and universities, including Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University. Msgr. Edward Branch, who has served as chaplain since 1990, retired in June.

Successful ministry begins with collaboration, said Father Mark. “We have to focus on the common good and see what gifts we all bring to support the common good of individuals, the community, and the various institutions we serve.”

Society of the Divine Word Father Urey P. Mark is the new director of Lyke House and Atlanta University Center Catholic chaplain. Photo By Michael Alexander

Father Mark, 43, compared his new ministry to “entering someone else’s garden.” He’ll rely on people in the community to point out the medicinal herbs, where the weeds are and where snakes hide, he said. To enjoy a place and get to know it, it is best to listen to others who point out the highlights, wave you away from danger, and share its goodness, he said.

“We need to enter with listening ears and eyes to observe,” he said.

A native of Liberia, West Africa, Father Mark entered the religious community in 2000. He was ordained in 2007 after attending seminary at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He received a master of divinity degree and a master of arts in theology degree with church history as a major and systemic theology as a minor.

He grew up in the West African country, the son of a telecommunications technician and an accountant. He arrived in this country in 2000, staying with his aunt in Stone Mountain briefly before entering the religious community. Relatives live in the United States.

His ministry has been spent in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, where he was a pastor of St. Nicholas Church from 2007-2014. He also served as a member of the board of trustees of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, a St. Louis archdiocesan seminary, and as a member of the Annual Catholic Appeal Council. He is an advocate for early childhood development, a cause he promoted by making Catholic preschool affordable for inner city families at his St. Louis parish. For the last six months, he served in the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa.

“Everything we have here is a gift from God. Our very life is a gift from God,” said Father Mark.