Fathers Martin (left) and Mario (right) Jubinville are the new priests at St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Church.
– Stephen Dafoe Photo
by Stephen Dafoe
After six years of serving local Catholics at St. Jean Baptiste Church, Father Ignacy Warias, OMI, left Morinville late last summer to take on pastoral duties at St. Albert Parish. Father Warias has recently been replaced by Father Martin Jubinville and his twin brother Mario as pastor and associate pastor of the parish. Although the two priests are new to pastoral duties at the historic church, they are in no way strangers to the church or the community.
“We grew up in Alberta,” said Father Martin Jubinville, adding his family traces back through six generations of Franco Albertans. “The majority of time we lived two miles east on an acreage outside Morinville. In high school we moved to Penticton. Being back in Morinville, this is the same parish where we served the mass and took the sacraments.”
Father Mario said one of the significant changes from when he and his brother attended church in Morinville in their youth is the language spoken. “One way that has changed for sure in arriving here is that there is not a Francophone mass,” he said. “There is one mass that’s partly split with some French. But I think that demographic has changed.”
Close path to the Parish
Father Martin was ordained in 2002, and served the faithful in Ft. McMurray, St. Paul, Smokey Lake and Vilna before moving on to serve in Barrhead for six years.
Like many who hear the call, he heard it early on in life. “It was something I began to think about in high school, and it was a combination of a number of factors,” he said. “Certainly one of them was a call to living the faith in everyday life, a call to prayer, and I think it was embracing that even in high school. It began to be a nice way to experience friendship with God.”
A trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina, combined with some experiences among Christian friends on his return, moved him further on the path to choosing faith as a vocation.
His brother, Father Mario, answered the call five years later in 2007. “We had always been practising – even as alter servants here from first communion and up,” he said. “We always had a sense of the importance of faith. Church always meant something. I remember in high school having experienced a real sort of spiritual thirst, and taking time with the sacred scriptures and prayer of the Rosary. Through a few years of considering it and considering my experiences, I made the decision for the priesthood
Initially Father Mario looked into the religious vocation with the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans) because of his strong academic background and a thought that he might like to serve God by teaching. After four years, around the time when he was considering taking his vows, he realized his heart was really being called to serve as a priest.
Father Mario spent one year as an associate pastor in Bonnyville before becoming pastor in Bonnyville for another year. This was followed by three years serving at Cold Lake First Nations, Elizabeth Metis Settlement, and Frog Lake First Nation.
First posting together
The twin fathers arrived in Morinville to take on their duties Oct. 18; Father Martin as Pastor, Father Mario as Associate Pastor.
“It is the first time we have a placement together, which will be really marvellous,” Father Martin said, adding he and his brother did work at Camp St. Louis for a number of summers. “We’re hoping that will make it so we can just get a lot more work done. “
The priests’ duties include oversight of the parish, being stewards of the sacraments, and working with Morinville’s Catholic schools. “I think there will be lots of really good work there to just help the people of God have a wonderful experience of faith and [an] enriching experience of religion and spirituality with the rich Catholic tradition,” Father Martin said.
Father Mario is also looking forward to his role assisting Father Martin as Associate Pastor, particularly working within the scope of the Year of the Family by providing faith support to the parish’s many young families.