I want to start today’s entry by wishing a very blessed man a very blessed and happy birthday! Happy birthday, Fr. Mark!
I hope he actually gets time to read this blog. I told him about it when he came to our parish festival which was Sunday. I haven’t had time to reflect on Sunday’s readings because quite honestly I feel like my life went to heck in the hand basket over night. (I’ll try to get back to reflecting on the readings, etc. soon.) Monday morning, I went to insert some information into my family’s database of expenses and incomes when I noticed the computer didn’t power on. Well, no matter I suppose it’s just asleep, so I’ll wake it. I also remembered we had a power surge a couple of days back and figured that was it. So I pressed the power button on the tower unit and…nothing happened! 😦 Okay, so that was the start to my miserable day. I’m not going to go into detail about that because today is supposed to be happy! 🙂
As I said today is Fr. Mark’s birthday. I have been blessed to have known him for 15 years! That’s over half my life! 😯 So let me tell you a bit about Fr. Mark from my point of view and how he’s affected my life!
He came to our parish in the summer of 1997 or 1998 (I’m almost certain it was 1997). I had just battled a horrible ordeal (not sharing that ordeal publicly, but just know I was at a very low point in my life). I had practically given up all hope in God and was ready to leave and never return to my faith life! Yeah, it was that bad! Anyway, so he comes in to our parish with this guitar case and full of life and vigor. I remember looking at the guitar one evening for Mass and thinking “This guy is nuts! Is he actually thinking that we will sing with him? And a priest that plays a guitar!? I mean come on! Seriously, this guy is wacko!” I was completely blown away at the fact he got most of the parish singing that night in church. I actually started to feel a bit more relaxed and calm.
I had met him when Steven was serving for the first time and it was Fr. Mark’s first Mass at our church, too. I helped Fr. Mark understand the ins and outs of what was expected and also informed him that he could call me “Christina” now if you recall no one calls me “Christina” except for a very limited number of people. Over time, I told him he could call me “Christy” and thus it’s been for a while now.
Before long, Fr. Mark had become like a brother or an uncle to me. He was someone I could always turn to when I was feeling depressed or neglected, etc. He came to every event for our family. There were graduations, graduation parties, anniversary dinners, birthdays, you name it he was probably there for it. You can imagine then how close we had become or at least in my eyes. Eventually, the news came that he had to be transferred to three new parishes in Kansas City, Kansas. I didn’t want him to leave. I had finally found someone I could talk to and be myself around and now he was leaving.
Well, all in all it’s been a pleasure to know him all these years and I still have fond memories of his Homilies. I love how Fr. Mark can say things that no one else can or even sing songs that make you feel “it’s going to be all right now!” Yes, he sang the Beatles song “Revolution” at our festival. He makes it “all right now!” and it’s wonderful when he’s around. I love how intimate you can be without crossing the line with him. He’s been praying for me and my vocation for a long time now. He’s just a remarkable man and truly been a blessing for me (and I’m sure countless others)!
Happy birthday, Fr. Mark!