Marian Helper Spring 2024

10 Marian Helper • Spring 2024 • called and invited people to use their talents and resources to help support the work He wants to accomplish. We see this with Jesus, who also relied on the goodness of various supporters to supply for His mission/ministry while on earth (see Lk 8:1-3). The Gospel of John tells us that Judas was put in charge of the money box, which shows that Jesus and His disciples also took in donations for the sake of the ministry. The bottom line is that the Church needs material resources to help her fulfill her mission of evangelizing and forming disciples. It is a great privilege to be able to participate in supporting this ministry. What is the value of being a Marian Helper? I can answer this in two ways. First, the Association is a way that our Lord inspires and calls people to participate in His work of saving souls through our Marian charism and mission. I would like all of our Marian Helpers who give support to our mission, in any manner, to consider the great work God accomplishes in people’s hearts through our tiny Congregation, and then realize this doesn’t happen without you. I hope this brings you immense consolation and joy. Secondly, I want our Marian Helpers to recognize that in your acts of generosity toward the Marian Fathers, God is blessing and changing your own heart, too. This is not only through the spiritual benefits that come to you by being a part of the Association. Your heart is also being transformed through the very works of mercy that God allows and calls you to perform for the sake of souls through your support of our mission. When you do good, you become good, and that reality brings us to the very heart of happiness. Happiness is of immense value because it is what we all desire. The National Eucharistic Revival is under way across the country. How did you encourage devotion to the Real Presence during your time at Our Lady of Peace? I love this question. Many of us priests and lay evangelists recognize it is hard for people to really be set on fire for God without first personally encountering Him in some way. I know this was the case for me, and the encounter I had took place via a special moment I had before the Eucharist when I was in my mid-20s. For this reason, I had a passion while I served in the parish to create opportunities for people to experience Jesus through His Eucharistic Presence. I primarily did this by organizing a prayer event for the parish called “Eucharistic Encounter.” This was held about six times a year, and involved utilizing song and short reflections to dispose hearts to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist. I also made it a point to introduce children in our school and religious education to Eucharistic Adoration. It was always a special moment for me to bring the kids before Jesus and to hear them witness to how they were affected by His Presence. Who was a big influence on your priesthood? Outside the Marians, I would say Catholic personalities such as Pope St. John Paul II; Fr. Michael Scanlan, TOR; Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR; and Dr. Scott Hahn. I would also include my spiritual director and the teachers at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., who introduced me to the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas and challenged me to become a more critical thinker. Within the Marians, I would single out the late Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, insofar as he was such a pioneer in the promotion of the Divine Mercy message and devotion that would have a profound impact on the way I saw Jesus, myself, and the Church. Do you have any hobbies? Growing up in Kentucky, I had a great passion for both playing and watching sports, especially college basketball and football. I still like to follow most sports, but the only sport that I really play right now is golf, which I enjoy quite a bit. Are you related to Bishop Robert Barron? Ha! I get that question all the time. No, I am not. He has an extra “r” in his last name. Besides, I don’t think I am smart enough to be related to him! Father Mark was a fixture at the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C.