Marian Helper Spring 2024

Marian Helper • Spring 2024 • 9 Congratulations on becoming Fr. Joseph, MIC. In your nearly 20 years as a Marian priest, did you ever expect this appointment? Honestly, I never once thought about or aspired to be in charge of the Marian Helpers Center. It’s a big responsibility, and one that I just never saw myself fulfilling and thus never lobbied for. So the actual appointment definitely came out of the blue. But, growing up, I never thought about or aspired to become a priest, either. It wasn’t until the priest chaplain at the high school I attended mentioned to me about becoming a priest that I actually began to consider and become attracted to the idea. So I guess there is a little parallel. How did your parishioners react when you told them the news? Initially, they were shocked that I was leaving. Some came up to me afterwards and said, “Congratulations on your promotion!” As a religious, it was funny for me to hear it put like that. Being in charge of the Marian Helpers Center is a big responsibility, for sure. However, I view my appointment as Fr. Joseph as just another way that God is calling me to serve Him. What are your plans as the new Fr. Joseph? In many ways, my overall goal is just to try and continue the good work that Fr. Chris has been doing over the past 10 years. To be able to do this, my immediate plan is simply to learn. I need to deepen my familiarity with how the Marian Helpers Center operates and supports the Association. So I am going to be leaning quite a bit on Fr. Chris and the good employees of the MHC to help me understand the inner workings of the Association and how it is managed. We will be having a strategic planning meeting coming up in March, so I am sure that I will get a greater sense of where we need to focus. Donations are vital to the Marian mission and yet it can be difficult to ask people for money. What is your perspective on fundraising? We have a very generous parish at Our Lady of Peace, so I didn’t have to ask for funds too often. The only time I really did was for the Bishop’s annual appeal. The inspiration I received in preparing for that homily was that the idea of fundraising isn’t so much about asking people for money as it is about giving people an opportunity to be generous in fulfilling a role for the sake of building the Kingdom of Heaven in their hearts. There is no greater activity on earth than the work of God in a soul. By God’s design, however, He calls many different kinds of people to fulfill various kinds of spiritual and material roles so that this work of grace can take place. An important thing to note is that God calls and invites us to be generous. He never forces. If you study the Bible, you will see how God always has Then-Brother Mark participated in a Eucharistic procession at the National Shrine. Father Mark often celebrated Mass at the Pentagon. As Novice Master, Fr. Mark counseled two seminarians: future priests Chris Alar and Thaddaeus Lancton.