By Elizabeth Lowe
CATONSVILLE – Fellow parishioners are one reason Lynne Blitz has been attending St. Mark for nearly four decades.
“I have so many friends here. You feel like they’re a part of your family,” Blitz said. “People are involved with each other both at St. Mark and separate from St. Mark. I stay here because it’s been my church home for so many years.”
Blitz was one of nearly 300 people who attended the parish’s 125th anniversary Mass March 2.
Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori was the principal celebrant. Other clergy included Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden; Father Christopher J. Whatley, pastor of St. Mark; and Father G. Eugene Nickol, associate pastor.
To view a slideshow of the event, navigate the arrows below.
In his homily, Archbishop Lori said, “How well, dear friends, today’s Scripture readings shed light on your history. It is the history of a community of faith that is alive and growing.”
“The real story is how the faith, planted and tended so carefully, took root in the lives of parishioners, so many parishioners, those who were baptized here, those who received their first Communion, their first penance and their confirmation in this parish,” Archbishop Lori said.
He continued, “Parishioners who found peace and healing in the sacrament of reconciliation and embraced vocations to marriage, priesthood, the diaconate and religious life. Parishioners who have completed their earthly journey, prepared to meet the Lord. Parishioners who continue, day by day, to offer their time and talent for the sake of the bishop of this parish, a spirit of service that characterizes this entire community.”
Throughout his homily, Archbishop Lori thanked those who minister at the parish for their service.
“St. Mark Parish finds the source of its life and its growth in the living God,” Archbishop Lori said. “Through the intercession of St. Mark the Evangelist, may this parish continue to stand as a witness to the Gospel now and for many, many years to come.”
During the Mass, Father Whatley told the congregation “many of you are part of generational families. As the archbishop said in his homily, you are the body of Christ.”
Father Whatley told the Catholic Review “we’re celebrating not just those of us who continue the parish, but the generations before us.”
As a way to celebrate this milestone, the parish intends to use money from the archdiocesan capital campaign to increase the parish school endowment “so more children will be able to receive a Catholic education,” Father Whatley said. “We view the school to be an integral part of the parish.”
St. Mark School has been educating youths since it was established in 1910.
Jennifer Buchness, a lifelong St. Mark parishioner, parish school graduate and member of the anniversary committee, said the school “is a really big part of the parish. It’s very important to us. I can’t imagine Catonsville without a St. Mark School.”
The anniversary is “a good time to look forward to the future of St. Mark’s,” said Buchness, whose husband is a lifelong St. Mark parishioner and three children attend the parish school. “Hopefully it’ll be another 125 years.”
The parish anniversary committee and events have not been finalized.
Copyright (c) March 4, 2013 CatholicReview.org