(Editor’s Note: Following is the next installment of the Herald’s monthly series profiling a priest or deacon who is serving in our diocese. This issue, we feature Deacon Mark Griffith, who currently serves at St. Mary’s Cathedral.)
Deacon Mark Griffith hails from Brooklyn, New York, where he went to a Catholic elementary school.
He went to a public high school because he told his parents that he did not want to wear a uniform ever again. That lasted about six years until he started in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) and had to wear a uniform again.
Deacon Mark said there were two great things that happened during his time in AFROTC.
“I earned my commission in the United States Air Force, and more importantly, I met my future wife, Esperanza, on the steps of St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York,” he said.
Deacon Mark and Esperanza were stationed at several places abroad and in the U.S., including Colorado Springs in the early 1990s. They both decided that the city would be their home after their service in the Air Force.
The couple were parishioners at St. Patrick Parish, where Mark met Deacons Dick Brown and Chuck Specht. Both had been Air Force officers and both spoke to Mark about the permanent diaconate. That was where the seed of his vocation was planted.
Near the end of his military career, he was discerning what he wanted to do with his future, and the diaconate kept coming to mind. He spoke with Deacons Dick and Chuck, as well as Fathers Don Brownstein and Brad Noonan.
When the opportunity to attend an information session about the diaconate came around, Deacon Mark and Esperanza attended. He completed the application process and was accepted into the diaconate formation program. Deacon Mark was one of the group of deacons ordained by Bishop Michael Sheridan on May 27, 2006.
Deacon Mark is currently assigned to St. Mary’s Cathedral in Colorado Springs. In addition to assisting at Mass, he prepares couples for the sacrament of matrimony, teaches adult confirmation classes with Esperanza, and is part of the core team for the Colorado Springs Catholic Engaged Encounter group.
He recently joined the St Mary’s Cathedral Conference of the St. Vincent DePaul Society. Deacon Mark said he felt drawn to the Vincentians because “the mission of the Vincentians is very much in line with the mission of deacons, namely to serve those in need.”
When Deacon Mark is not assisting or teaching at St Mary’s Cathedral, he and Esperanza enjoy traveling, reading, and learning new things. While Covid-19 has impacted their travel, both he and Esperanza are hopeful that they will be able to do so in the near future.
When asked what his favorite thing about being a deacon, he replied, “serving the underserved.”
“The Church has a preferential option for the poor, and if you look at our Lord’s life he was born in a manger and he always helped those who were considered outcasts of society. This tells me that serving our neighbors in need is what we are all called to do. I am happy to have been called to serve others as a deacon,” he said.
(Those who feel that they might be called to a vocation as a priest or permanent deacon can contact Father Kyle Ingels at email@example.com or Deacon Chris Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.)