And now a story of grace. Last month I attended a priests’ retreat in Poland with three other local priests, among who was Fr. Mark. Our parish was much on my mind when Fr. Mark and I entered the Shrine of Divine Mercy near Cracow. We knelt for 10 minutes to pray beneath the original Divine Mercy image, which is hung above St. Faustina’s relics. Jesus really spoke to me that day, assuring me that the parish was His, and He would take care of it. I prayed the words in Polish written on the image: “Jezu ufam tobie,” "Jesus, I trust in you," and knew everything would be all right. After leaving the chapel, Fr. Mark noticed a call had come in on his cellphone during our prayer. It was the Bishop’s office, and we knew it meant only one thing: he was to be our next pastor.
Fr. Mark Wagner was born in San Francisco on Oct. 1, 1960, the Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. He enjoys just about everything in life, and is one of the most committed priests I know. I leave the parish with every confidence in Fr. Mark’s priestly heart, his desire to be a saint. He’s a fun guy, a dear friend, and an inspiring supporter for my own vocation over the years.