I am Fr. Mark George SJ, a Jesuit (Society of Jesus). I am 60 years old, and am a member of the Jesuit community at UDMercy in Detroit, and will continue to spend two days a week (midweek) with my community there, while living and working at St. Isidore most of the week, especially weekends of course.
I was born in 1957 in Mishawaka IN, next door to South Bend, and am a graduate of Notre Dame in South Bend. I have been a Jesuit for 30 years, and a priest for 20 years. I have done mostly parish work in Michigan and Ohio, including many jobs in the Detroit Metro Area. Before joining the Jesuits, I taught math and art at Holy Redeemer HS in SW Detroit in the mid-80’s. As a Jesuit priest, I have done three year stints at Our Lady of LaSalette in Berkley and Ss. Peter & Paul in downtown Detroit. Very recently, I have done part time work at three places: St. Paul of Tarsus in Clinton Twnshp, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Pontiac, and St. Mary’s in Monroe. In 2015-2016, I did various ministries with the Jesuits in Beirut, Lebanon. Because my father’s parents were from Lebanon, I am a bi-ritual priest, Roman and Maronite, one of the Eastern Catholic Churches that is well represented here in SE Michigan. (My late mother was of German and Irish ancestry.)
I am an artist. I used to do large oil paintings, in an expressionistic style, with bold colors, focusing on the Passion of Christ. Some of these paintings I am quite proud of. Now, however, I am very excited about a very different artistic direction, which combines my passions for art and geometry. I am doing 3-D designs on spherical surfaces (soccer balls!), and some other designs, such as ornaments, logos, even baseball uniforms—fun and fascinating stuff for me. Because this is something new for me, I have not yet learned how to make finished products for these new designs. I am also into sports. I played football and baseball in my younger days, and have done some coaching, but now I especially enjoy analyzing strategy and rules—as well as appreciating the power and artistry of today’s athletes.
What first attracted me to the Jesuits was the order’s focus, ever since Vatican Council II in the early 60’s, on “a faith that does justice.” Even before joining the Jesuits, I was very involved in Bread for the World, the Christians citizens’ lobby that educates the public and advocates for poor and hungry people here and around the world. I am very excited about our current pope, Pope Francis, not just because he is a fellow Jesuit, but because he embodies what we Jesuits profess to stand for. In a time of great crisis in the Church and the world, he is able to read the “signs of the times,” as Vatican II called for, being honest and realistic about the problems we face. He goes to where people are suffering the most, such as refugee camps, and offers us hope. He speaks about “the joy of the Gospel” and his face shows it! But equally important, he is able to admit when he makes a mistake, and correct his own errors, something that previous popes and current world leaders have not been good at.
I am thrilled to be assigned by the Archdiocese, and by my Jesuit superiors, to St. Isidore. I am eager to work with Fr. Ron and the entire staff. I was able to join the staff for a daylong retreat a couple weeks ago, as well as spend a couple hours at the Strawberry Festival. I am excited about getting to know you all. God bless you! (And pray for me as I begin this new ministry!)