Priest feels welcomed in New Baltimore Parish
In the footsteps of Pope John Paul II and St. Faustina Kowalska this summer, Fr. Mark Pattock took a pilgrimage to Poland with two other priests to pray at several holy sites. While pilgrimages can be hard to begin with, the three priests had problems right after touching down.
“We lost all of our luggage,” he said. “So from one day to the next we didn’t know how things were going to go too cause we didn’t make a lot of plans, we just sort of went and trusted.”
While their luggage finally returned, Pattock said the goal of every pilgrimage to put God at the center of the journey. It’s not a vacation, as those on a pilgrimage can choose to sleep on cement floors, have cold showers and travel in different places in adverse weather conditions.
“You offer up all the hardships for other people as you go and you travel,” he said. “It’s a journey of love.”
Pattock’s journey of faith brought him to Somerset County in July, where he is now the new pastor of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in New Baltimore.
Pattock describes his vocational journey to priesthood as “many-sided,” but said it’s the joy in working for God in the ways of St. Francis of Assisi that keeps him going.
“As I began to follow the Lord, the joy kept happening,” he said. “So it felt like the right thing to do.”
Part of the Capuchin Franciscan Friars for 18 years, Pattock served in two parishes in Butler County before coming to Somerset County. Pattock said the orders’ goal is to come among the people as brothers, and encourage others who need spiritual direction to talk to them about the order.
“We want to serve and to help, and to be a healing presence for people whatever they are going through,” he said.
A life of service has taken Pattock throughout the east coast, working in parishes in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C.
“I’ve always tried to find the good in every city I’ve lived,” he said.
A self taught artist and dulcimer musician, Pattock said he’s in the best place to do one of his favorite activities: hiking.
“I like the mountains myself so its the perfect place to be,” he said.
Pattock said the congregation at his parish is like a family, and hopes to make the parish a place where everyone wants to come to grow in their spirituality.
“People are close to nature here,” he said. “Everybody knows everybody, and they’re friendly and welcoming.”