“Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to
Mark, the evangelist, was a pioneer in Gospel writing. He is the shortest and oldest of the Gospels. As a Saint of Spiritual Mercy, Mark wrote to proclaim the Good News to both the Jewish and Gentile Christian communities. He excelled at instructing the ignorant (those uninformed of the Good News of Jesus Christ). He shares his knowledge about Jesus, reassuring his readers that Jesus understands their difficulties and sufferings, and He will one day invite them to share with Him eternal joy and glory. The Gospel of Mark is a Roman Gospel. It originated in Rome and addresses Western Christianity.
Born in 1
century AD in Cyrene, which is now Libya, Africa, Mark, sometimes called John Mark, was baptized and instructed by St. Peter. He then became Peter’s travel companion and interpreter and wrote the Gospel of Mark. Known as the founder of Christianity in Africa, he became the first bishop of Alexandria. Mark belonged to the “Seventy Disciples.” Jesus sent them out to saturate Judea with the gospel, enabling Mark to continue his acts of instruction.
Coincidentally, St. Mark’s Feast Day is also the same day of the Major Rogation. While no longer required after Vatican II, Rogation Days can still be observed by the faithful. Fasting and penance were required, and the faithful would pray the Litanies on this day. Rogation Days are days set aside to bless the fields and invoke God’s mercy on all of creation.
Mark is symbolized by a lion; he is shown as a figure of courage and monarchy. Legends have been told that he was thrown to the lions and the animals refused to attack or eat him. Instead, the lions slept at his feet while he petted them. When the Romans saw this, they released him, impressed by this sight.
It is written Mark suffered at martyr’s death in 68 AD when he was serving as bishop of Alexandria. His relics were transferred from Alexandria to Venice, where a tomb was erected in St. Mark’s Cathedral.
- Feast Day: April 25; Patron Saint of Notaries
- Five Major shrines have been erected honoring St. Mark
Website: Loyola Press