By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
Father Mark Yates, C.PP.S., has been appointed administrator of St. Patrick-Georgetown, St. Peter-Lovilia and St. Patrick-Melrose, upon nomination by C.PP.S. Provincial Director Father Joseph Nassal, C.PP.S. Fr. Yates’ appointment begins July 1.
Fr. Yates, 54, was born in Wichita, Kan., and attended Precious Blood Seminary High School in Liberty, Mo. He then attended Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, but decided not to continue his studies to the priesthood.
“I had been in formation from high school until halfway through my graduate studies, but decided not to enter the priesthood earlier because several men I knew had left the priesthood or brotherhood which caused doubts in my own vocation. I did not want to make a lifetime commitment and then leave; you might say I got cold feet.”
After leaving formation, he worked at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Health Sciences Library for seven years and then for the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (a historic tourist steam railroad) in Chama, N.M., for 13 years. “I went to work for the railroad because I like trains — real ones and model ones.”
While working for the railroad he began as a laborer in the shop and learned to be a fireman (shoveling coal) and a qualified hostler/yard engineer. “Later I acquired the duties of shop clerk, purchasing agent, dispatcher, and shop supervisor.”
During his last two years in Chama, Yates “felt the urgings of the Holy Spirit to return to seek my vocation as a member of the Precious Blood and as a priest.” Those urgings turned into “nagging until I finally responded to them.”
Yates returned to the Precious Blood community and was ordained May 5, 2012. He is a parochial vicar at St. Francis Xavier Parish in St. Joseph, Mo. He served as a deacon at the parish prior to ordination. The parish has 1,064 households.
Father Ron Will, C.PP.S., is pastor of the parish and Father Bill Walter, C.PP.S., is a senior priest in residence there. Both have served in Diocese of Davenport parishes.
“I look forward to serving God’s people in Georgetown, Lovilia and Melrose and ask for your prayers,” Fr. Yates says.