Fr. Mark Francis with Archbishop George Leo Thomas

Liturgy and inculturation are of particular interest to Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, Provincial. He holds a doctorate in liturgy from the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Sant’Anselmo in Rome, and he also taught liturgy at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago before returning to Rome as Superior General of the Viatorian Community, a position he held for 12 years.

During those years, Fr. Francis also taught liturgical inculturation at Sant’Anselmo. Additionally, Fr. Francis is the author of Liturgy in a Culturally Diverse Community, published by the Diocesan Liturgical Commissions.

Consequently, at last week’s Chrism Day in the Archdiocese of Las Vegas, Fr. Francis was the featured speaker during the gathering that drew pastoral leaders from across the diocese. At the center of their reflection was the day’s theme: “Culture, Liturgy and Evangelization: An On-Going Pastoral Challenge.”

Fr. Francis first encouraged them to reflect on diversity and its role in Catholic social teaching. The second half of the afternoon revolved around promoting interculturality in individual parishes and their liturgies.

Fr. Mark Francis discusses interculturality at Our Lady of Las Vegas Church.

Among those in attendance were Viatorians working in education and faith formation in the diocese. They included Associate Juliann Dwyer, who works in Ministerial Support and Religious Education at St. Thomas More Catholic Community, Br. Carlos Flores, Director of Viatorian Identity at Cristo Rey St. Viator, Associate Rosy Hartz, Faith Formation Director for St. Viator Catholic Community, Associate Kim Martinez, Theology Teacher at Bishop Gorman High School and Fr. Richard Rinn, CSV, Pastor of St. Viator Catholic Community, all in Las Vegas.

But Fr. Francis was featured throughout the day, first in leading the reflection and then at the Chrism Mass that followed. Archbishop George Leo Thomas was the celebrant and Fr. Francis was the guest homilist.

During the Chrism Mass, held at Our Lady of Las Vegas Church, the sacred oils used in various sacraments were blessed and consecrated, including the Chrism Oil, Oil of Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick. Following the Mass, the oils were distributed to the parishes to be used throughout the next year.