Meet the new provincial. Fr. Mark Francis first met the Viatorians when he attended Saint Viator High School. As a student he enjoyed all the benefits of a Viatorian education, from its rigorous academics, to its rich faith tradition and fine arts activities. Yet, it was the Viatorians themselves — his teachers — who made the lasting impact.
Upon graduating from Saint Viator in 1971, Fr. Francis attended Loyola University where he earned a history degree in 1975. That same year he entered the novitiate and professed his first vows as a Viatorian in 1976. Fr. Francis continued his studies at Catholic Theological Union, where in 1982 earned a Master’s in divinity and a master’s in theology, and was ordained that same year.
After being ordained, he ministered for the next two years at Colegio San Viator in Bogotá, as chaplain and leading its scholarship program. At the same time he served as formation director for the Foundation of Colombia.
In 1984 Fr. Francis went to Rome to study at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of St. Anselm, where he obtained a Pontifical License (1986) and Doctorate (1987). He returned to CTU in 1987 as assistant professor of liturgy and taught there for 12 years, before being promoted to full professor of liturgy in the Spring of 2000.
That same year, Fr. Francis was elected Superior General of the worldwide Viatorian Community. He served two, six-year terms, until 2012, before taking a sabbatical at Santa Clara University.
In the spring of 2013, he was elected President of Catholic Theological Union. Fr. Francis led CTU for the next seven years before stepping down In 2020 and taking a sabbatical.
“Being president of CTU has been a wonderful and life-changing experience,” Fr. Francis said at the time of his election. “I will remain forever grateful to God for the privilege of this ministry. I have often said that I have had three incarnations in this institution: as student, faculty member, and president. CTU has been an integral part of my religious and ministerial life since 1978.”
Midway during his seven year tenure as president of CTU, Fr. Francis was again elected by his confreres to serve in leadership of the community. He was elected to the Provincial Council in 2017 and served in that capacity until November of 2022, when he was elected Provincial.