Mark Hawbaker

Mark HawbakerParish: St. Pius X Parish, Appleton

Birth Date: November 17

Seminary: Conception Seminary College

Seminary Address:
P.O. Box 502
Conception MO 64433-0502

College I


Patron: St. Augustine

Proclaim the Good News:
Jesus Christ, truly present in the Eucharist, is reaching out to bring you to the Father. Follow the Holy Spirit's guidance!

Tell us about a great experience that you had during the summer of 2016.
The Conception Seminary application was a hurdle that strengthened my belief that I can follow this path because, while working full-time, I got done in 3 months what usually takes a lot longer. As people found out that I had a strong Catholic faith and the reason I was leaving the area, they would ask me for prayers. Some wanted explanations about Catholic teaching! June evenings I had lots of fun stage-managing the Riverside Players' play, working with many people who have done theater with me for years. During May/June my dad and I hand-built raised beds in the kitchen garden.

When did your commitment to the Catholic Faith grow deeper?
I went on a Steubenville Youth Conference before my sophomore year in high school. That is a trip that needs to be experienced to be fully understood. It definitely brought me into a closer relationship with the Eucharist, which is at the center of our Faith. Following that, my preparation for Confirmation was an important time during which I questioned many of the Church's teachings with my sponsor in order to gain a deeper understanding. Questions are important, but you must be able to accept the answer, even if you continue searching. Many of the saints talk about growing to understand our rituals or practices only over the course of time with insights and revelations from God.

There is nothing like being in the world with Catholics and non-Catholics who question things about Catholicism because they want to understand. After high school, while I was in college and then working in the world, I had occasions when I was confronted by a variety of people who were seeking the truth. Whether they knew it or not, that is what caused them to ask me questions about my Catholic faith, to which I would always provide the best answer I had, and sometimes that was "I don’t know; have to look that up." This helped my commitment to the faith of my upbringing.

Offer us a few words about one Gift of the Holy Spirit and how it has helped you.
The gift of Understanding has been a vital instrument in forming who I am. Since a young age, I have loved observing the world. I wanted to know the back story to everything, but was too shy to ask. "With patience comes understanding." One who wishes to understand another must listen to the entire argument. God has given me the great gift of understanding, which till now helped me find connections to others. Now I will use my understanding to help me not only gain wisdom and the other gifts, but also see how the gifts are connected, and bring that to other people.

Share an interesting fact about your high school years.
I was involved in almost every theater production in high school. I also concocted interesting mixed groups for solo/ensemble, even arranging approved music.

Other than prayer, what is your fuel?
In the morning it is good ole black coffee. Then it is Door County cherry coffee for a taste of home. The rest of the day it is loose-leaf tea, preferably Door County cherry or chai.

As a priest, God willing, where would you most like to celebrate the Holy Mass?
St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Greenville, WI, because my grandparents belong there, my parents were married there, I was baptized there, and I would love to celebrate in the beautiful new building that I hope they get to build.

Which saint should people ask to intercede for your vocation?
St. Augustine because his vocation process inspired me to pursue seminary. I also love his charismatic zeal that accompanies his teachings, which I long to learn to put to use beyond myself, and to not lose that feeling within me.