Former Ranchos resident takes new vocation |

Former Ranchos resident takes new vocation

Record Courier Staff Reports

Former Ranchos resident Mark Hanifan will be ordained a Catholic priest at St. Teresa of Avila Church in Carson City on June 2. His ordination into the priesthood follows an extensive educational background which culminated in a seven-year program at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif.

His father, Phil Hanifan, shared that his son attended Meneley Elementary School, Carson Valley Middle School and Douglas High School before taking a year off to pursue other interests. He graduated college as a civil engineer and worked in that field for about a year before he became interested theology.

“Mark called me late one night and was very excited,” Phil Hanifan said.

Phil said Mark had attended a church service and was inspired so much by the sermon that he felt compelled to seek out the priesthood.

“I just kept thinking, ‘Mark, is this really you?'” said Phil.

It took about a year of research and inquiry before Mark was formally accepted in the program due to the innumerable evaluations and screening processes one must go through in order to be accepted into the seminary. There are a total of 10 men in Mark’s particular program, most of whom were called to serve later in life.

Last November 4, a date that coincided with his birthday, Mark was ordained as a transitional deacon for the Catholic Church. He will serve in this capacity at St. Patrick’s until mid-May, and then will be fully ordained into the priesthood in June.

As a deacon, Mark is able to assist the priest during Mass, give sermons, counsel parishioners, and also perform baptisms. A highlight for him was to perform the baptism of his brother’s daughter, Emily, at Christmastime last year.

After he is ordained a priest, Mark will be assigned to one of the 28 parishes throughout Northern Nevada, as determined by the Reno Diocese. Once placed, he will work in conjunction with an experienced pastor for approximately three years before moving on to another parish.

Mark will have about a month of free time between his ordination and parish assignment, and plans to go to Ireland with his father and brother, Robert. His grandparents emigrated from Ireland and many distant relatives are still there. The trio looks forward to visiting family, seeing the beautiful countryside and spending time together before Mark goes forth into his new career.

— Amy Roby can be reached by e-mail at