Fr. Mark Rutherford - A Conversion Story & Teen Talk - IHM National Conference Notes

Every emotion...

I think I went through them all listening to Fr. Mark Rutherford's talk, The Most Important Talk You Will Never Hear: Cultural Issues Facing Teens at IHM National.

Laughs, tears, chills.

Again, I wish this talk was on video so you could see this beautiful priest's face as it lit up the room with his joy and passion. ALL the talks were influential and formative for my teen/tween, but this one especially is one I bet they'll remember...we'll ALL remember.  So grateful, thank you Seton/IHM.

IHM National Conference - TEEN TALK - 2016
This dynamic, young priest lived a hard life before coming to his faith. He spoke about having too many "mushroom pizzas, " a code word to protect the  younger ears in the audience. He fell into a bad crowd, but he had grandparents who prayed the rosary for him and his brothers every day.  

His grandfather had a vision, in a dream, that he must send the boys to a Steubenville retreat.  He had no idea what this was and looked it up.  By the grace of God they went and there 13 year old Father Rutherford had a "life changing, heart flipping" experience.

When the youth conference priest entered for the end-of-retreat adoration ceremony, lifting high the monstrance in the darkened auditorium and the spotlight illuminated the Blessed Sacrament surrounded by was better than was the weight of glory that brought him to his knees! 

As Jesus passed He flooded this troubled boy's soul. Fr. Rutherford described himself as reduced to a 10-pound diaper of baby and boogers and tears, bawling on the floor. That's how the Youth Conference met him where he was and transformed him.  Later, in confession, he would hear his first call to the priesthood.

He came home, left the school and left behind the bad influences and started homeschooling with Seton! 

Here are some bullet notes from his talk:

*  The words spoken at the Steubenville Youth Conference had reality attached to them.

*  Superheroes in movies, comics and TV fail in relationships.  They fail to use their powers even though the have powers.  They can't carry the world, they are not the Savior of the world.

*  A word that does not build up your heart, bringing peace and calm, is not from God.

*  Recommended the book, Leisure, the Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper.

*  His conversion found him in love with Truth and recommitted to studying, no longer failing at school. Currently in classes for a Canon Law degree, his 5th degree.

*  To parents - primary responsibility is to transmit Jesus through scripture and tradition, to educate, to be teachers of the faith.

*  Be the stream, the current, model to your children.  Let them see you weak and how much you need Jesus.

*  Jesus is the Truth

*  Father's Conversion YouTube Video 

 To hear this talk in its entirety, on and after August 1st  you can find  audio of it HERE, along with other talks from this 2-day Catholic homeschooling/parenting conference.

I hope IHM Conference organizers will consider starting a YouTube channel and creating and sharing videos of their speakers.  I believe it is the next step in reaching out and leading souls to the Catholic faith and homeschooling. 

Fr. Mark Rutherford was born and raised in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and later in Ann Arbor. Fr. Mark grew up in a Catholic home with three brothers. He first heard and discerned a call to the priesthood at age 13 while participating in a Franciscan University of Steubenville Youth Conference in 1997. Growing up he attended both Catholic and public schools, and was homeschooled. He and his three brothers loved and played hockey for a large part of their lives, which for Fr. Mark gave way to sports like wrestling, boxing, and Tae Kwon Do.

From 2001-2005, Fr. Mark attended Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti, Michigan, majoring in both Theology and Philosophy, with a minor in classical languages. He was accepted as a seminarian of the Diocese of Lansing in the summer of 2005, and attended Sacred Heart Major Seminary from 2005-2009, earning the M. Div., S.T.B., and beginning the S.T.L. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Earl Boyea on June 13th, 2009, the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua.

He was then assigned as Parochial Vicar of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Brighton from 2009-2012. In 2012, he was assigned as Parochial Vicar of Church of the Resurrection in Lansing from 2012-2014. In 2014, he is was assigned as Administrator of St. Mary Catholic Church and school in Williamston, and to study for the J.C.L. in Canon Law at Catholic University of America during the summers. He is currently Pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church and school, serves on the Diocese of Lansing Education Board, and in his third year of studies in Canon Law. Hobbies: working out, boxing, mixed martial arts, and movies.


Maureen said...

Thank you Allison! Here is Fr. Mark's conversion story on YouTube. This is from his seminarian days,

Allison said...

Excellent Maureen, thank you! I understand from Draper that you brought this priest to the attention of the conference. What a great recommendation. I added the YOUTUBE link to the blog post.

Additionally, it must be shared that the devil hates this post! I have NEVER experienced such interference. Good things must be destined for its effect. The font kept randomly changing to xxsmall in some area. I tried fixing it 7 times in blogger and finally had to go into the HTML...line by line to correct...not once BUT TWICE! I had the worst headache I've ever had. When tweeting the link, the first time it linked to another article on some other blog! Whaaaaaatttt??

I really want this to be seen widely for that reason and hope people share it!

Patricia said...

I am trying to figure out if this talk is on the recording of the best talks it links to. Do you know?

Anonymous said...

So happy to see the recommendation of Pieper's Leisure! That has been one of the most influential books in my education.

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