Fr Mark James, the baptiser
After spending 8 years as provincial of the Dominicans in Southern Africa, based here in Johannesburg, and then a year as novicemaster, Dominican Fr Mark James has been assigned to the study house of the Dominicans in Pietermaritzburg where he will be the bursar.
Towards the end of his term as provincial he completed his Masters Degree on the thesis of the Lay Dominicans in South Africa. He was worked extensively amongst lay Dominicans and has served as their chaplain for several years. He has also travelled extensively in Africa in work related to the Order.
Fr Mark developed a deep interest in the ministry to the deaf and pursued studies at the University of Witwatersrand. He has been the chaplain to the deaf community in Johannesburg – a ministry he loves dearly. He has become very proficient in sign language and is much loved among the community of the deaf. Over the years many deaf people drifted away from the Church due to there not being anyone to care for them. Fr Mark filled that gap and made great inroads into the community. Needless to say, the deaf community is not happy about this transfer but this will not dampen his enthusiasm for work among the deaf and he will no doubt explore this ministry in Pietermaritzburg.
Since his days at university in Johannesburg, Fr Mark has always maintained contact with students of bygone years with whom he regularly met for discussion and reflection on the gospel and life. He is popularly known as “Mark the baptiser” – having married many of his old friends and baptised their children.
Fr Mark is also a keen sportsman (a Chelsea fan!), speaker and a keen jogger. He will now have his beloved Comrades Marathon on his doorstep! He has run this about 8 times.
He will be missed in Johannesburg and warmly welcomed in KZN where he is sorely needed. Sadly he leaves behind a ministry he has practically built up from scratch.