Tuesday, April 25, 2023, is the Feast of St. Mark, the Evangelist, Patron Saint of the Diocese of Venice in Florida!
St. Mark was chosen as a Patron Saint of the Diocese because of the connection between Venice, Florida, and Venice, Italy, where St. Mark is also the Patron Saint of the city. The magnificent St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice is dedicated to him and is the home of his relics.
St. Mark the Evangelist was one of the 70 Disciples sent out by Christ (Luke 10:1), and one of only four Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). The four Evangelists are depicted beautifully on the walls of the Diocese’s Epiphany Cathedral in wood relief: St. Mark’s depiction carries a relic of St. Mark inside it, a gift of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice to the Cathedral!
It is known that St. Mark authored the Second Gospel and was a disciple of St. Peter. We read in the Opening Prayer of the Mass that God “gave St. Mark the privilege of proclaiming your gospel,” and traditionally St. Mark is considered to be the interpreter and mouthpiece of St. Peter. St. Mark was likely baptized by St. Peter, as St. Peter refers to St. Mark as “my son” (1 Peter 5:13).
Following His Resurrection, Jesus appeared at the home of St. Mark where the disciples were gathered (John 20), and the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples at Pentecost in the same house. Many depictions of St. Mark show him as a man with a book or scroll, accompanied by a winged lion. The lion is often associated with Jesus’ Resurrection, because lions were believed to sleep with open eyes, thus a comparison to Christ in his tomb.
The Gospel of St. Mark was written not only to give historical documentation concerning the life of Christ, but also to urge the followers of Christ to be so committed to Him that they would be willing to lay down their life for the sake of the good news (Mark 8:35-38).
St. Mark, through the grace of God our Father, became a great Evangelist, preaching the good news of Christ. May St. Mark continue to help us to know Him well so that we may faithfully live our lives as followers of Christ, our Lord.