We lost a great priest and friend yesterday: Rev. Mark Beard.
He built great things, he did great things, and he gave powerful homilies. He will be remembered as and numbered among those described as “The Priests We Need To Save the Church.” And yes, Lord, he will “be in that number, When the saints go marchin’ in.”
People always ask, “if you had just one last homily to give, what would you say?” Fr. Beard treated every homily like it was his last homily. His last homily is no exception.
Treat it as the last homily you will ever hear …
Here is a collection of the most poignant moments from Fr. Beard’s last homily. “The only thing that matters is your soul … No exceptions!”
Here is the Full Video:
Fr. Beard’s homilies will probably remind you of some of the greats. Does he remind you of the Venerable Fulton Sheen?
Listen to more from him …
Listen to All of Fr. Mark Beard’s Homilies Here
Fr. Mark Beard’s Conversion at Medjugorje
The Blessed Mother marked Fr. Beard as a priest at Medjugorje. It was there that he experienced his conversion. His was a late conversion, now cut short.
Read about it below:
The following is an interview with Fr. Mark Beard, a then- newly ordained priest from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, whose life changed radically on a trip to Medjugorje. His conversion began when he traveled there as an angry skeptic, intending to disprove these visionaries who must have been getting some big money out of the whole deal . . .
In Fr. Beard’s words:
King David went to the hills of Judah and said, “How is it that the Ark of the Covenant came to me?” And he danced for joy. One thousand years later, Mary came to the hills of Judah, where her cousin Elizabeth exclaimed, “How is that the Mother of Our Lord has come to me?” And John the Baptist leapt for joy in Elizabeth’s womb. That’s the Mary I now know—the archetype of our Church, the holy tabernacle that carried God Himself into the world.
But just a few years ago, I did not know Mary. So when I heard that she was appearing in Medjugorje, I didn’t want to believe it. God had sent prophets, disciples, and His only Son! So why would He be sending His mother?
At that time, my father saw me going down a path he feared I would not recover from. I was young, in my 30s, bullet-proof, and liked money, power, and “dating”—the unholy Trinity. I did avoid drugs or alcohol, but that’s because I was too busy chasing women.
My father, a powerhouse of a man, designed water plants for cities and started several companies. He was chairman of the board, and I worked under him in the family business for twenty years, earning a sizable income, flying around the world, and coming home to a nice house, a maid, and a rag-top jeep.
One day, my father said to me, “It seems that Mary’s appearing in Medjugorje. Go check it out.”
“What!?” I thought. We have litigation to deal with, jobs we’re trying to get started overseas, and you’re telling me to travel halfway around the world to check out some visionaries? Yeah, that’s what I’m gonna do. My father has lost it,” I thought. “How am I going to hide this from the shareholders, the board of directors—from my mother?”
Then I talked to my buddy John about what my dad was asking, and he said, “You should get the book, Queen of the Cosmos.” I read the whole thing while standing up in a bookstore. I couldn’t put it down.
I thought, “I’ve got to research who these visionaries are. THE Blessed Mother? I mean really. She’s talking to people on Earth? Come on, now. The whole thing struck me really hard. “Ain’t no way it’s happening. Ain’t no way.”
Yet something Jacov said in that book— about how Mary told him gently that she wasn’t happy with the way he was acting at school—nagged at me. “She’s watching?” I wondered. “She knows? If she’s aware and she knows what we’re doing, that means HE must know. Then I’m accountable for my actions . . . and I might not settle up with Him too well at the end of time!”
I thought Ben Franklin was right: God helps those who help themselves. I did my job. I figured people could worship trees and still do their job, and if they did their job right, then whatever religion they had was good enough, and all that was expected.
I was an obligatory Catholic. I’d show up for Mass, and if the priest didn’t bore me, I’d stay. I figured I hadn’t killed anybody, so I was a good enough person. I confessed my sins directly to God, a forgiving God. No need for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And I didn’t believe in the Real Presence.
So I needed to go across the world to put this animal to bed. I needed to debunk the hubbub. Travel and money were no problem, since I’d been flying around the world for a long time due to business, so I quickly boarded a plane for Medjugorje. I ran into nothing but problems. It started when I got lost. I was supposed to meet up with my pilgrimage group in Paris, but they had already left. Don’t ask me how I ended up in Germany, but when I was there in the airport, I decided to go home. As soon as I stood up to leave, I saw a group of women wearing Mary pins. I knew that face on the pin. It was the face used to portray Mary of Medjugorje, like I’d seen in the Queen of the Cosmos book.
I was not in a good mood on this trip and was “making friends” wherever I went. I figured I made a LOT of money, so I was IMPORTANT, so I deserved to have a BIG chip on my shoulder. The people in this group finally realized I was safe to talk to, and one woman in the group said, “You don’t really believe what’s going on in Medjugorje, do you?”
“Lucifer picks one to make sure there are trials and tribulations.”
“Ma’am, I’m the pick of the litter.”
When I finally arrived in Medjugorje—at midnight, after untold delays, problems, and missed connections—all I had was the name of a person in the town. I didn’t know anyone, didn’t know the language, couldn’t sleep, didn’t have my luggage since it had been lost along the way, and I was there to meet six people who thought they were seeing the Blessed Virgin Mary. I probably could have lit up the entire town with my anxiety.
I sat down with my new “faux” pilgrimage group at the pension where they were staying and started to eat some soup. I wanted to be left alone. Then someone said to me, “You need to sleep down the street.”
“No, I don’t,” I said.
“Yes, you do, really.”
She took me in her car, stopped it several yards from my destination, and pointed to a house.
“Good,” I said, “Just drive your car right to that home.”
“No,” she said, “there are too many potholes.” So I got out of the car, and she took off. It was now 2 a.m. I started to laugh. “CNN would not believe this,” I thought. “Cajun Man from South Louisiana Ends Up Across the World Searching for Visionaries.’”
I walked up to the door of this unknown house and knocked on the door. A woman opened it, and I heard the most magical words: “You must be Mark Beard. Where have you been?”
“Ma’am, we don’t have the time.”
The next person I met was the visionary Vicka. As I stood in the crowd of onlookers watching Vicka give her talk to pilgrims, a woman next to me said, “You don’t believe, do you? You’re like Thomas.”
“I make Thomas look like the rock.”
I had to admit, though, that Vicka glowed. That woman was radiant. She described heaven, purgatory, and hell. I wanted to get the skinny on why she was doing what she was doing. Where was the book deal–the movie–the money? This must be a seven-digit deal, not a three- or four-digit one.
After Vicka’s talk, she said she would pray with everyone two by two. “Great . . . like Noah’s ark,” I thought. I wanted to catch her at her game. I figured she’d cut her losses by not praying over everyone because there wouldn’t be anything in it for her; after praying over a few people, she would have put on enough of a show. To test this, I got out of line and went to the very back. I started timing her as she prayed over each person—one minute, ten seconds; one minute, ten seconds, each time. She took a full hour to do this, and prayed for every single person who was waiting. When it was my turn, I looked at my watch the whole time—one minute, ten seconds.
The woman who’d talked to me earlier asked, “Do you believe now?”
“The jury is still out.”
“You need to meet Ivanka,” she said.
I left and scoured the town, talking to whomever would listen—cab drivers, restaurant owners, pilgrims—trying to punch holes in the charade, but I couldn’t get the goods from anyone about what was “really” going on.
By the time I met Ivanka, I had a plan. I’d memorized an interview of her in Queen of the Cosmos, in which she told the story of Mary appearing and showing her her mother, whom she was able to embrace. At one point in Ivanka’s talk, she asked if there were any questions. I decided to make a statement instead of ask a question: “I’m so sorry to hear about your mom passing away. I can’t even imagine what that must be like.” At this point everyone around me started backing away from me, probably thinking, “This man is going to die from insolence, and we don’t want to die with him.”
Then I started to reiterate what I’d read in the book, but changing slightly a couple facts here and there, and adding a few nuances, trying to catch her in a lie— because if I caught her in a lie, then I would prove that the whole thing was a sham. Coming to a close, I ended my speech with, “I just want to thank you for sharing that with us.”
Ivanka responded, which took several minutes, and then the translator began to speak in English. Ivanka had corrected every misstatement, every false innuendo, every supposition I had made—and she did so like a mother to a child.
“Oh my God,” I thought. “That woman is telling the truth.”
I went to a pay phone and called my father. “Chief,” I said to him, they’re telling the truth. They’re living it. The whole town is living it. If they were lying, they’d be giving up their children’s inheritance, their children’s future . . . because if they were making this all up and someone found out, the whole town would consider them anathema, and they’d be left all alone. The risk is too great. There’s no money. No deal. No women. They’ve got nothing. Only God.
I went to Confession for the first time in years. And toward the end of the trip, I found myself sharing my heart with another pilgrim, an honest, kind, prayerful man–a former Protestant pastor, who had sacrificed a lot to become a Catholic. He said to me spontaneously, “There’s something I need to tell you.”
“If it makes you happy . . .”
“Are you sure you’re not supposed to be a priest?”
Obviously, the story didn’t end there . . .
Fr. Mark Beard’s Last Homily: Transcript
Here’s the transcript of Fr. Mark Beard’s last homily >>
Fence, Fence as in straddling straddling the fence.
You know my friends in Christ, you know what I liked about Philip?
You can say what you want about him, but he is a Catholic. Now, [he] may not be a poster boy for Catholicism at the start, but this is like the 1980s, but later in life I got to tell you still to this day, Philip’s Catholic. That’s what a Big C.
Man, he grew up in uh Schenectady, New York. He’ll tell you that he had a pretty good home life. Initially, he had, uh, three siblings, and he said he loved New York. His mom and dad separated. He’s now got to move. I believe it’s with his mom down to Miami, Florida, so he goes to Miami High School.
Philip would tell you he does two things very well. He is an excellent boxer and somehow another he got wrapped up into a play called The Serpent and he loved it.
The problem is he was far better at boxing 27-3 to be exact as a result of it. Man, he just he gets it. He likes the discipline, when he stays disciplined he stays out of trouble. Well, he’s trying to decide what he wants to do either maybe do more plays but it’s Miami. He gets in a little bit of trouble because he kind of gets away from boxing and as a result of it, Philip just gets … Man, he gets in trouble. He said his sister comes to him, look here’s four hundred dollars. You’re on the next Greyhound out. Don’t look back. Don’t come back. They’re looking for you. You’re guilty. Get to New York. Start your life over.
[skipping ahead to about the 7 minute mark]
You can’t keep walking, straddling the fence. That is the gospel. Not once, not twice, three times, He says the Kingdom of Heaven is this.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, He’s trying to tell you you can’t take it with you. You can’t bury it. You’re either on it or in it or you are not. You can’t play both sides against the middle.
He gives you an example and remember you’re Jewish, so you and I now know that when they use parables there’s always a twist in the parable. Something that doesn’t, uh, it just doesn’t make sense. I mean let’s be honest. You’re walking down a road, you look into a field, and there’s a treasure. You’re walking down the road, nobody’s seen it, but you, and there’s a treasure. You’re so excited. You go bury it. Sell everything you have and buy the field.
The fact that there’s a treasure in the field, and you just didn’t take it and run with it. You buried it and sold everything. Yeah, Brothers in Christ, it doesn’t work. It’s not logical. It’s not reasonable. That’s what he’s saying. You can’t bury this treasure and you can’t take it with you.
He says, well, I’ll give you another example. He said it’s like you find this beautiful pearl. It is so beautiful that you go and sell your house, your car, your camp, your boats, your guns, and you go by The Pearl.
Then you realize, you can’t eat with the pearl, you can’t hunt with a pearl, you can’t fish with the pearl. You can’t buy anything. You can’t be clothed with it. You can’t put a roof over your head. He says you can’t take it with you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, he’s trying to tell people …
It’s like you’re going net fishing on the Sea of Galilee. Now, why is this important to you? Because that’s the only way you can fish on the Sea of Galilee. Today, you can only net fish, and as a result of it, when you throw the net out, you’re going to get good and bad.
I’m telling you this now so that you make sure that you are all in, because if not, I’m going to send my angels and they will separate you. This is why this is important. Because our best players in Scripture are those who are able to delineate whether they’re all in or all out.
You can’t ride the fence, man.
My brothers in Christ, throughout Scripture, the best players are the ones we know very little about. For example, the wealthiest man in all of their day is Lazarus. Christ’s best friend, if you will, is one of the wealthiest men of all. He has two sisters … Mary and Martha.
Now, my brothers in Christ, he’s got vineyards. He’s got grounds. He’s got slaves. He does have property. He does have equipment. He does have caravans. Everybody knows who he is.
But this is what you don’t know about him. He’s got to die twice, so that Christ can be proven. That’s a friend. You got to die twice.
My brothers in Christ, do you know why [Lazarus is] not at the crucifixion, according to the Saints? Because he knows good and well that the the apostles have to have somewhere to go. Do you know why we can’t find Peter, we can’t find James, we can’t find Nathaniel, Bartholomew, Thomas, we can’t find Philip? We can’t find the other Simon? Why? Because they’re all over at his house, because if he’s not there to protect them … but you know what’s amazing he already knew this is what he was going to do,so as a result of it I got to protect the good Lord and he actually conversed
[Jump to about the 7:40 mark]
Our best players know you can’t straddle the fence …
So now here you and I sit 2000 years later. Well, let’s see Brothers in Christ, how good are you at straddling the fence? Or are you all in?
Well, let’s see my brothers and sisters in Christ, when somebody says “are you Christian?” Will you stand up and say, well, “absolutely, I’m Catholic.”
Well, tell me, as a Catholic, are there exceptions to abortion? Like rape and incest?
There are no exceptions. If there had been he would have told me there were. You don’t think they had rape and incest in the time of Christ? You don’t think they had that going on?
My brother in Christ, they’re burning children in the pit they called Gehenna while Christ walked the Earth.
You can’t have it both ways, my brothers and sisters in Christ.
When it comes to abortion, it’s intrinsically evil in and of itself, and the fact of the matter is when people tell you, as Catholics, that … “I’m sorry Father, I’m just not a one-issue person”
Well, that’s a fine [how-do-you-do].
So what you’re telling me is, well father, he’s got a good diplomatic policy. He’s got a good economic policy …
You don’t have a policy! Your policy is to kill children. So you think the good Lord’s going to bless your supply and demand? You believe that your economic policy is going to work after you kill his children?
So when the good Lord asked you, father, Father Mark, where are my children?
My answer is going to be, well you know, I got to tell you, the president had a good economic policy. He’s a pretty good diplomat — for who I have no idea — but he’s a good diplomat.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, that’s the point. All things come through Christ. You can’t pick and choose whether you’re in or out. You’re either in the Church or you are not.
How many times do I hear people make the argument, well father you know we’re just not ready to have children.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, please go back and read Scripture. You are not your not your own. You are not your own. You have been purchased with a great price. Saint Paul to the Romans.
When you start using the pill or some type of contraception, you are putting something between you and your spouse. I told you to go forth into multiply.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, He is the God of economics. If he wants you to be able to support you and your children then he will. For you and I to step in His shoes and tell him that this is how it will be — you’re telling Him, it’s more important how we do it, than how You do it.
You can get upset. You can get mad. You can kick your dog. I’m telling you right now. That’s the teachings of the Church. You got to decide whether you’re in or whether you’re out. You can’t walk the fence, my brothers and sisters in Christ.
this is getting old this is why our country
is starting to fracture remember this it
does not matter to me what Francis says
or does not say
what matters to me is where you land all
I care about is your soul stop worrying
about what he says or doesn’t say stop
worrying about what Joe says or doesn’t
say the only thing that matters is your
soul do you not understand there is no
exceptions when you’re in front of him
there’s no arbitration there’s no
mediation he’s going to say man your
judgment you come in on this day you go
home on this day please for the love of
God remember this the Nano second you
and I die the nanu second before people
walk away from your bed before they
leave to get in their cars
you have already been judged and you’re
either in heaven hell or purgatory
that’s it it’s done
and there’s nothing else to go and it’s
for all eternity I’m trying to tell you
you can’t pick and choose either he’s
The Great I Am or he’s not you can’t go
running both ways you can’t say man I
believe in the church but I don’t I have
exceptions to these rules man do you
understand why you went to the wedding
Decatur he went there to prove to you
that if I had to go there for seven days
then you need to come to my house when
you get married it was so important he’d
be at the wedding decana we don’t even
know the name of the couple and it’s
been 2 000 years so getting married on a
beach getting married at someone’s house
or the backyard in an antebellum home is
not in front of him yes the good Lord is
everywhere but he’s physically president
of the Tabernacle that’s why I say this
is my body which will be given up to you
what I got to get you to understand is
if you don’t understand the faith and
ask the questions you can’t just keep
walking down the middle of the road you
can’t say man father you know I’m I know
because if you don’t most of them are
exclusionary do you know the Beatitudes
do you know the very first one at least
fear of the Lord if you don’t have that
then you won’t make it if I ask you what
are the four pillars of the church would
you know one of them
well brother Christ how can you and I
Proclaim to be Catholic and remember
what Catholic means according to the
whole that if we Gather in one place we
listen to the reading we sing the Psalms
and different from the Jews we break
bread instead of sacrifice a lamb
that’s the definition of Catholic it
became so popular it became Universal
you and I have got to stop apologizing
for being Catholic you need to learn
your faith yes we have let you down no
if ands or buts about it yes we make it
confusing because different priests
speak different ways that is true and
sometimes I’m not sure where Francis is
going that’s a true statement too but it
doesn’t change the fact that you need to
know the truth and I’m gonna tell you I
am not going to stand before him and say
well Lord I would have pitched it but
you know there’s going to be pushback
because now that sins on me I’ve got my
own set my brother and sister Christ I’m
not going to burn for another so it’s
important for me for you to tell you the
truth you can pick and choose what you
want and throw the rest away but
nobody’s going to nail my foot to the
floor telling me man beard you just
didn’t say what was truthful but running
Christ my job is to pitch it whether you
want to catch it or not it’s on you
my job is to make sure you know the
whole truth and nothing but the truth so
help me God
at the end of the day you have got to
get off that fence you have got to plant
your flag my brother in Christ I’m not
saying that you will agree with 100 of
the church teaching but you don’t get to
pick and choose she’s been around for 2
000 years and someday you and I are
going to stand behind in front of you
naked and alone and let me promise you
we will hear one or two words come
Judgment Day man depart from me well
Lord man I proclaimed you to be the
Messiah I hold your money so did Judas
or he’s going to say welcome to my table
God I have waited for you I bragged on
you I told the things about you I said
watch him watch her watch they’re gonna
make the sign of the cross and they’re
going to be beloved and condemned for it
watch he’s going to break out the prayer
of the Hail Mary when everybody starts
to look down
they’re going to say man I’m a one-issue
candidate because that’s all that
matters is life
my brother in Christ I’ll leave you with
the words of Johnny Cash
a great Theologian in his own right
he said if there was a fence Between
Heaven and Hell it would be owned by the
amen thank you thank you
I’d like to thank my family who came
here and stood up in clapped man God
bless you please stand thank you