Fr. Mark Salas: priesthood has always been his calling
By ROSARIO SALGADO HALPERN and ROBERT HALPERN
ALPINE – Some people seem to have been born knowing what they want to do with their lives. Father Mark Salas, the new priest at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Alpine, is one of them.
“Ever since I was four years old, I wanted to be a priest,” he said. “I always played a priest and eventually became one.”
Father Mark will be assisting Father Mike Alcuino and Deacon Paul Lister. The three men will rotate with duties at parishes in Alpine, Fort Davis, Marathon and Big Bend National Park and on occasion will help in Marfa.
“Fr. Mark is a big help for the ministries here in the three communities of Alpine, Fort Davis and Marathon,” Father Mike said this week. “Young as he is, I hope I can be of an assistance to him for his future assignment as a pastor.”
After been ordained at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in El Paso in 2011, Salas served as parochial vicar at Holy Trinity and St. Mark’s Catholic Churches in El Paso before been assigned as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Peace in Alpine this January.
The 30-year-old priest was born in Louisiana but raised in El Paso. His mother, Maria Guadalupe Moncayo, lives in El Paso.
His educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Philosophy from the University of Texas at El Paso; a Master of Divinity an M A in Theology, and Sacred Theology Baccalaureate from Saint Mary’s Seminary Houston and University of St. Thomas Houston.
Father Mark asked to be assigned to the Alpine church.
“I visited Fort Davis, this area and drove by Alpine,” he said during an interview last week.
“When I asked for a transfer, I asked for West Texas and Alpine. I like the fact that there is a Newman Center at the University (Sul Ross), culture, and a beautiful environment.”
He says he likes the rural setting which reminds him of his childhood visits to his grandmother’s home in Chihuahua City. He said her place at that time was a ranch with cows, chickens, fresh eggs for breakfast and all that goes with living in a ranch.
“For me, this is a very nostalgic setting, reminds me of being out in the field.”
He added that he looks forward to working with students at the Newman Center.
“There is so much energy, so many hopes, as a college student you make life choices for the rest of your life. To be around people cementing those foundations, I find it very energetic.”
Newman Centers or Newman Clubs are Catholic ministry centers at non-Catholic universities found throughout the world.
When asked how his short stay in Alpine has been, he said, “Its been excellent being here.”
He said he enjoys reading, writing, teaching, lecturing, and cooking.
“Cooking is a challenging way to bring various ingredients and techniques together to provide meals for friends,” he writes in his resumé.
“Walking provides the time and pace to be able to clear the mind and organize thoughts while enjoying the land.
Teaching provides the forum to share ideas and inspire others with thoughts that others have shared with me.
Reading and writing allows for understanding and articulating new concepts and reframing current ones.
The Fine Arts always inspire the emotions through movement, drama, color and rhythm.”
Welcome to Far West Texas Father Mark.