Here is the funeral homily given by Fr. Patrick Rearden, OP on July 10, 2023 at St. Pius V Church in Chicago:
For I reckon that the sufferings we now endure bear no comparison with the splendor, as yet unrevealed, which is in store for us.
There is a common saying "If you know one Dominican you know one Dominican." I think that can be said is the case of Mark Paraday.
Mark was born in Chicago of a large family, His father worked at the old Stock Yards in South Chicago and raised two families. Mark was the second oldest of the first family. Mark attended Kelly High School and worked for two years as a dance instructor and teaching the Gabriel Richard leadership course before entering the Dominicans as a cooperator brother.
He began his Dominican career in Winona, Minnesota in 1952 and made his first profession on September 5, 1953 there (in all Mark was a professed Dominican for 71 years). His first assignment after Novitiate year was in Dubuque, Iowa, where he worked in the laundry and the kitchen. Then after six years in Dubuque he was transferred to St. Pius Priory in Chicago where he also worked in the laundry as well as helped out in the parish.
In 1965 he was assigned to our Bolivian mission where he lived for 41 years. He began his time in Bolivia living in the highlands of Oruro and the capital city of La Paz. Then he was assigned to Cochabamba, Bolivia where he lived for 6 years. His time in Cochabamba began by teaching religion classes in several high schools.In Bolivia at that time religion classes were obligatory once in week from first grade through the last year in high school. Mark also ministered in our youth center with Brother Carlos Griego, OP and a Maryknoll sister and two Sinsinawa Dominican sisters. When in Cochabamba Mark also took advantage of his time teaching the Gabriel Richard leadership course to his high school students as well as to their parents. He also used his time to teach some of his high school boys to dance. His idea was that if a boy (as these were boys from poor families) knew how to dance, it lifted up their self-esteem as they could then go up to a girl at a school dance and ask the girl to dance. I must say though that after a two hour dance practice with 25 or more boys in a closed room, after the boys walked out, the room smelled like the West Side A.C. I had to go in after they were through and open the windows to get rid of the smell. Mark also spent hours in the St. Martin de Porres Center with youth meetings of YCS (Young Christian Students). ln our Dominican Community Mark taught our Bolivian cook to prepare American meals. When we started to take in young Bolivian candidates the meals were made in Bolivian style, always with plenty of chile. I think that Mark and also Tom Lynch could equal or better the Bolivians in the use of chile in their meals.
In 1973 Mark went to live in the St. Juan Macias House in Santa Cruz, which also was our novitiates house. At the same time Mark attended class for three years in our Dominican Pastoral Center in Santa Cruz (known also as the Mansion). Mark also was engaged in pastoral ministry in several of the poorer neighborhoods (barrios on the outskirts of Santa Cruz). This was to later result in his asking for the priesthood ordination.
When the Catholic Charismatic Renewal began in Bolivia in July of 1969 Mark became involved in it both in Cochabamba as well as in Santa Cruz. Working with prayer groups in Santa Cruz he often had weekend retreats. In the course of the retreats people began to request going to confession as well as to conclude the retreat with a Mass. Since Mark could neither hear confess nor celebrate Mass, Mark had to obtain the help of other Dominican priests to assist him. Often times this was not always easy to do, as the Dominican priests were involved in their own pastoral ministry. Seeing the need for Mark's ordination after he completed his studies both in Cochabamba and in Santa Cruz. He was ordained a Dominican priest on his birthday December 11, 1983 at the age of 52. His ordination occurred in the midst of an international Charismatic Conference in Santa Cruz in the presence of over 4,000 Charismatic participants. The ordaining bishop was Bishop Pedro Lira, a Charismatic Bishop from Salta, Argentina (I still remember returning with Mark to Cochabamba after the weekend ordination celebrations). In Mark's first Mass in the St. Martin de Porres Center in Cochabamba, Mark went along quite well with Mass until the final blessing when he gave an episcopal blessing not knowing the difference. I had to explain to him afterwards that a bishop gives a blessing with three crosses and a priest with only one cross. Never did he ever give an episcopal blessing thereafter.
Returning to Cochabamba after his ordination in Santa Cruz, Mark concluded his studies at the Catholic University. In 1987 Mark was elected our Vicar Provincial in Bolivia. He served two terms, the last two years living in the St. Martin de Porres Home for street boys on drugs. I founded this Home in 1990, for boys six to 16 years of age. Fr. Tom Lynch also assisted at the Home on occasion teaching the boys how to play baseball. As far as I know no team members are playing in the USA at the present time. Fr. Jim Spahn, OP built a new Dominican students house outside of Cochabamba in 1998. Mark later became the house superior there for six years until 2006 when he returned to the USA. In the USA he served as associate director of the Shrine of St Jude in Chicago from 2006 to 2010 at which time he retired in our St. Pius V community here in Chicago.
The friars here this morning remember Mark for the contributions he made for our pleasant living here at St. Pius. He got up early to make the coffee or or to go out and buy bread or donuts. He served as sacristan setting up for Mass each day as well as being at community prayers and also to setting up the readings for the daily Mass. In recent years he was unable to do much in the line of service for the homeless.
In conclusion, I ask all of you to remember Mark in the years past when he was a missionary and, later, his contributions to the Saint Pius community when he enjoyed good health. May our Lord Jesus have mercy on Mark and have him always at his side. Amen.