Father Mark Matthias, 51, was inspired by St. Augustine’s words, “Late did I love thee, Oh Lord.”
Like St. Augustine, Father Matthias discovered God’s plan after life took in him different directions.
“Late did I understand the importance of Christ in our lives,” he said. “Once I discovered what Christ was referring to in the Gospel, I realized that I have found that pearl of great value, what is most important.”
Born in Camden, N.J., Father Matthias is the only son of John and Jacqueline Myslinski. He changed his last name when he worked in the entertainment industry during his youth.
After graduating from high school, he went to college at Glassboro State College, now Rowan University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications. He then worked as a reporter at a radio station and a weather forecaster for a local cable station in Southern Jersey.
Eventually, he became a news director but switched careers because he didn’t want to continue reporting on people’s tragedies. This led him to work in graphic design.
In the 1990s, he moved to New York to go back to broadcasting and entertainment while pursuing an acting career. He studied acting, did theater and student films.
Five years later, he moved to California. He worked in Hollywood for more than eight years before returning to the East Coast to settle down and be near his family in 2003.
Sparked His Vocation
While working as a creative service manager at JP Morgan Chase, he became a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Church, Astoria. He became a catechist and lector at the parish. His volunteer work showed him that he enjoyed working for the Church the most, which gradually sparked his vocation.
“I still had plans of getting married and having a family. After I broke up my relationship – I was engaged to be married – I started thinking seriously about the rest of my life,” he said. “So, it finally dawned on me what I could do to help the Church the most: to answer the need for priests.”
Although the priesthood had crossed his mind before, he always assumed he would have children.
“But I realized that a priest truly is a family man, a spiritual father,” Father Matthias said.
He found the joy of the priesthood while seeing others mature in their faith.
“Helping people who don’t quite understand the Gospel to realize ‘Oh, that is what Jesus is talking about,’ and become more committed in their relationship with Christ … I just can’t think of anything else that provides more joy,” he said.
He studied philosophy at the Cathedral House of Formation, Douglaston, before going to Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass., a seminary for men between 30 and 60 years of age. He graduated with a master’s in divinity.
He said that seeing men who had gone through different paths in life before deciding to serve God was comforting.
Not Too Old
“Many of us thought we were too old and were very happy to learn that there are places where men could go to become priests,” he said.
His commitment to serve God grew during his summer assignments at St. Matthias, Ridgewood, and St. Bartholomew Church, Elmhurst.
He served as a deacon at St. Stephen Church in Framingham, Mass., and is currently serving at St. Patrick’s Church in Bay Ridge.
Now, Father Matthias looks forward to teaching others about God and sharing the treasure he found, “the importance of a relationship with Christ.”
Father Matthias will offer his first Mass of thanksgiving at St. Patrick Church, on Saturday, June 27, at 5 p.m.