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 published: 2003-10-21

Do Whatever He Tells You

Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan ordained Fr. Mark Niehaus to the priesthood, October 4, 2003

Ordenación del P. Mark J. Niehaus en la Parroquia de San Vicente Pallotti Este

Ordination of Fr. Mark Niehaus, at St. Vincent Pallotti East parish (Holy Cross) in Milwaukee

Priesterweihe von P. Mark J. Niehaus in der Vinzenz-Pallotti-Kirche (Holy Cross) in Milwaukee


El Arzobispo de Milwaukee, Mons. Timothy Dolan, durante la ordenación

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of Milwaukee during the ordination

Erzbischof Timothy Dolan von Milwaukee bei der Weihehandlung


Muchos padres de Schoenstatt, Palottinos, y diocesanos participaron

Many Schoenstatt Fathers, Pallottines, and diocesan priests took part

Viele Schönstattpatres, Pallottiner und Diözesanpriester waren dabei


Primer bendición del neosacerdote

First blessing of the newly ordained priest



P. Mark Niehaus con una familia de Schoenstatt

Fr. Mark Niehaus with a Schoenstatt family

P. Mark Niehaus mit einer Schönstattfamilie


Primera Misa en el Centro Internacional, Waukesha: P. Langsch, P. Mark Niehaus, P. Jonathan Niehaus; Hna Deanne Niehaus.

First Mass in the International Center, Waukesha: Fr. Langsch, Fr. Mark Niehaus, Fr. Jonathan Niehaus; Sr. Deanne Niehaus.

Primizmesse im International Center in Waukesha: P. Langsch, P. Mark Niehaus, P. Jonathan Niehaus; Sr. Deanne Niehaus


Primera Misa: sacerdotes en el altar

First Mass: concelebrating priests

Primizmesse: Konzelebranten


Veronica Niehaus con sus dos hijos-Padres de Schoenstatt

Verónica Niehaus with her two Schoenstatt Fathers-sons

Veronica Niehaus mit ihren beiden Schönstattpatres-Söhnen


P. Mark Niehaus con Juventud Masculina

Fr. Mark Niehaus with Boys' Youth

P. Mark Niehaus mit Mannesjugend

Fotos: Krzmarzick, Jentz © 2003




Milwaukee, WI USA, Marge Fenelon. – "Do whatever he tells you." (Jn 2:5). These simple words of the Blessed Mother are her last words recorded in the New Testament and they permeated the air, as Mark Joseph Niehaus was ordained to the priesthood at 3 p.m. on October 4, 2003 at St. Vincent Pallotti East Parish (Holy Cross, before) in Milwaukee. The church was filled to capacity with family, friends, and representatives from the Schoenstatt Fathers, Pallottines, Jesuits and diocesan priest communities from around the world – some from as far as India, England, Spain and Argentina – who gathered to witness the sacrament conferred by Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan.

 "Mark chose the reading of the Wedding at Cana," said Archbishop Dolan in his homily, "because it draws us to the person of the Blessed Mother. Her last recorded words are important in salvation history. Do whatever he tells you. That is the Blessed Mother at her finest. I hope this will become your mission statement throughout your priesthood, Mark. You will point us to Jesus and you will point Jesus to us." Before the celebration began, the Archbishop visited the Exile Shrine - he did it of his own initiative.

In further remarks, the Archbishop thanked Mark’s mother, Mrs. Veronica Niehaus for giving three of her sons to the Church. Mark’s brother Fr. Jonathan Niehaus, is a Schoenstatt Father. Another brother, Tom, is studying for the diocesan priesthood. Mark’s sister, Deanne, is a Schoenstatt Sister of Mary. He then commended the Schoenstatt Family for its charism of warmth and hospitality. "Every time I’m with the [Schoenstatt] priests, sisters, or lay people with their families, I feel as though I’m in somebody’s kitchen, and that’s a great compliment," he said. "There’s an embrace about you, there’s a bringing people home around the table about you. That charism of Schoenstatt is also your charism for the priesthood, Mark. You’re going to bring us home to Jesus and the Church."

A red rose for the Blessed Mother in gratitude for this vocation

Hearts were filled to overflowing as the ordination proceeded. The chasuble with which he was vested is a gift from the Schoenstatt Family; the chalice with which he was presented belonged to Fr. Carlos Boskamp, a well-loved and respected Schoenstatt Father who died in 1997. As Archbishop Dolan placed the chalice and patten into Mark’s hands, he urged him, "Model your life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross." In thanksgiving for this new member of their community, each of the Schoenstatt Fathers placed a red rose before the Blessed Mother’s picture.

After Holy Communion, Fr. Mark addressed the congregation. He thanked the Archbishop and his family, especially his mother. He also thanked the Schoenstatt Family with the words, "I think there I’ve made my home." Of course, his greatest accolades belonged to the Blessed Mother. Pointing to the MTA picture, he said in his typical good humor, "If there is someone I can blame for the reason why I’m here, it’s the Lady in the picture there."

Archbishop Dolan receiving the first blessing

Before the final blessing and recessional, Archbishop Dolan knelt reverently before Fr. Mark and humbly asked for his blessing. As the blessing concluded and Fr. Mark reached down to help the archbishop back to his feet, Archbishop Dolan took his hands and kissed them. Before exiting the church, the archbishop stopped before the MTA picture and bowed in veneration and gratefulness.

Having been reminded by Fr. Jonathan Niehaus that "the first blessing of a new priest is a very powerful and important gift of God," those in attendance kept Fr. Mark busy giving first blessings for more than two hours after the ordination.

This was a truly joyous event for both the Niehaus and Schoenstatt families. Seventeen priests concelebrated and boys from the Schoenstatt Boys Youth assisted at Holy Mass. Members of the movement decorated the church and Exile Shrine with beautiful flowers, organized details including the celebration dinner, lectored, provided music, and countless other tasks and acts of love.

First Mass on the newly ordained priest in the International Schoenstatt Center 

The jubilation and excitement flowed into the next day as Fr. Mark said his first Holy Mass at the International Schoenstatt Center in Waukesha, concelebrating with the rest of the Schoenstatt Fathers and a few priests who had touched his life in other ways. By the Mass’s 10:30 a.m. starting time, the large chapel in Province House of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary was satiated with people. Again a family event, members of the Niehaus and Schoenstatt families contributed in many ways – assisting at Mass, lectoring, music ministry and others.

In his homily, Fr. Mark told the story of how the Blessed Mother had led him to his vocation. It was not a lightening bolt, he explained, but a slow and continuous process leading him closer and closer to the priesthood, and specifically to the Schoenstatt Fathers. He described the symbolism of his stole, and the way the Blessed Mother led him to this encounter with God, depicted in his personal symbol, the burning bush.

 Once again, Fr. Mark was blessedly detained after Holy Mass by requests for first blessings.

A formal celebration dinner was then held in the Retreat House, which was prepared and served by Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, Schoenstatt Mothers, a Family Federation course, Single Women, members of the Girls’ Youth, and many more…

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