May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed,
Rest in peace.
A Tribute to the Original Founder of A.C.T.S.
Founded in 1966
A story that was related to me involved a parish gathering to discuss the education in the "Catholic" school, run by the parish. Francis asked something about "Guardian Angels," and the priest responded, "And Frank, would you have us next teaching them about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy?" Needless to say, that was the last parish meeting the Marks family attended.
The Marks began attending the Ukranian Catholic Church (an Eastern Rite in union with Rome), and did so for many years - in fact my wife and I were married in the Ukranian Catholic Church in Phoenix (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary).
Francis was very instrumental in my conversion. We used to sit across from each other at his kitchen table and debate, and sometimes (actually, more often than not) the debate would get quite heated. I am not one who backs down easily from a position I am holding, I will defend it till I am absolutely proven wrong. I had the audacity to tell Francis HE was wrong! (Any family members, or others who knew Francis that are reading this,knows what that results in!) Let's just say I raised Francis' blood pressure a notch or two on many occasions. Well, for seven years I fought the Church. I raised about every question I, as a Protestant (Lutheran upbringing) could think of, but Francis always had an answer. I can honestly say that I don't recall even once that he said, "I'm not sure, let me get back to you on that one." He always could answer or knew exactly where to look for a source to support him.
My biggest stumbling block was Mary. I couldn't see the Catholic side of how she has been and is used in the Church. I had heard of the Memorare, (a prayer to Mary asking her help, and that anyone who sought her assistance, it would be granted - click here to see the whole prayer). I didn't know how to pray the Memorare, so I just made up my own version. I said, "Mary, if you are what the Catholic Church says you are, and your role is what they say it is, show me somehow." Keep in mind, I am still a Protestant at this time, so I followed up that prayer real quickly with: "Jesus, if I have offended you in any way by praying to Mary, then please forgive me." I then went to sleep, and didn't really give the prayer another thought.
Well, about a week later (by this time I had all but forgotten about the prayer to Mary) I woke up in the middle of the night, actually about 2am. I couldn't get to sleep. So I went into the living room and turned on the TV. The movie, Song of Bernadette came on. I had never seen it before. Well, I was mesmerized. Mind you, this is a rather LONG movie and I had to be up for work by 6am, but I could not stop watching this movie. It is the story of Our Lady of Lourdes - and as I was watching, I was thinking about how the Lord has performed GREAT miracles that are even recorded in secular media (Fatima too), and were confirmed by secular officials (doctors verifying miraculous or "unexplainable" cures). These things were happening through the Catholic Church and through Mary! Well, about another week went by, I kept thinking about this movie and the miracles - and how I had heard of these things even before becoming involved with Catholics. It was remarkable, you just don't hear about such things happening in Protestantism. Then it hit me! THIS was my answer from Mary! I had asked to be shown, and she found a way to show me!
Within a day or two of this revelation, I went back to Francis and met with him in our "usual spot." I had not told him about the events of the last couple weeks (my prayer, the movie, the revelation) I told him that I wanted to convert. Well, he about fell out of his chair! After several weeks of counselling with his priest, I was accepted into the Roman Catholic Church on July 1, 1988. Francis was my Godfather/sponsor.
To challenge my convictions I began "debating" local Protestant apologists on Bible Foundation BBS (bulletin board system - the precursor to Internet. This is where I ran into James White for the first time. \ (One of my thoughts back then was, "if I made a mistake in becoming a Catholic, James White should be able to show me why it is wrong and 'pull me out.'" Well, that never happened. In fact, I was now finding that every question that James threw at me, I could find an answer for - or - I could ask my Godfather, Francis, and he had the answer.
I became so involved with apologetics that in 1989, I was forming an email list and my own BBS (a subboard on the All Nite Cafe BBS in Phoenix, run by Mike Middleton) devoted to Catholic Apologetics. I needed a good name for the list and Francis said, "how about Acts?" He explained it was the acronym he started back in the 60's and I loved it, so ACTS was reborn in the electronic medium. Shortly after ACTS' new beginning, I attained an "echo number" through CIN (Mike and Sharon Mollerus) and ACTS became a nationwide "echo" and the 'A' was changed from "Arizona" to "American." Since that time we've branched out into online debates on the Internet, more email lists and the #CathApol IRC live chat channel.
I am eternally grateful to Francis, my Godfather, father-in-law, and good friend. Francis passed on on May 6, 1995. As you can probably figure out from the picture to the right, he was into HAM radio a lot, I hope he's still communicating on this new plane - helping others, as he was always willing to do while he walked this earth. The picture on top is Francis and his wife Mary, whom all in the family would agree, is a saint in her own right.
Lord, grant him eternal peace.