The Rev. Mark Steffl returns to area to serve Holy Redeemer parish

Photo by Jody Isaackson The Rev. Mark Steffl came to Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Marshall June 6 when two other new priests also joined the faith community served by Holy Redeemer and the Catholic churches in Milroy, Tracy and Walnut Grove.

MARSHALL — The Rev. Mark Steffl joined the staff at Holy Redeemer and the surrounding faith communities beginning June 26.

Steffl came from the Church of St. Catherine in Redwood Falls where he served for 13 years. He is also serving St. Michael’s in Milroy and St. Mary’s in Tracy as well as the Church of St. Paul in Walnut Grove.

He was reassigned to his new position by Bishop John M. LeVoir who oversees this region from the New Ulm Diocese.

“When Bishop John LeVoir says ‘This is were you need to go,’ I go,” Steffl said. “He decides to the best of his ability and the resources at his disposal.”

At that point, priests take the opportunity to lighten their load of earthly possessions.

“Whenever we move, we have the opportunity to consider what we really need and don’t need to take with to the new parish,” Steffl said. “We’re sent out with a walking stick and not much more than that, just like the apostles.”

“There is no particular set length of time (in one place),” he said. He was at his previous parish for 13 years, he said.

“Ideally, it’s better to be there some length of time in order to get to know the people’s needs and help fill them.”

The one thing Steffl finds most challenging in moving to a new parish is getting to know the new area and remembering all the new names. In this case, part of the problem is solved.

“I know the area,” he said, having worked at the Church of St. Clotilde in Green Valley and the Church of St. Mary in Cottonwood as well as the Church of St. Mary in Sleepy Eye in the past.

Learning the over 1,000 member names might not be as easy.

Steffl finds serving the Church of the Holy Redeemer rewarding and wants it to grow.

“I’m just doing the best I can to help others get to know the Lord Jesus and develop relationships,” he said, “I know a few people here, having worked in the New Ulm Diocese and in this area before.”

Steffl plans to tackle his new assignment through prayer, receiving sacraments and through the preaching of the Gospel.

“Getting to know the people of the parish is the first step,” he said. “Every parish has a different character, people, background and needs.”

Steffl is also working with the Spanish Masses and Campus Outreach at Southwest Minnesota State University.

In getting to know new parishes, priests run up against traditions or want to try something new. Steffl takes a practical approach to differences of opinion.

“Sometimes things have to be done a certain way,” he said. “Other times, there’s room for flexibility. We need to be open to them and knowing we’re all serving the Lord. When a new priest comes in is a good time to see how differently things can be done.”

Steffl has a degree in accounting from St. Cloud State University. He went to seminary at North American College in Rome, Italy, where he was a classmate of the Rev. Craig Timmerman who has been serving in parishes just northwest of Marshall.

In addition to his training in Rome, Steffl said he had the privilege of having visited the Diocese’s mission in Guatemala.

“It’s always good to see the church all over the world and how they worship in Spanish-speaking churches,” he said.

When asked what inspired him to become a priest, Steffl said, “It’s what God wanted and made known through prayer.

“I just hope to be of use to the Lord and of use to him wherever and in whatever time line he has for me,” Steffl said.