Jesuit Father Mark J. Link died on Jan. 18, 2017, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 92 years old, a Jesuit for 66 years, and a priest for 56 years.
Fr. Link was born on April 21, 1924, in Coldwater, Ohio. He entered the Society of Jesus on September 2, 1950, at Milford Novitiate in Milford, Ohio. He was ordained a priest on June 12, 1960, at West Baden College in Indiana. He professed final vows on February 2, 1977, at Canisius House in Evanston, Illinois.
Before entering the Society of Jesus, Fr. Link obtained a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Cincinnati in 1950. While in the Society, Fr. Link earned licentiate degrees in philosophy (1956) and sacred theology (1961) from West Baden College. He earned a diploma in catechetics from Lumen Vitae in Brussels, Belgium (1963).
Throughout his Jesuit life, Fr. Link was a writer and teacher. During his regency he taught English and algebra at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School (1956–57). He was an author in residence at Loyola Press (1963–67), and he taught religion at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago (1967–80) and theology at Loyola University Chicago (1980–83). Fr. Link worked at the Catholic Community of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Plano, Texas (1983–89), before directing his energies to full-time writing from 1990 to 2001. From 2001 to 2005, Fr. Link did retreat ministry at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, Illinois. He then moved to Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Missouri, and worked on the development and implementation of the website www.StayGreat.com (2005–07). From 2007 to 2010, Fr. Link was an author in residence at Loyola University Chicago. In 2010, he moved to Colombiere, where he continued writing until his death.
Fr. Link wrote for both the young and the old. He authored books for young people such as Path Through Scripture, Path Through Catholicism, and The New Catholic Vision. The “2000” Series, which includes Challenge, Vision, Mission, Action, Bible, and Psalms, helped older people incorporate the daily Mass readings into their ongoing prayer. In Praying the Way Jesus Prayed, Fr. Link used Jesus’ example as a model to explain how individuals can pray in a richer and deeper way.
In the 2000s, when Fr. Link was in his 70s, he decided to focus his writing efforts on helping young people to pray. He realized that times had changed and that the Internet was a more effective medium than books, so he created www.StayGreat.com, a website which inspires young people to achieve their full human and spiritual potential.