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Augustinians honor priest for 50-year friendship

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SAN DIEGO — On receiving an email from Augustinian provincial Father Gary Sanders that he had been formally made an “affiliate” of the Order of St. Augustine, Msgr. Mark Campbell responded, “I am honored and deeply grateful to formally accept this special affiliation with my much-loved Augustinian brothers. Words cannot express my gratitude adequately. I look forward to being with all of you at all of your special gatherings moving forward!”

“Affiliation to the Augustinian Order is a special honor,” says the provincial. “It is granted by the Augustinian Prior General in Rome.”

“Father Mark,” as he is known, has been a friend of the Augustinians in San Diego for over 50 years. He is the first priest of the Diocese of San Diego to be so honored. Father Sanders is quick to point out that while “Father Mark’s affiliation is already official, it is important to understand that Father Mark remains a priest of the Diocese of San Diego and the Augustinians have no jurisdictional  authority over him.”

Nonetheless, his ties with the local Augustinians have been extraordinary.

Father Sanders is delighted to comment that his personal relationship with Father Mark spans 40 years — for 14 years he celebrated weekend Masses at two of the parishes  (Immaculate Conception and Our Mother of Confidence) where Father Mark was pastor.

“Father Mark is a support to all of the Augustinians in the San Diego area,” the provincial said.

An example of this was when Father Adnan Ghani, OSA, was ordained a transitional deacon in San Diego, he asked Father Mark if he could serve his diaconate at his church. Father Mark welcomed him. When Father Ghani was going to be ordained a priest, he asked Father Mark if his first Mass could be celebrated in the same church — Our Mother of Confidence — where Father Mark was pastor.

“Not only did Father Mark welcome him, but he paid for the reception,” said the provincial.

Father Mark was a friend of older Augustinians, as well. When they were retired and too feeble to preside at Mass, Father Mark invited Fathers Harry Neely and Tom Behan to major liturgies even though they physically could not assist.

While Father Mark has been a friend to the Augustinians during his entire San Diego priesthood, the fact that it was the request of two of the youngest brothers that Father Mark be affiliated to the Order is not lost on the provincial.

“Mark has always been a great supporter of the local OSA community as well as  St. Augustine High School in San Diego. Mark Campbell loves and supports the Augustinians. We have a mutual loyalty to him and wholeheartedly celebrate his affiliation to the Augustinians.”

The recognition was celebrated at a private ceremony on St. Augustine’s Day, Aug. 28, at St. Augustine’s Chapel.

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