Mad for…Mark

Love is the most beautiful sentiment the Lord has put into the soul of men and women. -St. Gianna Molla

This weekend, a faithful, passionate friend of mine, Mark Volpe, is celebrating his 60th birthday! As you can see from the photo above, Mark has been galavanting a little in the south, celebrating with “Bourbon and Basketball” as his wife Karen noted. Alongside him on this little adventure are some of the finest humans I know– his incredible wife, Karen, his daughter, Samantha, and sons WillIam and Mitchell!

Like Boilermakers everywhere, Mark undoubtedly is suffering from a little broken heart this morning. The Volpes had excellent seats at the YUM Center in Louisville last night for what truly was an epic Elite 8 game, but it didn’t end how we in the black and gold had hoped. Mark’s a Cleveland Browns fan, though, so he knows how to handle sports disappointment…ha?!

Mark is an Italian guy, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s warm and compassionate. Over the course of his long marriage, I have often thought of this quote by St. John Paul II where the iconic saint spoke of the role of men in this world. He said this, “God has assigned as a duty to every man the dignity of every woman.” To be completely honest, I don’t think I know a single man who has lived up to that ideal better than Mark Volpe. Not only has he done that by loving his daughter, Sam, with fierceness, but he’s been extraordinary as a partner to Karen in her long and torturous battle with cancer. God loves the way he keeps going, stays positive, and so do I!

There’s a lot in his life that I know has not gone according to his plan, but Mark has held on through it all with belief and trust in the Lord. Somehow, some way…

Mark is a guy’s guy. He’s a sports lover. He’s also filled with integrity through and through. His witness about what a character-filled man looks like is truly beyond my ability to describe here, but it’s certainly not a thing that has been missed by his two absolutely incredible sons or his sunny, terrific daughter. That’s obvious. They are three very blessed young adults– bright and capable– because of the witness of their parents. Few children have been given a Dad of this caliber who loves with all he’s got.

As Mark starts his 6th decade on this earth, I wanted to just take a breath and say a prayer of thanksgiving for Mark Volpe. His witness in my life is a powerful one, because in times of joy and times of struggle, Mark looks to the Lord and trusts Him with the journey. Thanks for showing me the way, Mark. It’s beautiful– just like YOU, my dear friend! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!