In the USA, the Diocese of Baton Rouge is mourning the loss of one of its priests who was killed in a car accident. Bishop Michael G. Duca announced on the diocesan website that 62-year-old Father Mark Beard, pastor of St. Helena Catholic Church in Amite, died on 2nd August.
Local media reported that, according to Mississippi Highway Patrol, Father Beard had been travelling south on Interstate 55 near the Louisiana-Mississippi border that afternoon. At approximately 1:24 p.m., his vehicle veered off the road and struck a concrete culvert, overturning just one mile from the state line.
Father Beard had delivered the benedictions at both the first and second inaugurations of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, himself a Catholic, who told local media that “a priest like Father Mark is just opening the door to everlasting life.”
A number of faithful have left tributes to Father Beard on the parish’s Facebook page, describing him as “a true shepherd,” “a great priest” and “a wonderful man of God.”
In what would be his final Sunday homily, posted on 30th July on the parish’s Facebook page, Father Beard stressed the need to wholeheartedly choose Christ rather than accommodating the world and its ways.
Picture: Father Mark Beard in an undated photo. (OSV News photo/St. Helena Catholic Church, Facebook)