Mark Piendel


St. Vincent de Paul Seminary
10701 S. Military Trail
Boynton Beach, FL 33436

School: St. Vincent de Paul Seminary
10701 S. Military Trail
Boynton Beach, FL 33436


I was born and raised in Roswell, GA. I attended the Catholic Church of St. Ann in Marietta, GA until college, where I studied at the University of Georgia. Here, I received my Bachelor’s degree in marketing, with a minor in Spanish. I have two older siblings (one in the U.S. Navy, and one in medical school). I am very thankful for my siblings and my parents, who have taught me how to be a man for others.

What are your hobbies and interests?

I have always had a love for the outdoors, manifested specifically in fishing, bow hunting, sports, hiking, camping, etc. I have a deep passion for laughing, smiling, and spending time with people, where I tend to see Christ most clearly. With that said, I enjoy music (playing and listening), board games, and eating some delicious food. Although it is hard to simplify my hobbies and interests, Saint John Paul II said it best when asked in an interview, “When do you get some free time?”… He responded, “All my time is free.”

What is one of your favorite scriptures?

Matthew 6:25-34 is one of my many favorite passages, but especially one I return to in order to call myself to the present moment. To overgeneralize, this passage recounts a few reasons which Jesus gives us not to worry. We waste so much time living in our anxiety of the past or the future and forget to live in the present moment. The devil loves when we live in the hypothetical, while our God lives in the here and now. God is not a hypothetical God, and He is present to us always. So, I love to live in the beauty of now.

Who is your favorite saint and why?

Saint Padre Pio is my favorite saint because of his confidence in the Lord. Despite intense sufferings, rejection, judgment, and more, he relied on Jesus with all he had. Furthermore, he was known to have stigmata, to bilocate, read hearts in confession, and experience serious graces in prayer. The impressive part of this was his humility through all these gifts (and sufferings). He was never afraid to pray extreme prayers for world change, and now he has changed the world. I hope to follow his example with all that God has provided for me.

In a nutshell, what is your vocation story? How did you feel called to the priesthood?

Although always growing up Catholic, personal prayer changed everything for me. The habit of loving God and allowing myself to receive His love during daily, consistent prayer shaped (and still shapes) the lens through which I see life. As I approached the end of my college career and started considering future occupations, the Lord began to bring up very clear signs towards the priesthood, bringing up calls to the priesthood from the past. From the first call of priesthood at the end of a Steubenville Conference, to praying for a physical sign to the priesthood later in college, God showed Himself pointing me towards priesthood quite clearly (at least looking back). Although the miracles of seeing these signs were incredible graces, I knew I was called when God gave me the grace to have His Sacred Heart after I prayed for it in adoration. Upon asking for His Sacred Heart, I suddenly felt the individual struggles and sadness of everyone else in the chapel, accompanied by a deep love for each person. I soon felt God say in my heart, “You can do something about this, you can be my priest.” Although these were not audible words, they are still written on my heart as if they were.

What is seminary life like for you?

Seminary is an incredible blessing. Sometimes when something is a blessing it challenges us, so that we may grow. Just like any other place, it comes with difficulties and great graces, but is SO worth it. Every person here wants you to succeed, enjoy being who you are, and live life to the fullest. If you allow yourself to do so, seminary is a place where life can be lived out with great joy and growth. Although fast-paced, seminary helps to form you on all four dimensions (spiritual, human, intellectual, and pastoral) and beyond, preparing us to serve the people of God with the Fire of the Holy Spirit.

What do you look forward to about being a priest?

I look forward to every part of being a priest, but specifically I look forward to being a true father to all the children of God. There are so many father-wounds (and many others) out there in the world today which I wish to help heal through Jesus Christ. I hope to bring Jesus, the face of hope to His people, and to bring back the secret of Christians – joy! What a joy it is to live for Him and a joy it will be to administer the sacraments and more!

What advice do you have for other guys thinking about the priesthood?

If you have any thoughts that priestly life will not be fulfilling, think again! Allow yourself to actively discern (reach out) versus staying passive (only acting in prayer and thought) in your longing. This life may be one of the most fruitful, romantic, and fulfilling lives anyone could live. God will NEVER lead you the wrong direction, so chances are that if you take a chance on Him in this way, He will lead you right where you need to be. Spoiler alert, it is not up to chance, because God has a specific plan for each of us – it is an invitation to follow, not a command. I have heard too many stories of guys who did not take a step in the water and now regret that. Jesus will never let you fall, and neither will your community.