Rev. Francis L. Markey
Francis L. Markey was ordained a priest in 1937. In his occasional musings entitled, Reveries and Recollections, he states, soon after his ordination an “Archbishop targeted me as a reserve army chaplain.” He interned in the Civilian Conservation Corp (C.C.C.) – a program established in 1933 and jointly overseen by the Army and the US Interior Department. The C.C.C. was designed to “douse unemployment among young Americans, and a try at directing idle youth towards refurbishing a mean outdoor.” He notes many of those in the ranks had limited education and opportunity. The C.C.C. provided structure, housing, the ability to complete education, and pay. In short, dignity.
As WWII broke out, the C.C.C. was disbanded and those in the military were assigned to train servicemen for deployment. He remarks, “I can still recall – with deep-etched composure – the first fighter-pilots to whom I was assigned. They were all young, ranging around twenty-five. Almost to a man, they died within six months of action.” Against this backdrop he continued to serve his country and his church. He served as chaplain assigned to the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific campaign. While serving in the Galapagos he extended his ministerial work to Ecuador and Panama. His work focused on developing strong relationship ties, both through the church and with the local government, with the peoples of the Latin countries and the United States. Building relationship was a consistent theme and demonstrated through his direct service and in a 1943 letter of appreciation from the US Navy Chief of Chaplains.
Fr. Markey had a varied career. In addition to 28 years of military service as a chaplain, he was the Baltimore Review's long-term editor and business manager. In transitioning to California, he helped establish a successful church presence in the newly formed Diocese of Monterey, and as a parish pastor oversaw the building of a school, a chapel in the Santa Cruz mountains, and was named the inaugural pastor of Resurrection Parish, in Aptos, California. Upon retirement he continued writing as a columnist for two local papers, where he discussed topical issues incorporating the importance of moral decision-making and faith in everyday actions.
While his writings demonstrate deep support of the importance for structure, as he began his pastorate Vatican II was unfolding. Years of accompanying and serving people helped him to recognize the power and potential to raise persons with full, active, and conscious embodiment of their Catholic faith. His homilies speak to the richness of his understanding of human conditions and challenges in light of the gospel and the duty of all to be informed. Articles from his parish bulletin, also included in the archives at SCU, chronicle the creative ways he introduced his community into an awareness and appreciation of the gifts coming out of the Second Vatican Council. He joined civic service clubs and championed interfaith dialogue and understanding. His August 10, 1969 homily ends with, “we have to begin…each one of us…by listening to each other.” He continues, “No man [sic] in the world - whoever and wherever he may be, - profits from pre-conceived, self-assured answers.”
Fr. Markey's writings and homilies can be found online in the Santa Clara University Archives and Collections.