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November 23, 2022

By Darcy Fargo

ALBANY – When New York State Catholic Conference contacted dioceses around the state looking for a priest with military experience, preferably as a chaplain, to do an interview for a Veteran’s Day themed edition of the conference’s podcast, the Diocese of Ogdensburg knew it had the perfect participant.

The diocese connected the conference with Father Mark R. Reilly, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps before his time in seminary and then as a U.S. Navy chaplain after his ordination.

On Nov. 9, the New York State Catholic Conference released an edition of its Capitol Compass Podcast titled “A Life of Service with Fr. Mark Reilly.” The podcast, a nearly 30-minute audio program, can be found at nyscatholic.org/capitol-compass-podcast or on nearly any platform that offers podcasts.

“(A diocesan representative) gave me a heads up, and they put me in contact with Gilian (Murphy), who hosts the podcast,” said Father Reilly, pastor of St. Peter’s Parish in Massena. “I was actually standing in Dollar General when my phone rang with an Albany number. I was pretty sure it was her, since we had gone back and forth in email, so I took the call, and we scheduled an interview.”

The interview was conducted remotely using the video conferencing platform, Zoom.

“The interview was scheduled when I was doing deanery visits,” said Father Reilly, vicar forane of the St. Lawrence Deanery. “I was in South Colton. I had joined Father Joe Giroux for Mass at St. Patrick’s and had looked over the sacramental records. I brought my laptop with me, and Father Joe set me up in a space in his building that had decent WiFi.”

Father Reilly said the interview focused on his military service, discernment and ministry in a parish.

“We chatted a bit before we started recording,” Father Reilly said. “We discussed some possible directions for the conversation. It all flowed pretty naturally. We talked about my life before priesthood, my service in the Armed Forces, what the transition to the priesthood was like and my experiences as a Navy chaplain.”

Father Reilly said the interview took place several weeks before the podcast was released.

“I kind of forgot I had done it,” he said. “Then one day last week, I started getting emails and messages about it. Father Chris Carrara shot me a line and was very complimentary. I got an email from the bishop.”

While the responses from colleagues and those he knows have been positive, Father Reilly said listening to the interview himself was “an odd experience.”

“It’s kind of painful to listen to your own recorded voice,” he said. “I don’t think it turned out badly, but it’s pretty easy to think, ‘I should’ve said this differently,’ or ‘I mispronounced that word.’ I also remember questioning whether I picked out the right stories to tell. I have a thousand. It’s hard settling on one.”

Capitol Compass Podcast is the New York State Catholic Conference’s official podcast.

“On the show we dive into public policy debates in Albany and Washington, D.C., of concern to the Church, as well as subjects related to Catholic social teaching,” the podcast description states. “New episodes air every other Wednesday.”

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