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by Joni Astrup
The Rev. Mark Innocenti was installed last month as the priest at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Elk River.
He is a native of Roseville, went to Mounds View High School and moved to St. Cloud in 1988 to work for what was then known as Bankers Systems.
Innocenti said he became a priest after a conversion in his late 20s.
“I started to pray and ask God what he wanted me to do,” he said. “Over the next six or so years, the desire to serve God and neighbor became stronger with, seemingly, the doors opening and pointing me to the priesthood.”
He ultimately quit his job, went into the seminary and was ordained in 1999.
Innocenti served as an associate for two years at St. Anthony’s in St. Cloud and was pastor for 11 years at Our Lady of Lourdes in Little Falls, before being assigned for three years to the cluster of St. Michael in St. Cloud and St. Joseph in Waite Park.
Innocenti started at St. Andrew’s in December 2015.
He said he likes being a priest, saying, “I’m able to spend my life serving God and his people.”