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Fr. Mark Pilon laid to rest at Fairfax Memorial Park

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Father Mark A. Pilon was known as an “outstanding professor of moral theology,” according to Christendom College President Timothy T. O'Donnell.

But he also knew something about Mustangs.

One summer, Father Pilon worked with Tim Connolly, the son of a family friend, on a 1966 Mustang when Connolly was in high school. “He was sitting there reading the manual to me, telling me how to fix it,” he said. “I was the guy under the car, wrenching the bolts. It was an interesting dynamic we had.”

Friends and family, including O’Donnell and Connolly, gathered at St. Raymond of Peñafort Church in Springfield, where he served as parochial vicar from 2009-12, as Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop Emeritus Paul S. Loverde and several dozen priests of the Diocese of Arlington concelebrated the funeral Mass for Father Pilon March 23. A vigil was held at St. Raymond March 22.

Father Marcus A. Pollard, Christendom chaplain, was the homilist. He told the attendees that Father Pilon was his parents’ favorite pastor at St. Ambrose Church in Annandale. He spoke about the privilege of becoming Father Pilon’s friend. When Father Pilon asked Father Pollard to preach at his funeral, Father Pollard asked the retired priest for his input.

“What in particular do you want me to say?” recalled Father Pollard. “He said, ‘To begin with, I need prayers. Don’t canonize me.’ I immediately said, ‘No problem,’ and he laughed,” said Father Pollard. “He said, ‘Please don’t talk about me.’ Ultimately he said, ‘Preach the Gospel, that’s what I am about.’”

Father Pilon was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Thomas J. Welsh Nov. 29, 1975. He served as parochial vicar of St. Louis Church in Alexandria. While in residence at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Arlington, he began teaching religion at Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington in 1977 and, in 1978, he earned a master's in educational administration from The Catholic University of America in Washington. He was parochial vicar of St. John the Baptist Church in Front Royal and then professor of theology at Christendom College in Front Royal (1987-90). From 1990 to 2000, Father Pilon was pastor of St. Ambrose Church in Annandale.

Caroline Duffy and her family were parishioners of St. Louis when Father Pilon served as parochial vicar. Her oldest brothers were not in Catholic school at the time, but “Father Pilon would come over on Saturday mornings to teach my siblings the faith,” said Duffy. “He was always encouraging to all of us. He had this gruff exterior but he really had a heart.” 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018