Father Mark Underdahl, Pastor
651-436-7817 #12
Father Mark grew up in Hopkins, Minnesota—the Raspberry Capital of the World! Father Mark’s parents, Myra and Jack, live in Hopkins and are members of the Church of St. Gabriel (St. Joseph’s campus) where he received his sacraments and celebrated his first Mass of Thanksgiving the day after he was ordained a priest. Father Mark’s sister Jill, professed perpetual vows with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. She is the Co-Director of Celeste's Dream, a spirituality center for young adults, and is a certified Spiritual Director. Mark attended John Ireland Catholic School in Hopkins through the eighth grade. After graduating from the Hopkins High School in 1985, he entered Saint John Vianney Seminary and began studies at the University of Saint Thomas, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sacred Theology. Father Mark entered The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of Saint Thomas in 1989, where he earned a Masters of Divinity degree. In 1992 Mark took a leave of absence from the seminary, where he served the Saint Hubert Catholic Community in Chanhassen, Minnesota as Director of Liturgy and Christian Initiation. He returned to the seminary in 1994 and was ordained to the Order of Deacon on March 8, 1996 and to the Order of Presbyter on May 25, 1996. Following his ordination, Father Mark was appointed Associate Pastor of Guardian Angels in Oakdale from 1996-1999. Father Mark was appointed Pastor of the Church St. Charles in Bayport from 1999-2007 and Canonical Administrator (Superintendent of Education) of St. Croix Catholic School and St. Croix Valley Faith Formation, the tri-parish school and faith formation with St. Mary’s and St. Michael’s in Stillwater from 2004-2007. Father Mark was appointed Pastor of St. Joseph of the Lakes Catholic Church from 2007-2015. On July 1, 2015, Archbishop John Nienstedt appointed Father Mark Pastor of St. Francis of Assisi. Father Mark loves being back in the St. Croix Valley again and enjoys his ministry here very much. Father Mark believes his collaborative approach to ministry and within that his understanding of the role and responsibility of pastor and that his “hands-on” approach, pastoral skills, including his presiding and preaching style fits the St. Francis community very well. Father Mark is a Third Degree member of the Knights of Columbus. Father Mark has a lot of enthusiasm and a profound love for the liturgies of the Church and really enjoys presiding and preaching at Mass. For relaxation Father Mark enjoys the beauty of creation, especially on the North Shore of Lake Superior, going for early morning walks, golf, music, reading, the theater and caring for his Cairn Terrier, Charlee. Father Mark is a member of the Twin Cities Cursillo Community. “DeColores!” Father Mark’s attributes his vocation to the voice and support of many people, in a very special way through the prayers of his mother and grandmothers. In school through the voice of teachers and priests, he believes he was called to ordained ministry in the Church. He went to the seminary just to “check it out” and after he got there and settled in, he could not find a good enough reason to leave. Each year the discernment got a little bit easier and his call was affirmed many times over. Father Mark is very happy as priest and cannot imagine doing anything else with his life. The support of family and friends has been overwhelming. It is hard to describe how wonderful it feels to be invited in as a member of another family and to share with them the joys and sorrows of life. Father Mark loves the priesthood very much! In his daily prayer, he thanks God for the gift of life and the opportunity to live out his priesthood now at St. Francis!

Cindy Buckland, Director of Faith Formation
651-436-7817 #14
Hello, I am Cindy Buckland. I’ve been the Director of Faith Formation here at St. Francis of Assisi since 2014 and worked as Faith Formation coordinator since 2008. I’ve been a member of the parish for over 20 years and been involved in faith formation since my kids where in preschool. My first love is the Sunday Children’s Liturgy of the Word and still is today. I answered the call to teach preschool back in 1999 and now look at me today! God has provided me with the opportunity to serve the children of our parish on a full-time basis when I retired from my career as a Dental Assistant, (when one door closes, another opens). I also work pretty much full-time at County Market in Hudson and seem to do a lot of my ministry there. Next time you see me, stop and say Hi! I have recently moved back to the Valley, downsized myself and live in a cabin near St. Mary’s Point. Living here in the Valley is a little slice of Heaven for me and I have been enjoying every minute of it. My family loves it too. My son Nick got married in October 2016 and lives in Colorado. My daughter Allison and her husband live in Staples, Minnesota along with my three grandsons, Jackson and Caleb and now Hudson. . Tyler is here in the Valley and enjoys being back in his old neighborhood and Courtney is a graduate in the spring of 2019 from Iowa State in Ames, Iowa with a degree in Fashion Merchandising & Design.

Julie Terwey, Office Manager

Steve Allen, Building & Grounds