Richard Mark Heath, O.P.
Born: April 20, 1918
Professed: August 16, 1941
Ordained: June 5, 1947
Died: December 4, 2005
Father Richard Mark Heath, O.P., was born on April 20, 1918, in Jamaica Plain, MA, to Leslie John Heath and Genevieve Isabella Stapleton. Educated at St. Joseph’s Grammar and High School in Somerville, MA, he spent a year at Boston College before entering the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, in 1936. In 1940, by a special Act of Congress, thanks to an influential Massachusetts Senator, he was permitted to resign his Naval Commission in order to enter the Dominican Novitiate at St. Rose Priory in Springfield, KY.
Brother Mark Heath made Simple Profession in 1941 and Solemn Profession in 1944, and was ordained a priest at St. Dominic Church in Washington, DC, on June 5, 1947, by Archbishop Amleto Cicognani, Apostolic Delegate to the United States. Having completed his institutional studies, Father Heath earned a Doctorate in Philosophy at the Angelicum in Rome in 1952.
He then entered upon a long and illustrious teaching ministry, principally at LaSalle College in Philadelphia for 15 years and then at Providence College for 6 years, before going to the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, in 1973 as Director of the Washington Theological Consortium, a cooperative group of five Catholic and five Protestant seminaries in the greater Washington area. In 1976, he was appointed Regent of Studies for the Province of St. Joseph, a position that at that time included the Presidency of the Pontifical Faculty, in which he served for ten years. Father Heath was also instrumental in forming the Cluster of Independent Theological Schools with two other seminaries in the area. In addition, he began the process for obtaining accreditation for the theology program at the House of Studies.
For over 25 years, Father Heath served as Chaplain for the Teams of Our Lady, a movement dedicated to promoting the spirituality of married life. He was also elected Prior and Pastor of St. Louis Bertrand in Louisville, KY, for three years where he served with great distinction before returning to Washington as Director of Development for the Pontifical Faculty. The Dominican Community in Washington presented Father Mark Heath with the St. Dominic Medal for his long and dedicated service to the faculty and students there.
His brothers, Father Thomas Richard Heath and Walter John Heath, who pre-deceased Mark, were also extraordinarily devoted and successful members of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph.
In gradually declining health for the last few years, Father Mark Heath was lovingly cared for by the Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs at Mohun Health Care Center in Columbus where he died on December 4, 2005.
At the Mass of Christian Burial in Mohun Chapel, V. Rev. Raymond Daley, O.P., Vicar Provincial, was celebrant and homilist. Fr. Heath, O.P., was laid to rest in the Dominican Friars’ cemetery at St. Joseph Church in Somerset, OH.