Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 21, 2002
Mallet faithful to his mission
Despite many trials, musician continues to evangelize
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Mark Mallett is a well-established musician who has devoted himself to serving the pope's call for a new evangelization.
He feels called to bring people to Christ but, as he put it, he's had to carry many crosses to fulfill his mission, including unemployment, division and other affronts to his dignity.
Mallett, an award-winning journalist and father of five, shared his testimony with about 120 people at a charismatic prayer breakfast at the Chateau Louis Conference Centre Jan. 12. His wife Lea listened attentively from the floor. "God is telling me that following Christ means carrying the cross," he said.
Catholic Renewal Services, a charismatic organization, hosted the breakfast.
Born in Lloydminster 33 years ago, Mallett was raised a Catholic along with two brothers and a sister. When he was six he made a personal commitment to Jesus, saying, "Jesus, I'll follow you."
At age 19 he got a call to come home from a friend's home. He had a feeling that when he opened the door of his home his life would change forever. It did because at home he learned his sister, 23, had died in a car accident.
A day after the funeral his mom said, "We can either turn our backs on God or we can put our faith in him. He can carry us and he can make all things better."
"It was a heroic moment for my mom that I'll never forget," he said. "It's like she put a rock of faith in each of us to hang in there."
From that point on there has been immense suffering in our lives, Mallett related. "I had a really wonderful upbringing as a Catholic and then my sister died and things started to fall apart. My dad got laid off the year after she died and I have had two layoffs and uncertainty in jobs.
"My ministry encountered problems, divisions, hitting walls and each time that's happened is like God is saying, 'Put your faith in me,' just like my mother said when my sister died."
At one point Mallett and his then fianc‚e Lea, now his wife, felt alienated in the Church and considered joining a more lively congregation. But just as the thought crossed his mind, the Lord spoke clearly in Mallett's heart, "Stay and be light to your brothers." This was followed by another strong word, "Music is a doorway to evangelize."
Thus began a burning hunger in Mallett for God, which has led to a passionate love for the Catholic Church. In 1993, in response to his inner call to evangelize with music, Mark formed a band made up mainly of family and friends - One Voice Music Ministry.
At one of his concerts Mallett was baptized in the Spirit and discovered an important gift - spiritual song-writing.
As people prayed over him that day he suddenly found himself flat on his back with something that felt like electricity running through his body, especially in his hands and his lips. "From that day forward I was able to write spiritual songs just prolifically," he related.
"God put on that gift of songwriting that day, in particularly songs that would honour him; before that I couldn't write spiritual songs for the life of me. That's an extreme manifestation of God's power and I didn't even want it at the time."
Soon after that the Lord began to pour out song after song. Since that day Mallett has written over 90 songs and two sets of Mass parts. Later, in 1999, he also completed a leadership guide for young Catholics.
Soon One Voice began doing music for youth Masses and events such as the Life in the Spirit Seminars, family conferences and Canada's first Youth 2000. The ministry flourished, despite criticism. It would succumb years later to internal division.
A business reporter with CFRN, Mallett found himself jobless when his program was cut in 1998, just when he had decided to leave his ministry to focus on his vocation as a reporter. He had put his guitar in the case for good and had said to God, "I won't ever pick it up again for ministry unless you want me to."
But all doors closed in television over the following year. It was a painful time for Mallett and his family but a new vision for ministry began to burn in his heart. Songs would come out every time he picked up his guitar. All those songs are on his 1999 CD Deliver Me from Me.
Mallett put his thoughts in detail down on paper and in the spring of 1999 - the week his employment insurance benefits ran out - Bishop Eugene Cooney invited him to bring his vision and music to the Nelson, B.C., Diocese.
That's how Embracing Hope Ministries was born. It was Mallett's personal response to Pope John Paul's prophetic words calling for a new evangelization.
But money for the program ran out after eight months forcing Mallett and his wife to return to Alberta.
They went to live at the farm of Lea's parents in Boyle, where he tried his hand at sales without much success.
"I felt that my dignity had been cut from underneath me," he said. After four trying months of unemployment, CFRN called again to offer him a job as a producer and host of a new and improved version of his old business show.
Three months later, last August, the show was cancelled, leaving Mallett unemployed again. This time, he wasn't sad. "When they laid me off I was happy because this opened another door for me."
Since then Mallett has been ministering full time, mainly doing concerts and school ministry across Alberta and in other parts of Canada. He is currently preparing for a three-week tour of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and is working with Hamilton country singer Jim Witter, who is producing his next CD.
"I never thought of doing what I am doing now," Mallett said in an interview. "What I am doing now is exactly what I feel I was called to do, which is to sing songs, to write songs and to minister to people and to build people up."
Following the breakfast, Mallett prayed with many participants, some of whom fell on the floor and remained flat on their backs for long periods of time.