Dates: Born around 1950
Occupation: Formerly a professional musician, now a full-time Catholic missionary.
Not technically a Catholic convert, Marino had nevertheless completely rejected the faith of his childhood as he worked in the entertainment industry in Germany and later Los Angeles. On Christmas Eve 1997, Marino was kidnapped by FARC guerrillas and held as a hostage in the jungle for six months. During that captivity he had a profound mystical experience and, following his unexpected release, he turned his back on his hedonistic lifestyle and fully re-embraced his Catholic faith. Having given up all his wealth and all his worldly possessions, he now spends his entire life travelling round the world giving the testimony of his faith. He has been referred to as a modern-day St Paul. Marino also founded the Pilgrims of Love mission: see their UK website here.
Comments on converting to Catholicism
“A Catholic needs to recognise the role that he has as a soldier, the immensity of his duty, the might of his army.”
“These must be times of great vigilance. There is no room for curiosity, no time to waste in arguments. We must lend no ears to fables or philosophies of magic realities; we must pay no attention to fashionable Christian voices.”
“We are being tempted by Satan to imitate the ways of Christianity planted during the Reformation: a Christianity that lacks the mysticism and spirituality of our forefathers in the Church; a Christianity that is fashionable and spectacular; a Christian show that appeals to pagan hearts that claim to live according to the beat of the Sacred Heart, appreciating only a Jesus who multiplies bread and heals the sick, a Jesus of earthly prosperity.”
“The Catholic Church is not a corporation, or a social club, or a human rights institution. Being a priest, a religious, is not a profession; it is a sacred vocation, a call directly from God.”
“We have a daily duty to pass on unconditionally the faith that we have inherited from our forefathers. For that faith is not merely a gift; it is also a responsibility that will not wait to be passed on.”
“To believe in the real presence is to transform oneself radically from a mere mortal to one who is truly immortal. If we could only understand for one moment what it actually means, we would be in ecstasies. It is eternal life itself. It is the promise of the message of redemption.”
“A priest is the greatest enemy of the devil amongst human beings. A priest is the only one with the delegated power to forgive sins and to break the chains of the sinner, freeing him or her from Satan. A priest brings the person of Jesus through the mystery of transubstantiation, converting the bread and wine into the true Body and Blood of Jesus our Lord.”
“One of the reasons why so many Catholics are falling away today is because they do not know their own Church.”
Marino tells his own story in From Darkness into the Light. Marino’s second book, Catholics Awake from which the above quotations are taken, is a wake-up call for Catholics to take their faith seriously and to accept the responsibility of sharing the true Catholic faith with others.