Update: Funeral arrangements announced for local priest killed in accident

MISSISSIPPI — Funeral arrangements for Father Mark Beard, pastor at St. Helena Catholic Church in Amite, have been announced.

Father Beard died in a wreck north of I-55 in Mississippi August 2.

“He truly left an impact”

“Mark was a rock, not simply for the church family and those in need, but for our immediate family,” Father Beard’s niece Jennifer Beard told UWK. “He was an immediate source of strength and wisdom and prayer. He spoke with us about living everyday to give God as close to 100-percent as possible.”

A public visitation will be held at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Baton Rouge August 10 from 8:30-11 a.m. A memorial mass will follow at 11 a.m. with the diocesan clergy and lay faithful present.

Visitation for parishioners of St. Helena Catholic will be held in Amite on August 11 from 8-11 a.m. with a funeral mass at St. Helena Church for family and parishioners at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Amite Memorial Gardens in Amite.

“He truly left an impact by sowing into so many lives,” Jennifer said. “Even in his death, there’s hope and life.”

Tragic crash

Early reports from the Mississippi Highway Patrol claim Father Beard was driving south on I-55 when his vehicle went off the roadway, hit a median and ran into a culvert. His vehicle overturned and Father Beard did not survive the crash.

Friends of Father Mark Beard tell UWK that he had property in Mississippi that he went to often.

Father Beard is originally from Baton Rouge. He was a graduate of Catholic High and went to LSU for college. He was on vacation in Medjugorje when his friends tell UWK that he decided he wanted to be a priest. Friends added Father Beard has done some incredible work in Amite and was “truly an incredible person and truly concerned about everyone’s souls.”

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