About the author

I am Mark de Vries, a 35-year-old lay Catholic from the Netherlands. I have been Catholic (and a Christian) since my baptism at the start of Easter of 2007, so experience and a lifelong education in the faith are not things I can fall back on. As a consequence I write as an interested layman with no basis in anything else than my short life as a Catholic.

However, I do have the pleasure of living in an orthodox parish with a large group of enthusiastic and knowledgeable faithful of all ages. There my faith has been nurtured and I have been able to explore my vocation in life; not to the priesthood, it now seems, but in marriage and fatherhood (and, Lord knows, the permanent diaconate?).

In the past, I have studied English language and culture at the University of Groningen, which is part of the reason why this blog is in English (the other reason is that I want to try and reach as many people as possible). I also do some freelance and voluntary translation work for Catholic websites and retreats, contribute a weekly column to Dutch Radio Maria on Monday mornings, and sometimes write in Dutch for Broodje Paap.

If I had to identify an ‘angle’ from which I write, so to speak, I’d say it was as a Catholic loyal to the Church, most directly personified in my bishop, Msgr. Gerard de Korte, and my parish priest, Father Rolf Wagenaar, and ultimately in the Holy Father, Pope Francis. As such I will endeavour to be critical if necessary, but always loyal to their authority, vested in them through the holy sacrament of ordination

Since the Church does not only exist on Earth, but also in Heaven, I place this blog under the protection of all the saints who pray for us ceaselessly, especially Holy Mary, Mother of Sorrows; Saint Joseph; Saint Benedict Joseph Labre; Saint Philip Neri; Saint John Mary Vianney, the Curé d’Ars; Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman; and Venerable Pope Pius XII.

With this blog I hope to be able to offer an interesting read about the Catholic Church in the Netherlands and all things related, and whatever other interesting things that inspire me.

30 thoughts on “About the author”

  1. Ik werd geattendeerd op uw vertaling van de Conferentie van mgr. Marini.
    U schrijft dat het geen officiele vertaling is.
    Zou ik uw vertaling -enigszins aangepast – mogen gebruiken voor het blad van de Vereniging voor Latijnse Liturgie?
    U schrijft dat pastoor Wagenaar uw pastoor is. Hij kent mij goed.
    Mag ik dan ook uw naam weten?
    Met vriendellijke groet,
    A.F.M. de la Porte, oud-secretaris,
    eindredacteur Bulletin van de VvLL.

  2. Dear Mark, I am contacting you from ITN’s Channel 4 News in the UK. We are making a film about the Catholic church in Holland and i wanted to ask you a few questions about this. Do you have a personal email address/ phone number that you could forward to me? Best wishes, Kirsten

    1. Hello,

      I do have an email address, of course. You can reach me at marq.30@hotmail.com. I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

      I’m not an expert in any way, though, but perhaps I can contribute in some way.


  3. Dear Mark:
    Welcome to the Catholic Church. In these hard times we’re going through, it is wonderful to hear about a Dutch who has found the key which unlocks his soul at the Catholic Church.

    You came to the Church, the bimilenarial Church from the world. Well, you’re not alone. I was baptized, but didn’t get it at the age of 14, when I understood for what I was here for.

    Good luck and prayers for you. We’ll keep in touch. An advise: read history of the Church. It is unbelievable what the Church has gone through, how the grace of God has gone through human frailty and sin, and maintained his Church like a little ship in the immense Sea of the world, atacked from everywhere.

    By the way, I was born (thus, I speak German) in Cologne. I do live in Spain, am married and the father of three.

    Sancta Maria filios tuos adiuva!

  4. Dear Mark,

    The little I have read in your blog gives me a very good feeling; and not only for the incredibly good English. So I have recommended it to a friend and will come back to it myself very soon. Meanwhile, my regards and prayers go to you.


  5. Dear Mark,

    God bless your vocation, and your work on this blog! I am a conservative Lutheran minister of the (American) Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and while I do not accept all the teachings of the Roman Church, I am very much heartened by the last two Popes’ role in championing classical dogma against modernism, and pray for a revival of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. I was drawn to your blog by the story of the “soccer mass,” in part because we struggle in our denomination with what is fitting in the worship of God and what is not.

    1. Thank you very much for your comment, Reverend. Discerning how our relationship with God can and should take shape in our liturgy and worship is very important indeed, since it shapes all the rest of our doings, including knowledge of our faith and how we relate to other people.

      I hope you’ll continue enjoying reading my blog in the future.

  6. Mark,

    Your blog looks very interesting. I will pray for you and your vocation. Holy Mother Church needs committed and faithful servants such as you. Please be aware that the “Ads by Google” occasionally includes links of a religious but non-Catholic nature. Perhaps a disclaimer under the Ads by Google box is warranted. For example, when I first logged on, the box showed a picture with the text “The One True Church.” Thinking this was another Catholic website, I clicked on it only to find that it was a site for the Restored Church of God. Unfortunately, this could be very confusing to non-Catholics and poorly catechized Catholics alike.

    May the Holy Spirit guide you on your path to your vocation.

    Your brother in Christ,

    1. Thank you very much, George.

      I have to admit that I’m not entirely sure what Google ads you are talking about. As far as I’m aware there are none on my blog.

  7. Hey there…

    It just happen that your blog link appear at mine. Well, no offense, but it is my first time reading a Catholic Nederland blog. I just love the way you share everything. Keep writing and God bless you always. ^^

  8. As an amateur historian, I am interested in knowing more about a peice of antique communion rail our Pastor purchased at a catholic supply store.
    It came from Stadel Maier, Antiques division. The story is that it was in a church that was demolished in southern Netherlands. Are there accessable records that are available which have recorded the buildings inside and out before they were destroyed? The antique is carved oak, estimated from the late 1800’s and features a lamb holding a cross and banner, laying on a bible with seven bookmarkers. This is surrounded by carved stalks of wheat. I am curious about its origins because we are thinking of incorporating the antique into a new altar.
    j gerrish

    1. It sounds interesting, but I would assume the possible origins of the communion rail are plenty. A lot of churches in the Netherlands (and in other countries as well) had their rails removed in the past century. I’m afraid I really can’t be of any help. Maybe the people at Stadelmaier can help, or else you could perhaps contact on of the southern dioceses in the Netherlands. They would perhaps have records of alterations made to their churches.

      I’ll add the contact info of those dioceses below:

      Diocese of ‘s-Hertogenbosch:
      Bisdom van ’s-Hertogenbosch
      Postbus 1070
      5200 BC ‘s-Hertogenbosch

      Diocese of Roermond:
      Bisdom Roermond
      Postbus 980
      6040 AZ Roermond

      Diocese of Breda:
      Bisdom van Breda
      Postbus 90189
      4800 RN Breda

      I hope you find an answer to the origins of the communion rail.

  9. Hi Mark,

    Were you one of the Servers at 11am Mass today?

    I am a British Catholic, now living in Groningen and working in Assen. I am lining here with my german wife and daughter. It would be good to meet up at some point!

    I was considering the Priesthood at one point quite seriously, and I know of some British resources / retreats / people that may be of use to you as you discern your vocation. If you are interested, let me know, and I can forward details on to you.

    Hope to meet soon,


  10. Beste Mark,

    Zalig Nieuwjaar en we mogen dankbaar vaststellen: “When the going gets tough, the though get going”. Gods zegen voor jouw goede bedoelingen en inzet.

  11. Hello Mark, A friend in Holland gave me your link and news about the Tridentine Mass which is going to be offered in the Cathedral of St Joseph. I find this is wonderful news. I know my friend is very happy about this. My family and I are all traditional Catholics. I live part of my life in England and part in Alicante, Spain. It is easier for me to find the traditional Tridentine Rite in England, but not so easy in Spain. My elder son was also once a seminarian, but found he did not have the vocation for the priesthood, and he is now happily married with 5 children. Well, congratulations on your initiative. God bless and keep up the good work.

  12. Hi Mark, I’m an Indonesian Catholic living in Jakarta, Indonesia. In 1965 I had the pleasure to have lived in Holland when my father was posted there by the Indonesian government. I went back to Jakarta in 1970 so, I had nice memories of the life in the Netherlands where I serve as an altar boy in the Salvator Parochie in Nieuwendam, North Amsterdam. I visit Holland once in a while since my aunt still lives there. But I’m happy to see as young as you who takes up the Catholic faith seriously. JD

  13. Hi, I am really enjoying your blog and am glad it is in English :) We (my husband and children) are living in the Netherlands for a few years. We are Catholic Americans (conservative/loyal to the Church and Pope) and will greatly enjoy learning more about Catholicism in the Netherlands with the help of your blog. Thanks and God Bless!

  14. Great blog! Could some one help me find Catholic Mass times this week-end (April 16-17) in Groningen? Any language. Thank you, may God bless you!

  15. I accidentally found your blog, and I felt compelled to tell you that your work on this blog is quite impressive. I hope that people realize how much effort and commitment you invested in translating all these texts.
    I find it tremendously inspiring to read something positive and creative about the Dutch Church, which unfortunately gets a lot of unfair criticism in the mainstream media. You present the Catholic Church as something dynamic and well alive.
    I would be interested to read what led you to accept the Catholic faith as an adult. I was born into the Catholic fold, and hence I always find it very inspiring, but also a bit puzzling as to how someone can find the word of God in a profoundly secular and at times downward anti-religious world. Obviously, I also realize that such a conversion is an intensely private matter, so I understand if people are reluctant to publicly tell about such an experience.

    Good luck to you, and good luck with your blog.

    1. do you know what time masses are held at st joseph’s in gronigen on july 10,2011?

      1. Yes, I do indeed know. There will be a Mass in Latin at 9 and a Mass in Dutch at 11. Both are Novus Ordo.

  16. Dag Mark,

    ik heb een vraag inzake een vertaling.

    Zou het mogelijk zijn contact met mij op te nemen?

    Met dank en vriendelijke groet,


  17. ik ben de deken uit Diest die een pleidooi hield voor een hartelijk welkom voor priesters uit Nederland
    ik hield ook een pleidooi voor de zaligverklaring van Kardinaal Cardijn


  18. I have just read your translation of passages from Pope Benedict’s talk on the German station ARD’s ‘Wort am Sonntag’. It is an elegant translation and you should be congratulated on your command of English. The one amendment I would make is a small one. The use of the word ‘persons’ instead of ‘people’ is a little too formal for ordinary everyday speech now-adays. There are small sections of this same speech translated in an article in The Tablet this week. It is an accessible translation but nuances of what the Pope said in German are lost in translation. If I had had to translate his words, my translation would have been closer to yours.

    I only stumbled on your blog today. I am interested that you are a convert and wonder what it was which drew you to the Church. I am in my 70s and was received into the Church when I was 16. I experienced the explosion of inspiration and hope triggered by the Second Vatican Council, and have been demoralized by the systematic closing down of all that wonderful movement in the Church brought about by the deliberations of the Church father in Council. Many of my generation of Catholics who lived through that experience and who care about the Church are all demoralized by what is happening now.

    Enough from me for today.

    Viele herzliche Gruesse!

    Moya St Leger
    London Borough of Richmond

  19. I happened to come across this site and I am very glad to see a web site about Catholicism in Holland because to hear most mainstream media talk the Church is “dead” there although I knew from the words of Tracey Rowland who is an Australian Theologian that there is a slow rekindling of the Faith there as it is also the case even in Ireland despite the abuse scandal there. I believe there is in every European (and Western) countries there are small places with very committed believers. Look what the western secular media said about the Pope’s recent visit to Germany.

  20. Bedankt voor uw blog. Groetjes uit Kinshasa, Congo. Ik ben priester, franstalig…
    Jean-Baptiste Malenge

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