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Chaplain Donates Crop Through Farm & Harvest Program

Fr. MarkFather Mark Stang has always been about connections. Growing up on a farm near St. Nicholas, he felt connected to the land, and when he joined the priesthood in 1990, it was a connection to a higher calling that he answered. Around that same time, life took a turn when he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that had spread to his lymph nodes. He went through treatment, but the cancer grew, forming three new tumors. Mark was just wrapping up his seminary studies and this news prompted the Bishop to move up his ordination date.

Following ordination, Mark was preparing to lead his first church Mass and decided to stop cancer treatment for a month so that he could gain some of his strength back. At this point he was preparing to die. He delivered his first Mass homily, which he thought would be one of his last. But at his next follow-up appointment, he received shocking news — he was cancer free. His Mayo Clinic doctors were perplexed and Mark took it as a sign that he had more work to do before his time was up.

Today, Fr. Mark works as a chaplain at St. Cloud Hospital where he connects with people experiencing difficult times. He’s drawn to helping those in need. But his giving extends beyond his day job. See, Fr. Mark is still involved in his family’s farm along with his brother. He maintains 40 acres, which this year raised an organic alfalfa crop. He donates all the profits to charity and this year he worked with the CentraCare Foundation’s Farm & Harvest program to donate the proceeds from his alfalfa crop. He earmarked the donation to help fund the renovation of the St. Cloud Hospital Chapel.

“Growing up, I felt a connection to farming, and my dad taught me respect for the land,” said Fr. Mark. “Being able to donate proceeds from my harvest to support the CentraCare Foundation helps me connect my farm to the community and people around me.”

In many ways, Fr. Mark’s generous philanthropy is his way of paying it forward, for the gift of a cancer-free life he received years ago.

To learn more about donating through the Farm & Harvest program, including the tax benefits available, contact the CentraCare Foundation at foundation@centracare.com or call 320-240-2810.