Mark David Pacione, a past director of youth and young adult ministry for the Archdiocese of Baltimore who helped plan the 1995 visit of Pope John Paul II to the city, died of an aneurysm Dec. 29 while running on a trail near his Bel Air home. He was 60.
"It was Mark's persistent optimism, friendly nature and unwavering goodness that most will remember about him. Mark's death is a tremendous loss for our entire family of faith," said Archbishop William Lori.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Gardenville, he was the son of Primo Pacione, a steelworker, and Mary Louise Cellitto, a Sears department store worker. He attended St. Anthony of Padua School and was a 1972 graduate of Calvert Hall College High School. He earned a bachelor's degree at what is now Loyola University Maryland and a master's degree from the Catholic University of America.
Mr. Pacione initially worked in youth ministry at St. Margaret Roman Catholic Church in Bel Air. In the mid-1980s, he joined the Archdiocese of Baltimore at its headquarters on Cathedral Street.
"Mark was a family man, a minister of the Gospel, a friend, a mentor to many," said Ruth Puls, a longtime friend and Catholic Center colleague.
After leaving his youth post, he became associate director of planning and research for Catholic schools and parishes. He served the archdiocese for 29 years.
"Mark was so admired by his colleagues, friends and family because his joy was genuinely rooted in his faith and it radiated from him; when you were with Mark, you experienced that joy," said Tim Janiszewski, a fellow youth minister who lives in Ellicott City.
Mr. Pacione helped produce the two-hour morning program at Oriole Park at Camden Yards when Pope John Paul II visited Baltimore on Oct. 8, 1995.
"There were hundreds of people in costumes and carrying flags representing various counties," said Ms. Puls, who lives in Catonsville. "Mark knew the people he could call on. And people were willing to help Mark. He transformed that ball field into a cathedral."
Mr. Pacione also volunteered in youth ministry at Saint Pius X parish in Rodgers Forge, where his wife, Carol Wagner Pacione, is the pastoral life director. He worked with the parish's confirmation program, among other activities.
He served on the board of directors for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry from 1995 to 2001 and was on the Catholic Youth Foundation USA board.
He was the 2000 recipient of the National Youth Ministry Award.
Family members said he enjoyed reading, gardening, and painting and sketching. He also played guitar.
Mr. Pacione was a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a papal knighthood.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Margaret Roman Catholic Church, 141 N. Hickory Ave. in Bel Air.
In addition to his wife of 31 years, survivors include a daughter, Beth Rausch of Boston; two brothers, Jeffrey Pacione of Wenham, Mass., and Christopher Pacione of Pittsburgh; and his mother and stepfather, Mary Louise and Ray Schulmeyer of Bel Air.