The following comes from an April 13 Angelus article by Julie Schnieders:
Lifelong Catholic Mark Padilla never expected to get divorced. Like most married couples, Padilla thought his first marriage would be his last.
Married in 1988, his marriage started showing strains in the mid-90s. Then, in 1997, his wife moved out. A year later, they divorced.
The divorce proved to be devastating to Padilla and his three children.
“I lost everything, my business and my home. It was not a pleasant experience,” Padilla told The Tidings.
After the divorce, Padilla sought an annulment from the Church.
“I wanted to get married again in the Catholic Church and receive the Holy Eucharist. To me, it was the right thing to do,” he said.
“It was difficult. It took me a year to go through the questions, to write and think about them,” Padilla said. “It was very therapeutic. The questions that were asked, what led us to the divorce … surprised me. It was a process of reconciliation,” he said.
Following his annulment, Padilla began to put his life back together. He moved back to Montebello, close to St. Anthony’s Church, where he went to parochial school and which is now his home parish.
In 2000, the “Great Jubilee” year in the Catholic Church, Padilla had what he calls a “reversion.” He began the journey back to his Catholic faith by seeking spiritual direction from Father Pat Brennan, then at the Passionist Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center in Sierra Madre. Father Brennan encouraged him to listen to Catholic radio.
“It was Catholic radio that helped me rebuild my faith as an adult. It led me to Bible Study, too,” he said.
He has been chapter president for San Gabriel Valley Knights of Columbus and was the Culture of Life chairperson for the state of California. He was instrumental in the referendum against the physician assisted-suicide petition and for parental notification in Southern California.
Padilla has been happily remarried to his wife, Lisa, for 14 years. They have two children together. He is determined to break the cycle of divorce and despair for his two youngest children, Anthony, 14, and Trinity, 3, who has Down syndrome.
Padilla is currently working on pre-production for a film about parental notification called “Notice.” The film is based on Padilla’s own experiences and the stories he heard while gathering signatures for the petition to allow parent notification when a minor seeks an abortion.
“I do all the things I do to teach the youth, to teach our culture that divorce doesn’t work and that there is healing. There is life after and to help youth avoid the mistakes that my generation made,” he said.