Alumni Profile

Mark ’05 and Katie (Lockwood ’05) Hartfiel

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Alumni Profile

Mark ’05 and Katie (Lockwood ’05) Hartfiel

The Hartfiels share the faith through Paradisus Dei ministry.

Summer 2024 | Melissa Zifzal

In This Article

Serving the Lord is a mission Houston, Texas, residents Mark and Katie Hartfiel embrace with joy.

Their journey began at Franciscan University, when they were in the same theology class. They became friends first, then dated later. For years prior, Katie had been writing letters to her unknown future husband and covering him with prayer; she realized later her intercession began the same week Mark experienced a powerful conversion. It’s a love story they recount in their book Woman in Love.

Katie, who majored in theology, says she always felt called to serve God.

“I was the product of a vibrant, life-changing parish,” she comments. “I went to Franciscan with the intention of serving the Church.”

Katie has worked in youth ministry, authored several books, including Provide the Armor released in May, and has served as a Steubenville Youth Conference speaker for more than 10 years. In September, she’ll be directing a parish-based women’s program, She Shall Be Called Woman, through Paradisus Dei, an organization that helps couples and families grow closer to Christ. She also homeschools the couple’s four children who range in age from 5 to 15.

“I definitely wanted to do ministry,” says Mark, “but if ministry didn’t work out, I was open to having a secular job.”

He double majored in theology and finance, an astute choice that has served him well as vice president of Paradisus Dei. He creates content for That Man Is You, a parish program that encourages men to be godly leaders of their families, and the Mysteries of the Rosary series and also coordinates budgets and staffing.

This stage of life is hectic with work and family responsibilities—Katie jokes one of her hobbies is “trying not to drown”—but the couple includes time for each other. They especially look forward to enjoying coffee together on weekend mornings. Katie and Mark try to exercise together as well, and now that their oldest is 15, they can go out for an occasional date night.

Their alma mater still makes an impact on their lives. Katie recalls the profound faith-building experience she had through the Franciscan LEAD program, which provides weeklong leadership, evangelization, and discipleship training for teens prior to select Steubenville Youth Conferences. Now, their oldest daughter has submitted her own LEAD application.

Mark says Paradisus Dei frequently hires Franciscan graduates because of their dedication to God, service, and evangelism, and he collaborates with professors such as Dr. John Bergsma, Dr. Scott Hahn, and Dr. Mark Miravalle and President Father Dave Pivonka, TOR ’89, on his ministry projects. The Hartfiels appreciate these connections to the place where they first started their lives and ministry together.


Melissa Zifzal writes from Wintersville, Ohio.

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