Fr. James Taranto
Fr. Jim Taranto became pastor of St. Mark's on July 1, 2005. Fr. Taranto comes to St. Mark's from St. Matthew the Apostle Parish were he was pastor.
Fr. Taranto is no stranger to Eastern Jackson County; he served as an associate at our neighboring parishes, Nativity and St. Bernadette.
Director of Pastoral Care
Lee joined St. Mark's Catholic Church, in Independence, MO in July, 2001 and is Director of Pastoral Care, Grief Recovery Facilitator, Director of the
BeFrienders ministry, and Director of Marriage Preparation. Prior to St. Mark's he worked as a Funeral Director and Embalmer for 45 years, and was
the owner of Ward Funeral Homes in Chilhowee, MO and Urich, MO for many years. Lee was a United Methodist pastor for 17 years. He and his wife, Emily,
began attending St. Mark's in 1998 and enrolled in the RCIA process in 1999. They became parishioners in 2000 after completing the RCIA. Lee is
certified as an Advanced Bereavement Facilitator. He is a graduate of St. Paul's School of Theology and also has an Associate's degree in Mortuary
Science. Lee has authored two books on the Civil War, his latest entitled "Coffins, Kits and More: Stories of the Civil War Embalmer." Of more than
50,000 books written on the subject of the Civil War, this is the only book specifically written on the subject of embalming. Lee also owns and
maintains a private museum dedicated to the Civil War and funeral merchandise up to the 1960s. It is open and free for tours and may be combined with a
lecture on the Civil War embalmer. Lee also does extensive lecturing to clubs and groups. Lee and Emily have been married for 42 years and have two
children and five grandchildren.