by Amy Alderman
WALLA WALLA, Wash., November 25, 2014 - Surrounded by family, mentors and colleagues, Mario DeLise, MDiv, BCC, was ordained for ministry in the Seventh-day Adventist Church on November 12, 2014 at Walla Walla General Hospital. The ceremony highlighted Mario’s journey into ministry, and the sacred calling of being a hospital chaplain.
“People do not always understand what a chaplain’s ministry entails,” said Paul Crampton, AVP of Mission and Spiritual Care for Adventist Health. “This service was a wonderful chance to highlight both the ministry God has given Mario, as well as the ministry of chaplains in general.”
Mario grew up as the youngest of three children in Deptford, New Jersey. He attended a local Baptist high school for two years before graduating from Shenandoah Valley Academy in Virginia. In 1994, at a Christmas Eve program in Brunswick, Maine, where the faith of Mario’s childhood became personal and transformational. “As we stood for the closing song I could see and feel something moving amidst the people singing,” said Mario. “It was a very low point in my life, but suddenly I found myself overwhelmed by a sense of peace and fulfillment. That moment was the beginning of a new life for me.”
Mario attended colleges in New Jersey and Tennessee before graduating from Andrews University with a bachelor’s degree in religion in 2000, and a Masters of Divinity in 2004. It was at Andrews University that Mario met Melissa who was working toward a MS degree in physical therapy. The couple married in 2002.
Two years later they moved to Seattle, where Mario completed his first unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. Soon after, they moved to O’ahu, Hawaii where he completed six more units of CPE at Pacific Health Ministries in Honolulu. In 2006, Mario accepted a call to Howard Memorial Hospital and Phoenix Hospice in Willits, Calif., serving as Chaplain and Director for Spiritual Care for three years. While there, Mario and Melissa delighted in the birth of their daughter, Rachel, in 2007. In 2009, Mario came to Walla Walla General Hospital where he has since served as the Chaplain and Director for Spiritual Care.
And in 2010, Mario and Melissa welcomed their son, Alexander, into the world. “All along our journey, we have seen the grace and faithfulness of God,” said Mario. “It amazes me how God rejoices over us despite our frailty and that He draws us in to do His work. It is beautiful and humbling and it leaves us grateful.