To forgo in Fargo: wealthy businessman joining the Franciscans

To forgo in Fargo: wealthy businessman joining the Franciscans June 14, 2011

He’s giving up his fortune — and some degree of fame — for a life of poverty, chastity and obedience.


Dennis Narlock has cooked for Hollywood stars and built a well-known local catering business throughout the past three decades.

But Narlock plans to walk away from his business and his cooking career at the end of the year. He says he will also give up his personal wealth and all his worldly possessions after joining a recently-established Catholic religious order in the Diocese of Fargo.

“We all have a calling in life to do something,” he said. “Sometimes, the call changes. You may be called to this at this point in your life, then things change in your life where you’re called to do something else.”

Narlock, who has also gone by the moniker Chef NarDane, will close his business, A Touch of Magic, once his lease in the Boardwalk building in downtown East Grand Forks expires at the end of the year.

A Touch of Magic will stay open for the rest of the year honoring all its booked events, but will not book any new events for next year.

Dan Stauss, who co-owns the building, said the space will continue to be used for banquets. Stauss said he has a new tenant lined up and improvements planned for the space. The downstairs Boardwalk Bar & Grill has opened a bar on the patio that it is operating Sundays through Thursdays and other times the catering business is not using the space.

Narlock, 46, is known in the community for his colorful personality and his expensive tastes in addition to his cooking prowess and successful catering business. He says members of the local business community and even some members of his own family have been surprised by his choice to give up everything he owns and the business he built in favor of a more simple life filled with prayer and religious service.

Narlock has moved into the former rectory at the St. Stanislaus Church near Warsaw, N.D., with two other candidates of the Third Order Franciscans of Mary Immaculate religious community and Father Joseph Christensen, who will lead the new order.

It is a bit more cramped than his former residence — a posh 2,432-square-foot, three-bedroom, four-bathroom townhome in south Grand Forks complete with an outdoor spa, waterfall and an outdoor kitchen that he has put on the market for $499,900, including expensive furnishings.

“I used to just love (my home and personal possessions),” he said as he stood in his gourmet kitchen overlooking a sunken living room featuring an ornate fireplace and dueling 300-gallon aquariums. “I still like nice things, but it’s different. This is all I used to think about, but when I experienced the joy of Christ and a deepening of my faith into religious life, everything else just falls aside and I don’t think of it in the same way. I’ve done the money and the fame and it doesn’t make me any happier.”

Read more. And  keep him in your prayers!

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9 responses to “To forgo in Fargo: wealthy businessman joining the Franciscans”

  1. The Franciscans will be eating well., it seems.. Expensive tastes? Hope that jives with the vow of poverty.

  2. He is just starting out in this new life. Wish him luck. Hope it is all he thinks it will be.

  3. The good thing about having had money is you can be convinced it doesn’t buy happiness in a way that the chronically poor probably can’t.

  4. Dennis’s story follows the pattern of many individuals in the franciscan order….including Francis himself…the son of a wealthy cloth merchant.
    Dennis learned the lesson that many of us need to learn…
    money doesn’t buy happiness or a sense of wholeness.
    We can find that only with our God.
    Best Wishes to Dennis! Pace Bene!

  5. Cynicism in (1) is as disappointing as it is surprising, especially from one who claims to be a deacon. Let’s take our cue from Dennis Narlock rather make his story the butt of juvenile jokes. To Dennis: Pax et bonum!

  6. God bless you, Mr. Narlock! Fr. Christensen is the best!! Hey, since you have to part with your wealth, maybe you could buy our old Seminary building here in Fargo to make sure it keeps being used for good purposes. Eventually the Franciscan’s are going to need something bigger anyway, right?? :o)

  7. What an epic journey you are about to embark on Dennis! Best wishes to you and many prayers for a fulfilled life with Christ. We can’t wait to see all the good you guys are going to bring in the months and years to come! Thank you for your sacrifices.

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