Home Our Diocese Diocese of Wilmington milestones of 2018: Sesquicentennial, pilgrimages, convocation and more

Diocese of Wilmington milestones of 2018: Sesquicentennial, pilgrimages, convocation and more

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sesquicentennial
Pope Francis greets Bishop Malooly in Rome during the diocesan pilgrimage celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Diocese of Wilmington.

The year 2018 was memorable for the Diocese of Wilmington as the focal point was recognition of its 150th anniversary representing Catholics in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

It was a year of celebrations, pilgrimages and prayer for churches, parishioners and anyone who wanted to recognize the rich history of the church in our region.

January
Bishop Malooly urged voters to tell their legislators that government has no business making end-of-life decisions and that lawmakers should vote down a physician-assisted suicide proposal. In a letter to members of the Delaware General Assembly, the bishop highlighted nine chief concerns he believes should eliminate the bill from consideration, including the proposed legislation’s requirement of “physicians and others to make intentional misstatements on official records.” The bishop says a doctor signing a death certificate “must list the underlying terminal illness as the cause of death.”

William Hoffman of St. Mark’s High School and Joseph DiGregorio of Archmere Academy were the recipients of the 2017 Michael DeLucia Sportsmanship Award, presented annually to a senior football player from a Delaware Catholic high school.

February
St. Christopher’s Catholic Church in Chester, Md., joined more than 540 other churches in all 50 states and in 16 countries to hold the “Night to Shine” prom Feb. 9 for people with special needs. St. Christopher’s was one of nine churches in Maryland to participate, and the only Catholic Church on the Delmarva peninsula. About 100 guests—ranging in age from 14 through senior citizens – took part at St. Christopher’s.

Ray Manza, president of the Wilmington chapter of Legatus, was honored as east regional president of the year by the Catholic businessperson’s group.

Bishop Malooly welcomed 162 people into the church at the Diocese of Wilmington Rite of Election in Dover.

March
Bishop Malooly kicked off the Diocese of Wilmington sesquicentennial with a Mass at Cathedral of St. Peter. Dozens of priests joined the bishop at the opening celebration.

Bishop Malooly led 625 young people on his annual pilgrimage through the streets of Wilmington.

Cindy Mann was reinstated as principal at Padua Academy. Students protested after Mann was fired over a disagreement about the financial relationship between the all-girls high school and St. Anthony of Padua parish.

More than 60 priests renewed their priestly promises while concelebrating with Bishop Malooly the annual Chrism Mass during which the bishop blessed sacred oils to be used during the year in the 56 parishes in the diocese.

April
Louis De Angelo and the Diocese of Wilmington shared center stage at the National Catholic Education Association convention in Cincinnati during the first week of April. De Angelo, superintendent of schools for the diocese, was one of three superintendents nationwide to be named winner of the Lead. Learn. Proclaim Award.

Annecy
Historic buildings are part of the surroundings in Annecy, France.

As the sesquicentennial celebration of the Diocese of Wilmington continued, a group of 133 people from throughout the diocese launched its 10-day pilgrimage to France and Italy. The group left April 16 for its trip to Annecy and Rome. The journey led by Bishop Malooly was tracked with daily reports on thedialog.org. “Annecy to Rome: Diary of #CDOW150th” included photos and details of the trip each day.

More than 350 people joined Bishop Malooly at the Chase Center on the Riverfront on April 11 to honor the Buccini family at the annual tribute dinner by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Wilmington. Honorees were D. Robert and Bernadette Buccini and their sons, Rob and Chris, winners of the Msgr. Thomas J. Reese award.

May
The St. Thomas More Society of the Diocese of Wilmington honored Bishop Malooly with its Msgr. Paul J. Taggart St. Thomas More Award. The award was presented at the society’s 30th annual dinner.

Marydale
A gathering of people assemble at rededication of Marydale Retirement Village on May 2, 2018. (Dialog photo/Don Blake)

Bishop Malooly presided at the rededication of Marydale, the affordable housing community in Newark managed by the Diocese of Wilmington Catholic Charities through Catholic Ministry to the Elderly Inc. A complete renovation of the 18-acre complex finished last year and included more than $8 million of improvements.

Christ the Teacher Catholic School announced that it will break ground on a $4.3 million new classroom and gymnasium addition. In addition, St. Margaret of Scotland Parish also announced it will break ground on a parish social hall, completing the campus master plan at the corner of Frazer Road and Route 40 in Glasgow.

June
Joanna Wicks was named Miss Delaware 2018 and represented the state at the Miss America competition in September. She is a teacher at St. Thomas More Academy in Magnolia.

More than 200 Catholic youth and adult leaders descended on Delaware for a Catholic Heart Workcamp. Participants performed a variety of service projects throughout Delaware and on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Wilmington produced 915 graduates in the 2018 class.

July
Pledges to the Annual Catholic Appeal topped the $5-million mark for the third straight year, with more than five months left for gifts to be made.

A group of five incoming seminarians joins six current men studying for the priesthood in the diocese and could be part of a trend toward vocations, said Father Norman Carroll, vocations director for the diocese. He said it is one of the larger groups in recent years

Diocese of Wilmington rosary
A custom-designed, limited-edition rosary commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington is now available.

A custom-designed, limited-edition rosary commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington was made available. The dark red and gold rosaries, manufactured in Italy by the Ghirelli Company, were blessed by Pope Francis.

August
Bishop Malooly offered prayers for Father William Graney, pastor of Resurrection parish, who was attacked at parish offices by a homeless man he was trying to help. The bishop said Father Graney’s condition is improving.

Bishop Malooly blessed the water at Ocean City, Md., on the feast of the Assumption. The blessing at the water’s edge happened after Mass about two blocks away at Holy Savior Church.

After the most recent investigation of sexual abuse by clergy and insufficient action by church leaders, Bishop Malooly said he’s thankful that the diocese has not had any reported cases of inappropriate conduct in more than two decades. The bishop’s comments come in the wake of a grand jury report based on a two-year investigation by Pennsylvania’s attorney general into sexual abuse claims in six dioceses in the state.

September

Bishop Malooly
Bishop Malooly delivers his homily Sept. 1 at St. Francis Xavier Shrine.

Bishop Malooly celebrated morning Mass Sept. 1 at St. Francis Xavier Shrine (Old Bohemia), the mother church of the Diocese of Wilmington, as part of the yearlong sesquicentennial celebration for the diocese. The bishop told more than 60 people gathered at the rural landmark that the first service celebrated in 1704 occurred at a time when it was not legal for Catholics to publicly celebrate Mass.

More than a handful of local congregations gathered together at Holy Rosary Church to remember those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks 17 years ago, first responders who sacrifice themselves to help the victims and those who serve in the global war on terrorism. Together, leaders and members of various congregations came together in unity.

Wilmington resident Father Barry Strong was elected as the 12th superior general at the 20th general chapter of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales held in Annecy, France.

Two history books, “Rejoicing in the Lord,” and “Family of Faith” have been published to help commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington.

Longtime Dialog editor and staff writer Gary Morton died Saturday after a brief illness. He was 68. A Texas native, Gary was the southern gentleman of the Dialog news operation who came to work at the Diocese of Wilmington in 1996.

October
The annual diocesan Marian Pilgrimage took place Oct. 6 at Holy Spirit Church in New Castle, home of the Our Lady Queen of Peace shrine. The pilgrimage included the unveiling of “Our Lady of Wilmington,” the painting commissioned for the sesquicentennial.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. That was the message of the Gospel reading at the annual Blue Mass, which honors police, firefighters and other first responders at St. Elizabeth Church. Bishop Malooly celebrated the Mass, joined by Msgr. Steven Hurley, himself a former police officer, along with Fathers Norman Carroll and Brian Lewis.

A familiar face in the pro-life movement, Kristan Hawkins was guest speaker when Delaware Right to Life hosted its annual dinner at Clayton Hall at the University of Delaware.

November
The Delaware Department of Justice announced Nov. 1 it is conducting an investigation into potential criminal conduct engaged in by priests or personnel of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, according to a statement. “We welcome this investigation and are fully cooperating,” the diocese said in a statement.

Bishop Malooly greets the gathering in Ocean City.
Bishop Malooly greets the gathering in Ocean City on Nov. 3.

Bishop Malooly welcomed more than 700 congregants Nov. 3 to Convocation 150 at the convention center in Ocean City, Md. Leaders from every parish in the diocese joined the convocation.

Every sixth-grader in 17 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Wilmington made the trek to Holy Cross parish in Dover to get some first-hand insight into what can call a person to vocations. Sister William Adele, assistant superintendent of schools for the diocese, coordinated the program that included priests, sisters, deacons, seminarians and Bishop Malooly.

December
Parishioners at St. Catherine of Siena in Wilmington prepared for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12 with a novena that began Dec. 3. Each night, members of the Hispanic community gathered at parishioners’ homes to pray the rosary in English and Spanish and to reflect on miracle of Guadalupe.

Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor in a presentation to Padua Academy students says she has let go of bitterness that came from the killing of family members.

Local businessman and philanthropist Rocco A. Abessinio and his wife, Mary, committed $16 million through their foundation to help build a new stadium where Baynard Stadium in Wilmington now sits.

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