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Baltimore archdiocese wins appeal on pregnancy centers, free speech

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BALTIMORE — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit struck down a Baltimore ordinance that would have forced pro-life pregnancy centers in the city to post signs stating they do not provide or refer for abortions or contraceptives.

The 3-0 decision Jan. 5 upholds a lower federal court’s ruling.

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Maryland priest hopes summer convocation sparks missionary renewal

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Catholic News Service

 

WESTMINSTER, Md. — For Father Mark Bialek, being a priest means enabling his parishioners to evangelize in new ways.

“We can’t just sit comfortably anymore in our parishes and our chanceries and in our homes, but we have to actually go to where the sheep are,” Father Bialek said, comparing the church to a flock.

Father Bialek will attend the “Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America,” a national gathering in Orlando, Florida, from July 1-4, to learn about evangelization and share ideas with other Catholic leaders. Read more »

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New Baltimore auxiliary bishops offer thanks to clergy and families

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — Following their Jan. 19 episcopal ordination Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, new Auxiliary Bishops Adam J. Parker and Mark E. Brennan of Baltimore recalled the litany of the saints, during which they lay prostrate before the altar.

“I felt a lot of joy and a tremendous hope for what is to come in the future, and for the future of ministry in the Archdiocese of Baltimore,” Bishop Parker said as he was whisked to the post-Mass reception.

Auxiliary Bishops Mark E. Brennan and Adam J. Parker hold the apostolic mandates naming them bishops of the Archdiocese of Baltimore during their Jan. 19 ordination Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. (CNS photo/Kevin J. Parks, Catholic Review)

Auxiliary Bishops Mark E. Brennan and Adam J. Parker hold the apostolic mandates naming them bishops of the Archdiocese of Baltimore during their Jan. 19 ordination Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. (CNS photo/Kevin J. Parks, Catholic Review)

“I was praying along with the litany,” Bishop Brennan said with a grin while obliging the camera-wielding faithful who had momentarily cornered him and his priest handler. “Lord, have mercy on me. Lord, hear my prayer.”

Close to 2,000 gathered in the cathedral on an unusually sunny and mild January afternoon to witness and take part in the ceremony, led by principal celebrant and consecrator Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori.

The archbishop was joined by co-consecrators Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, where Bishop Brennan served as a parish priest before his elevation to the episcopacy; and Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher and former archbishop Baltimore, whom Bishop Parker had served as priest-secretary from 2007 to 2013.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York concelebrated the Mass; he was rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome while Bishop Parker studied there from 1995 to 2001. Bishop Brennan also studied at that college, from 1970 to 1974.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the U.S., read the mandates from Pope Francis authorizing the ordinations, and drew laughter from the pews when he opted to begin with “the older one,” Bishop Brennan, who is 69. Bishop Parker is 45.

Archbishop Lori also broached the age topic, referring in his homily to the first reading, which was from Jeremiah and read by Sister Maria Luz Ortiz of the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart. In it God steamrolls the young prophet’s fretting: “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak.”

“So, Bishop Brennan, let no one take advantage of your youth and inexperience,” the archbishop quipped, adding on a more serious note: “After all, you know, Bishop Brennan and I, we’ve been in priestly ministry a little over 40 years -– we go way back.”

Archbishop Lori shared some insight on the role of bishops.

“The greatest challenge in being a bishop is not administration; it’s not public relations; and it’s not fundraising,” he said. “The greatest challenge is to be always and everywhere an example for God’s people. This is how we become witnesses of hope; this is how we strive to be authentic shepherds.”

He exhorted Bishop Parker and Bishop Brennan to teach the faith “not as words to be followed but as words of spirit and life that transform us from the inside out and make us bearers of the peace of Christ in a world that is broken, a nation that is divided, and in communities that are in need of healing.”

After promising to uphold the faith and fulfill their duties, and after lying prostrate before the altar, Bishop Parker kneeled in reverence as Archbishop Lori laid his hands on his head, a sign of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, followed by Cardinal Wuerl and Cardinal O’Brien.

The archbishop and the two co-consecrators did the same for Bishop Brennan; then the other bishops present laid their hands on both men.

Ending the rite of ordination, Archbishop Lori anointed Bishop Parker and Bishop Brennan with holy chrism and presented each with his Book of the Gospels, episcopal ring, crosier and miter.

“This is the day the Lord has made,” Bishop Parker said in his remarks at the end of Mass. “Let us rejoice and be glad.”

He thanked “the Lord for calling me to the priesthood and now giving me its fullness” as well as the people of the Baltimore Archdiocese for their prayers and “profound encouragement.”

He thanked Archbishop Lori for ordaining him and Cardinal O’Brien for his guidance and friendship. “You have changed my priesthood forever,” Bishop Parker told the cardinal.

Finally, he thanked his mother, Maureen Parker, who sat in the front row and was first to receive Communion from the new bishop.

“It was from you and Dad I first heard about Jesus Christ,” Bishop Parker told her, also acknowledging his father, George Parker, who died in 2012. “To you I owe gratitude for my life and my faith.”

Bishop Brennan thanked those who came before him in the succession begun with the Apostles.

“We stand today, all of us here, on the shoulders of giants,” he said.

He also acknowledged his parents, both deceased, who had taken him and his brother, Paul, who was present, to Mass and confession.

“They grounded us in the Catholic faith in a very simple and unpretentious way,” he said.

Bishop Brennan also noted that his elevation to the episcopacy was not the first unexpected change in his ministry. He said in the Washington archdiocese, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, then the archbishop there, “sent me from a nice little parish in Northwest Washington … to a huge, multicultural parish, St. Martin of Tours” in suburban Maryland. “It opened me up ever more to serving people who speak differently and look differently than I do.”

He also delivered remarks in Spanish and French, primary languages of the immigrants he served at St. Martin.

Archbishop Lori reflected on his first time ordaining bishops.

“It was a very moving experience,” he told the Catholic Review, the archdiocesan news outlet. “As the ceremony unfolded, it just took on a life of its own thanks to the Holy Spirit.”

Thinking of all the people in the Baltimore Archdiocese thankful for two new leaders to share the work, he said, “I’m at the top of that list.”

— By Eric Zygmont

Zygmont is on the staff of the Catholic Review, the website and magazine of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. George P. Matysek Jr. contributed to this story.

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Baltimore archdiocese marks 225th anniversary with day ‘full of joy’

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Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE — In a day “full of joy” for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Catholics from Maryland and beyond packed the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore for a Mass Nov. 2 to celebrate the 225th anniversary of its founding as the first diocese in the United States.

Before the Mass, Archbishop William E. Lori, 16th archbishop of Baltimore, said he was grateful for those who had gone before.

Wilmington's Bishop Malooly (center) processes into Baltimore's rCathedral of Mary Our Queen in for a Mass to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Baltimore's founding as the first diocese in the United States. Bishop Malooly is a former auxiliary bishop of Baltimore. At right, is Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden, at left, is Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia. (Photo by Tom Lorsung/www.lorsungphotos.com

Wilmington’s Bishop Malooly (center) processes into Baltimore’s Cathedral of Mary Our Queen for a Mass on Nov. 2 to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s founding as the first diocese in the United States. Bishop Malooly is a former auxiliary bishop of Baltimore. At right, is Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden, at left, is Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia. (Photo by Tom Lorsung/www.lorsungphotos.com

“We’re standing on their shoulders,” he said, “and I’m hopeful for the future.”

The two-hour celebration began with a procession of banners from all the schools in the archdiocese and a large Knights of Columbus honor guard. About 200 seminarians joined the procession, followed by deacons, priests, an archbishop and nine bishops, plus Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, a former archbishop of Baltimore.

In greetings at the beginning of Mass, Cardinal O’Brien, who is now the grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, based in Rome, recalled joining Pope Francis for a Mass last spring in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, where Jesus established the Mass and the Eucharist.

He noted that Pope Francis wondered how much love and goodness had flowed from that Upper Room into the centuries.

“That river of goodness and charity touched our American shores almost 700 years ago with the arrival of Christian explorers and missionaries,” the cardinal said. “Rivers of goodness and charity nourished the first secure planting of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States right here in Baltimore 225 years ago.”

He added that the original Diocese of Baltimore, established Nov. 6, 1789, with about 25,000 Catholics, now encompasses 195 dioceses with 65 million Catholics.

In his homily, Archbishop Lori noted that Archbishop John Carroll, America’s first bishop, accepted a huge challenge to shepherd a region that stretched from Canada to Florida and Louisiana, and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi.

“In 1789,” Archbishop Lori said, “there were about 25,000 Catholics, only a few priests, and a few churches, and most of these churches were in disrepair with little financial support in sight.”

Bishop Carroll “accepted the challenge of helping the Catholic Church make its way in a new republic that was itself an experiment in democracy and freedom; even so, Catholics would face an uphill climb in becoming part of this new society.”

Archbishop Lori praised the clergy and men and women religious who had contributed to the growth of the church and its mission to educate and minister to those who are ill or poor.

“Yet the story of the Archdiocese of Baltimore isn’t written only by priests and religious,” Archbishop Lori said. “Mostly, it is written by you, the lay women and men of this archdiocese. It is being written in the homes you have established where the faith is handed on from generation to generation.

“That history is being written by young people who are coming of age in the church and taking their rightful place within it.”

He called on the faithful of the archdiocese to be missionary disciples, “relentlessly asking the questions: What does the mission require of us? How should we be present in every neighborhood of this local church?”

He said the archdiocese needs to continue to assist families as the center of evangelization, to reach out to diverse cultures and to promote the dignity of all human life.

“What should we do to make our parish communities vibrant, our schools solid and our charities signs of Christ’s compassionate love for the vulnerable?” the archbishop asked.

Ruth Vinga, a parishioner of St. Gabriel in Woodlawn who is originally from Cameroon, joined a group of women dressed in bright skirts featuring the image of Mary as they gathered around the archbishop at the end of Mass. They sang and danced as the archbishop laughed with them.

Vinga said she was excited to participate in the Mass because the archdiocese has accepted immigrants from Cameroon and their culture.

“They accepted our devotion to our Blessed Mother,” she told the Catholic Review, Baltimore’s archdiocesan newspaper. “Archbishop Lori has been very supportive of us.”

Rob Judge, executive director of the National Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, came to the Mass with his wife, Kathleen, and their seven children.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who founded the Sisters of Charity, established what is recognized as the first Catholic school in the United States and is the first American-born saint. Judge said he was glad to celebrate the 225th anniversary with other Catholics.

“This is a real celebration of the faith and God’s mercy, to continue to be a vehicle for God’s grace,” the parishioner of St. Mary Parish in Hagerstown said after the Mass.

 

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