The Enduring Power of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Principles of Nonviolence

Fifty years after the death of one of the greatest civil rights leaders of any time, the teachings of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continue to resonate in a society plagued by violence and racial discord. 

 Dialogue surrounding issues of race and the quest for a more just society continue to take place here in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and in other communities across our country. 

 The Catholic Bishops of the United States have established a Committee Against Racism and are preparing a national pastoral letter on racism. In view of these and other important conversations now underway, I thought it appropriate to reflect on Dr. King’s teaching on nonviolent direct action and to propose questions aimed at furthering introspection, dialogue and constructive change.

 In that spirit I ask you to receive my pastoral reflection, “The Enduring Power of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Principles of Nonviolence,” with a prayer that it will help us all focus anew on Dr. King’s prophetic teaching and bring about true and lasting social change for the common good.

 I have asked our clergy to address in their preaching the evil of racism. I also invite you to enter into dialogue at the parish and archdiocesan levels. A forum for such discussion is part of the pastoral letter webpage. 

 Please join me in praying that open and honest discussions will lead to greater understanding and civility as together we rid our society of racism, intolerance, injustice and violence.


A Light Brightly Visible in West Baltimore

It was a pleasure to visit St. Edward in West Baltimore this weekend to offer Holy Mass and spend time with the parish family. I’m especially thankful for the leadership of Father Honest Munishi. We are all very grateful to the Spiritans, Father Honest’s religious community, for making available to us all such a wonderful priest. And we are grateful to Father Honest for his love of the St. Edward’s community and his service to the wider community.

Parishioners of St. Edward are no strangers to what makes headlines in the media: high crime, homelessness, drugs and a host of other social problems. In the midst of so many heart-rending social problems, St. Edward stands out as a beautiful community of faith, worship and service.

The parish community of St. Edward is a “light brightly visible” in the Mosher neighborhood of our city. Parishioners actively reach out to their neighbors – whether through participating in prayer walks, offering a food pantry or hosting a job-training site for Catholic Charities.

Above all, St. Edwards shines bright with the Word of God and the sacraments and seeks to share the Word of God effectively and convincingly in this part of our beloved City of Baltimore.

Read Archbishop Lori’s homily from his Jan. 28 Mass at St. Edward HERE.

Baltimore is on the Rise (Adapted from remarks given to the leadership of Catholic Charities)

In the season of Advent, the light of God’s love dawns upon a people living in darkness. This is Advent season in the City of Baltimore. So often, all we see or hear about Baltimore is gloom and doom. The news is mostly about violence, drugs, homelessness, and poverty. These are very real and heartbreaking problems which we cannot ignore. What kind of people would we be if these things didn’t break our hearts?

Yet a broken heart is not enough. We also need to have a hopeful heart and there is hope aplenty all around us – as this Kianna’s beautiful talk showed us. I would say that goodness is on the rise in Baltimore and beyond and that Catholic Charities is leading the way. It isn’t about talk. Catholic Charities is all about action. It’s all about acting on the bedrock conviction that each person is endowed by God with dignity, indeed a spark of the divine exists in the depths of each person. This is what drives programs that face head on the very real human problems all around us – Our Daily Bread, job training, Safe Streets, housing, behavioral health programs and so much so – services delivered effectively and professionally but also with a heart, services delivered with faith and love.

Yes, goodness is on the rise, right here in Baltimore. Unfortunately that is a well-kept secret. Negative narratives feed on themselves, become self-fulfilling prophecies, and only deepen our problems.

The friends and supporters of Catholic Charities, can do something about this. All of us have influence in greater Baltimore. All of us have networks. We have the power to change the negative narrative about Baltimore. Instead of gloom and doom, the narrative we embrace is that goodness is on the rise. The narrative we embrace is that by journeying together we can create a brighter future.

Thank you for helping goodness to be on the rise here in Baltimore and beyond. May you experience the fullness of joy and the greatest of blessings during this Holy Season of Christmas!

Archbishop Lori’s Homily: 2nd Sunday of Advent

“Good morning! I’m delighted to return to Transfiguration Catholic Community to celebrate a Sunday Mass, especially in this beautiful season of Advent, when we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ at Christmas and at the end of time.

“Before reflecting with you on today’s Scriptures, I would like to take a moment to thank all of you for your being a light brightly visible in this part of Baltimore City. By your zeal for the Word of God, by your vibrant and heartfelt worship, and by the missionary and charitable outreach of this parish, you show the possibility of a way of life that is transfigured by the goodness and beauty of Jesus – and for that I sincerely thank you. This community of faith will continue to play an essential role in the evangelization of the City of Baltimore and I look forward to the work we will do together now and in the years ahead.”

Read the complete homily HERE.

Merry Christmas from Archbishop Lori

Dear Friend in Christ,

There is a popular expression often heard this time of year urging people to “Keep Christ in Christmas,” a not-so-subtle reminder to focus on the true meaning of the holiday as we are rushing around trying to complete a seemingly endless to-do list in the run-up to the Big Day. The Archdiocese has taken a similar page from this familiar slogan in its annual Christmas radio ad campaign inviting people to “Make time for Mass” this Christmas.

While it may, at times, seem difficult to add even one more thing to our schedules this month, when we take time to pray–either alone, with our family, or during Mass, we experience a kind of spiritual “rejuvenation” that helps us to remain focused on Jesus’ birth and strengthens us with the closeness to Christ that comes from prayer. Whether you attend Mass regularly, a few times a year or not at all, please consider attending Mass at a parish near you this Christmas.

Another way we can keep Jesus at the center of our Christmas celebration is by bringing hope into the lives of those less fortunate. I was grateful once again to participate in the Knights of Columbus’ annual Coats for Kids campaign earlier this month. I helped my brother Knights hand out 1,100 warm winter coats to needy children in West Baltimore. The joy on the faces of the children was greater than any gift I could receive and reminded me how blessed we are when we share the gift of God’s love with those around us. Whether volunteering at a Catholic Charities program or making a donation to one of the many programs and ministries supported by our Archdiocese, we have many ways of sharing God’s love with those in need, a true Christmas gift for those we help, but even more so for us!

With joyful anticipation of the birth of our Savior, I pray that you and your loved ones will have a blessed Advent and a very Merry Christmas.

Faithfully in Christ,

Most Reverend William E. Lori
Archbishop of Baltimore

Archbishop Lori’s Homily: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time; Knights of Columbus Mid-Year Meeting

“As we approach the end of this current liturgical year, the Scripture readings at Mass call us to reflect on the final judgment when Christ will come ‘to judge the living and the dead.’ The tale of the three servants in today’s Gospel is a case in point. The Master of the household is Jesus and the household in question is the Church. Each of us is represented by the servants to whom the Master entrusted a portion of his wealth. Just so, through the Holy Spirit, the Lord has given each of us ‘talents’ and has given us a lifetime to develop and use those talents One day, however, the Lord will return in glory to ask us what we did with them. This is the question the Gospel poses to you and me: What am I doing with the ‘talents’ God gave me?

“Now, the word ‘talents’ means that share of God’s own goods, the inheritance, if you will, that he has entrusted to each of us. And so it might refer to the natural talents God has given us and we need to ask if we developing and using our talents or wasting them. The word ‘talent’ can also refer to the material blessings bestowed on us. Are we using those blessings not only for ourselves but also for the good of others? Above all, the word ‘talent’ refers to the spiritual blessings which God, in his mercy, has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Among those spiritual blessings is the call to be a leader in the Knights of Columbus, and the many opportunities for spiritual growth through charity the Order offers us. What are we doing with all these wonderful gifts?”

Read the complete homily HERE.