Archbishop Lori’s Homily: Mass for the Sulpician General Council

“It is a pleasure to welcome you, the leadership of the Society of San Sulpice, to the Archdiocese of Baltimore – thank you for meeting here at St. Mary’s. As you know, the Society and the Archdiocese share a long and storied history. The arrival of the Sulpicians in Baltimore was truly a providential event not only for the newly founded See of Baltimore but indeed for the future of the Church in a new republic.

“I am reminded of this legacy constantly –not only when I visit Paca Street or St. Charles or St. Mary’s in Roland Park, but indeed in my residence and in the Basilica Cathedral to which it is attached. The Basilica of the Assumption was begun by Archbishop John Carroll in 1806 but it was the 3rd Archbishop of Baltimore, Archbishop Ambrose Maréchal – himself a Sulpician – who completed its construction and who, in large part, built my residence which serves also as the basilica rectory. Inscribed on the high altar of the Basilica are the initials ‘AM’ which mean, of course, ‘Auspice Maria’ – but they could also mean ‘Ambrose Maréchal’! In my residence hangs a beautiful portrait of the 3rd Archbishop of Baltimore together with a large cache of monumental paintings which Archbishop Maréchel allegedly coaxed from his friend, Cardinal Fesch – the erstwhile Archbishop of Lyon and uncle of Napoleon Bonaparte.”

Read the complete homily HERE.

A Painful, Necessary Reminder

“In May, Netflix released a seven-part series called “The Keepers,” which details the efforts of a number of people to solve the 1969 murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik, S.S.N.D.

“Sister Cathy, as she is known by many, had been a teacher at Archbishop Keough High School, which many of the individuals who are working today to help solve her murder attended. “The Keepers” relates that Sister Cathy was aware that students were being abused by a now-deceased priest, Joseph Maskell, who served as chaplain at Archbishop Keough, and suggests that her killing may have been related to what she knew about the abuse.”

Read the complete column HERE.

Archbishop Lori’s Homily: Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle; Closing Mass, Fortnight for Freedom

“When I was in the fourth or fifth grade, something awful happened. The sole television set in our house broke down and was pronounced unfixable. And let me tell you it was hard for me to adjust to life without Saturday morning cartoons and episodes of I Love Lucy, not to mention Bishop Fulton Sheen’s iconic series, Life Is Worth Living. Worse than all of the above was a conscious decision Mom and Dad made, namely, that we’d all be better off without television. After all, if Lowell Thomas was still broadcasting the news on the radio, what could we possibly miss?

“The demise of our television set and the decision not to buy a new one was hard to take. I did my best to pout, mope, and act as though life were not worth living – all to no avail. One Sunday night, however, I was at friend’s house ostensibly doing homework but actually watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom hosted by Marlin Perkins. While I was out, Mom and Dad received a phone call from our local parish. That day there had been a parish fund-raiser that included a raffle. The grand prize was a brand new Zenith T.V., and guess what, Mom and Dad had won it. When I returned home, Mom and Dad told me the good news but I didn’t believe it. In fact, I thought it was terrible that they’d make up such a story, knowing how I felt. It was only when the T.V. was delivered to our house later that night that I believed. Blessed are those who have not seen Leave It to Beaver yet still believe!”

Read the complete homily HERE.

Archbishop Lori’s Homily: Ordination of Kevin Ewing to the Priesthood

“Dear friends, we’ve gathered in joy to pray with and for Deacon Kevin Ewing as today he is ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Today’s ordination takes place on the Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist and so we ask this great saint not only to intercede for us but also to help us reflect on the beautiful mystery about to unfold before our eyes. Please listen and pray as, in the spirit of St. John the Baptist, I offer a few words of instruction and encouragement to Deacon Kevin, now on the cusp of priestly ordination.

“And so, now, Deacon Kevin, what does this great feast of John the Baptist’s birth say to you and to us all in this grace-filled moment? Might I begin with Isaiah  where the prophet says this of himself and of John the Baptist: ‘The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.’ And again, ‘For now, the Lord has spoken who formed me as his servant in my mother’s womb . . . .'”

Read the complete homily HERE.

“The Joy of the Gospel”

The annual Fortnight for Freedom kicked off June 21st with the Opening Mass at the Basilica of the Assumption with a beautiful liturgy. Leaders from across the Archdiocese of Baltimore and many Catholic organizations as well as local civic leaders gathered with the faithful to pray for religious freedom in our nation and around the world. In my homily, I spoke about Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher and their heroic witness to freedom for holiness and freedom for mission.

Freedom of religion is a fundamental, God-given human right that is recognized and enshrined in our Nation’s Constitution. It allows us to act in ways that serve the common good, as motivated by the Gospels and in accordance with our faith. It is one we need to pray for and to protect for the benefit of all Americans, and for future generations.

What better way to conclude this year’s Fortnight for Freedom than with a closing Mass in Orlando, Florida during “The Joy of the Gospel” National Convocation of Catholic Leaders. This will be a truly historic gathering of the Catholic Church in the United States. We will call on the Holy Spirit to inspire us as we seek to respond with one heart, one mind, and one voice to Pope Francis’s urgent call in The Joy of the Gospel to become and to make truly missionary disciples. In a word, to embrace our “missionary conversion.”

As Pope Paul VI reminded us some 40 years ago, the Catholic Church “exists to evangelize.” This is why religious freedom is so precious and so essential. This is why we need to be vigilant and, when necessary, to act to protect it.

In Orlando, we will be exercising this right with gratitude and much hope for the future. Together we will pray, listen, and learn from our most gifted leaders in mission and ministry as well as from one another. We will deepen our bonds of unity and solemnly commit ourselves to carrying out the mission of Jesus Christ in our place and in our time. And we will look for the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide our discussions, always with the will of the Lord and the good of His holy people foremost in our minds.

We look forward to returning to share with the people of the Archdiocese all what we have seen and heard. We ask your prayers for us during this time. And we hope to come home with fresh inspiration for our own Be Missionary Disciples Pastoral Planning process of missionary conversion.

Archbishop Lori’s Homily: Fortnight for Freedom 2017 Opening Mass

“The future must have seemed bright to Thomas More and John Fisher: The first, Sir Thomas More, was Chancellor of King Henry VIII. He enjoyed a widespread reputation for integrity and wisdom. In learning, in virtue, piety, and penance he was luminous. These qualities were reflected not only in his career but also in his household. Erasmus of Rotterdam, a famous humanist scholar and a keen observer of humanity, described More’s household thusly: ‘More had built for himself…a country house that is dignified and adequate without being so magnificent as to excite envy. Here he lives happily with his family… It would be difficult to find a man fonder of his children than he….’ Describing the formation More & his wife provided their children, Erasmus said this:  ‘You would say that Plato’s Academy had come to life again. But I wrong More’s home in comparing it to Plato’s Academy, for in the latter,  the chief subjects of discussion were arithmetic and geometry and occasionally ethics, but the former rather deserved the name of a school for the knowledge and practice of the Christian faith.’

“The second figure was John Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester. At 14 he was enrolled in Cambridge, at 22 ordained to the priesthood, at 35 years of age, he was appointed and ordained a bishop. Gentle and gifted by nature, Fisher not only excelled at Cambridge; he also contributed decisively to the excellence of Cambridge itself, and, to no one’s surprise, was appointed its Chancellor. Like More, Bishop John Fisher lived a life of penance and self-denial, all the while devoting himself entirely to the pastoral mission of his diocese. If More conducted his household with Christian learning and joy, Fisher conducted the household of the faith with holiness, learning, and diligence.”

Read the complete homily HERE.

Archbishop Lori’s Homily: Corpus Christi

“It has been said that life is a journey, not a destination. And isn’t it true that the longer we journey through life, the clearer it becomes that our final destination is not in this world. Experience also teaches that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to make this journey alone.

“All this was brought home to me some forty years ago, as a newly ordained priest. Back then, I considered myself a very busy person. After all, I had a parish to serve and a doctorate in theology to earn. I had to manage my time well and wisely so as to fit everything in. Among my stops one fine day was Prince George’s County Hospital where I visited a parishioner who was entering into the last hours of her life. Sad to say, I had “budgeted” only a certain amount of time for the visit.”

Read the complete homily HERE.