By Paul McMullen
Planning a getaway or filling in your 2017 calendar? Keep in mind the cultural, social and spiritual offerings in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. A month-by-month rundown of some options follows. Photos are from the Catholic Review files.
Mother Seton’s roots
Trek to Emmitsburg near the Jan. 4 feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first native-born citizen of the U.S. to be canonized. Visit the national shrine that bears her name and remains, then linger at one of her favorite stops, the Shrine Grotto of Lourdes (pictured) at Mount St. Mary’s University and Seminary.
Also: Check out “The Game,” the Institute of Notre Dame-Mercy High basketball tradition at Towson’s SECU Arena Jan. 27.
Catholics in Annapolis
Share your concerns with state legislators at the Maryland Catholic Conference’s annual “Lobby Night” Feb. 15. Park at St. John Neumann Mission Church and take a complimentary shuttle to the state capitol.
Also: During Black History Month, make an educational pilgrimage to sites associated with Mother Mary Lange, who founded the Oblate Sisters of Providence and St. Frances Academy.
Go west – for hoops
The Alhambra Catholic Invitational Basketball Tournament at Frostburg State March 17-19, hosted by Bishop Walsh School, pits the best of the Baltimore Catholic League and the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. Its 2014 match-ups, pictured, included Melo Trimble against Phil Booth Jr., now starring, respectively, for Maryland and NCAA champion Villanova.
Also: The archdiocesan Social Justice Convocation is at Seton Keough High School March 4. Any spot on Charles Street south of the Washington Monument will do for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 12. The Catholic Men’s Fellowship of Maryland annual conference is March 25, at Morgan State University.
Monday of Holy Week, April 10, means the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland, where Archbishop William E. Lori blesses and consecrates the sacramental oils to be used in the coming year.
Also: Slow down and support your parish’s Rite of Election candidates and confirmandi at an Easter Vigil Mass April 15.
The month of Mary is the perfect time to visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, America’s first cathedral.
Also: Ensure the future of the church by embracing the World Day of Prayer for Vocations May 7. There are no “Arabbers” hawking produce, but the Strawberry Festival at St. Francis of Assisi in Mayfield May 27 is another Baltimore tradition that celebrates the bounty of the season.
It seems as if every one of the nearly 5,000 families at St. Louis in Clarksville (June 24 this year) lends a hand in its massive picnic. Begun in 1878, it is believed to be the oldest event of its kind in the state.
Also: The sixth annual Fortnight for Freedom opens again at the Baltimore Basilica.
Help your church (and let it deal with the mess) at a parish crab feast. More are typically held in August, but that local rite steams up in July.
Also: Cool off with a mini-pilgrimage, to the Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City or St. Ignatius in Hickory, the oldest church in use in the archdiocese.
St. Leo the Great in Little Italy is so good at putting on a street festival, it has two: the Feast of St. Anthony in June and the Feast of St. Gabriel in August. In between the bocce court and calzone, linger in its beautifully ornate church.
Also: St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Parish will hold its 102nd Woodstock Festival Aug. 11-13. Sample the fried chicken and flea market.
Hancock moved Canal Apple Days to spring, but St. Peter Parish didn’t mess with a sure thing, keeping its Fall Apple Dumpling Sale on the third weekend in September. The parish does it again in October, during the Apple Butter Festival in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
Also: Enter a 5K road race, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor Nun Run, or similar fundraisers sponsored by Mercy High School and Marian House.
All God’s Creatures
Does your household include a four-legged creature or one with wings – or scales? Dozens of parishes organize pet blessings near Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron of animals.
Also: Bishop Denis J. Madden is among those promoting Catholic-Lutheran unity as the Oct. 31 500th jubilee of the Protestant Reformation nears. The Maryland Catholic Women’s Conference returns to Mount St. Mary’s University.
It’s a Baltimore sporting tradition like none other Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, when the football teams from Calvert Hall and Loyola Blakefield meet for the 98th consecutive year in the Turkey Bowl at M&T Bank Stadium.
Also: The solemn character of Veterans Day, Nov. 11, is accentuated during a special liturgy at St. Paul in Ellicott City.
Throughout the archdiocese near the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec. 12, Hispanic communities will share native food, costume and song before and after a liturgy that commemorates a 16th-century vision of the Blessed Virgin in Mexico City.
Also: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is Dec. 8. Attend Mass at one of the nearly 30 churches in the archdiocese whose name honors Mary.
For more events, check out our online calendar here.