Whether he’s speaking to youths in the hallway before they’re about to be confirmed, mingling with young people during the archdiocese’s annual youth and young adult pilgrimage, or simply remembering a teenager’s name, Bishop W. Francis Malooly has demonstrated his commitment to the young people of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
“Bishop Malooly has always made the evangelization of young people, and that the young people would feel at home in the archdiocese, a priority,” said Kristen Witte, coordinator of pastoral care for the archdiocese. “Whether he’s traveling to national conferences to be present, having one-on-one interaction or visiting a young person in the hospital, he makes young people a priority both to the church and to him personally.”
Katie Beinstein, an 18-year-old parishioner of Sacred Heart, Glyndon, knows this firsthand. As a member of the Archdiocesan Youth Advisory Council, the graduate of Mercy High School had the opportunity to serve as the bishop’s guide during the annual youth and young adult pilgrimage in Baltimore.
“He just seemed like a really amazing guy and really loved the youth,” she said. “I felt like I had a good interaction with him.
During a session of High-LI (High School Leadership Institute), she talked to the bishop about her college application process, and he wrote a letter of recommendation for her. Ms. Beinstein will attend Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg in the fall. Bishop Malooly also wrote a letter to Mercy regarding Ms. Beinstein’s leadership skills.
“It really inspired me,” she said. “I know a lot of priests are hesitant, but he seems really open and wanting to learn about us. Our conversations are always uplifting, and he has taught me a lot about my faith and being strong in what I believe.”
Youth ministers are also grateful for his leadership.
Kristen Fisher, director of middle school youth ministry for Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ellicott City, said that Bishop Malooly was “a peaceful, healing” presence while serving as temporary administrator after Father Richard Smith faced allegations of sexual abuse and was removed from ministry there.
“Part of the healing he brought to our unrest and our hurt was just himself,” she said. “He radiates peace and healing. Knowing he’s in charge of so many things and that he took the time to lead us in this transition time – it meant so much.”
Ms. Witte has stood next to the bishop and introduced him to families who have recently lost their child – most recently in Sykesville.
“The young person was supposed to have been confirmed,” she said. “Bishop Fran not only went to the funeral, he intentionally met with the family and pulled from his coat pocket the letter she had written him for confirmation to make sure they knew how strong her faith was. That’s the man who loves young people. That’s the man I’m going to miss.”
She said Bishop Malooly was presented with the Cardinal Shehan Award, which has only been given to 10-15 people and honors those whose contributions have changed the field of youth ministry.
“He holds the vision for how to bring young people to Christ,” she said.
Mark Pacione, director of the division of youth and young adult ministry for the archdiocese, served as youth minister for St. Margaret in Bel Air when Bishop Malooly served as its director.
Mr. Pacione said the young people showed “a great love for Father Fran. I know there were kids who would drive up there after the retreats were over to see him.”
He said the bishop has remained committed to the High-LI and never fails to visit.
“He affirms people so well,” he said.