This Thanksgiving marks my first as Archbishop of Baltimore. Though I have only been in the Archdiocese for six months, it has been easy for me to see there is much for which to be thankful in this local Church.
I am thankful for the good and holy priests, deacons and consecrated religious who give of themselves in service to their people. They serve in parishes, schools, hospitals and charitable institutions. Our priests and deacons preach the gospel in season and out, caring for the people they serve from birth to death, sometimes right up until the time of their own departure from this world. From Mountain Maryland to Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods, our priests live and serve among their people, becoming one of them just as Christ was in His earthly ministry. We often take for granted the service of these holy men and women, just as we plan for a Church with fewer and fewer priests and religious serving in our Archdiocese. As we thank God for their service and pray for their health and happiness, may we also pray that more young men and women will answer God’s call to priestly ordination and the consecrated life to replenish the workers in the vineyard of the Lord.
In the short time since my arrival, I have witnessed countless acts of faithful witness by lay men and women in the Archdiocese. Dedicated educators giving more and taking less by working in our Catholic schools—schools like Seton Keough and Holy Angels, St. Agnes and St. Mark-schools I have been privileged to visit. Men and women serving hot meals to hungry fellow citizens at Our Daily Bread and providing free medical care to new immigrant neighbors at the Esperanza Center. Parish volunteers, Knights of Columbus, Daughters of Charity, Catholic medical and legal professionals, our own Catholic Center employees…and so many more too numerous for this brief column. I pray others are inspired by their faithful witness, for which I am so grateful.
Of course, the best way for us to show our thanks to God on Thanksgiving Day is through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I will be offering up my thanks for the people of this Archdiocese when I celebrate Mass at the Lord’s table on Thanksgiving Day.