Celebrating the heroic ministry of Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien in Baltimore and beyond

The inspiring ministry of Cardinal O’Brien:

Archbishop Edwin Frederick O’Brien became the fifteenth Archbishop of Baltimore on Oct. 1, 2007.

In the five years that he served as the shepherd of our Premier See and the last two years as our Archbishop Emeritus, now-Cardinal O’Brien has shared some of the most poignant moments of local Church history with us, as well as the recent changes that have impacted the entire Church in our era.

For today’s edition of Catholic Throwback Thursday, we honor the ministry and continued legacy of Cardinal O’Brien.

At the July 12, 2007 press conference announcing the appointment of Edwin Frederick O’Brien, Archbishop for the Military Services, as the fifteenth Archbishop of Baltimore:

This is one of my favorite photos of Cardinal O’Brien who looks so happy as he and Cardinal Keeler share the news of his appointment with our local Church. (Photo: Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

“He has leapt from military airplanes, served in jungles during the Vietnam War and travelled extensively to current battle zones in Afghanistan and Iraq. From his working-class roots…to the upper echelons of Catholic power—carrying a Christian message of peace and love to some of the world’s worst war-torn terrain.” –The Baltimore Sun on the military service of Archbishop O’Brien

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Archbishop O’Brien greeting the auxiliary bishops before his installation as Archbishop of Baltimore on October 1, 2007  (Photo: Baltimore Sun/ Lloyd Fox)

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Elevating the chalice during his Mass of Installation at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Archbishop O’Brien is joined on left by Archbishop William D. Borders, the thirteenth Archbishop of Baltimore  (Photo: Baltimore Sun/ Algerina Perna)

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Receiving his pallium from Pope Benedict XVI on June 29, 2008 (Photo: CNS/ L’Osservatore Romano)

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“If Joseph Martin is not in heaven, I don’t think any of us has a chance.”

Cardinal O’Brien presided at the March 13, 2009 funeral Mass at the Baltimore Basilica for Sulpician Father Joseph C. Martin, the co-founder of Father Martin’s Ashley addiction treatment center in Havre de Grace, who died on March 9 at age 84. The Baltimore Sun called Father Martin “the ‘wounded healer’ who overcame alcoholism and, through his ‘chalk talk’ and the home he co-founded, helped some 40,000 others to do the same.”  (Photo: Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun)

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Archbishop O’Brien leads the procession to the crypt at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen following the funeral for Archbishop William D. Borders, the thirteenth Archbishop of Baltimore who served from 1974 to 1989. He passed away on April 19, 2010 of colon cancer at Stella Maris at age 96. At the time of his death, Archbishop Borders was the fourth-oldest living Catholic bishop in United States history, and the longest-surviving bishop of both Orlando and Baltimore. (Photo: Baltimore Sun/ Lloyd Fox)

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Archbishop O’Brien announced the reorganization of Catholic schools in March of 2010 in a program called “Preserving the Tradition, Transforming the Future: The Rebirth of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.” (Photo: Baltimore Sun/ Algerina Perna)

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Archbishop O’Brien joined the Sisters for Life for the John Cardinal O’Connor Conference at Georgetown University on the day prior to the 2011 March for Life. Entitled “Building a Culture of Life Today: Learning from the Life and Legacy of Cardinal O’Connor,” the panel of presenters included from left: Bishop William Lori, Professor Helen Alvare, Fr. Joseph Koterski, SJ (moderator), Mother Agnes Mary, SV, and Archbishop O’Brien. (Photo: Sisters of Life)

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Archbishop O’Brien presided over a Divine Mercy Sunday Mass on May 1, 2011 at the Basilica of the Assumption marking the beatification of Pope John Paul II earlier that day in Rome. After Mass, the archbishop led a procession around the block to the Pope John Paul II Prayer Garden. (Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun / May 1, 2011)

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Archbishop Giuseppe De Andrea, the assessor of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, formerly a priest in the Diocese of Greensburg, welcomes Archbishop O’Brien to the Rome headquarters on September 16, 2011 after the August 29 announcement of his appointment as Grand Master.

As Archbishop De Andrea placed the medallion around his neck, he said that this new role “is like a chain that ties him to the Holy Land” and to the knightly order of the Holy Sepulchre. (Photo: Paul Haring/CNS)

“I am grateful to the Holy Father for his trust in me and hope in the years ahead I will be a help to the Holy See and to the wonderful land where Christ walked.” –Archbishop O’Brien

Archbishop O’Brien follows the leadership of U.S. Cardinal John P. Foley who stepped down due to health concerns in February. He passed away on December 11, 2011 at age 76 in Darby, Pennsylvania.


“We look to forward the cause of peace in the Holy Land — that’s the Holy Father’s burning desire — and to stopping the exodus of Christians, to make more available the holy places to more people and to encourage pilgrimage to the Holy Land.”  –Archbishop O’Brien in an interview with CNS.

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Celebrating Mass at Saint Peter’s Tomb on Jan. 16, 2012:

Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl (center) with Cardinal-designate Edwin O’Brien and Archbishop Timothy Broglio to his left. (Photo: CNS)

This marked the beginning of the ad limina visit to the Holy See for the bishops of Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia, the Virgin Islands and the U.S. Archdiocese for Military Services.

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New member of the College of Cardinals Edwin Frederick O’Brien receives the red biretta from Pope Benedict XVI in Saint Peter’s Basilica on February 18, 2012. (Photo: Franco Origlia, Getty Images Europe)

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Among the twenty-two new cardinals created that day were two from the United States, both sons of New York: Cardinal O’Brien and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York. (AP Photo)

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New Cardinal Edwin Frederick O’Brien is congratulated by Archbishop Georg Ganswein, personal secretary of the Holy Father, during the courtesy visits at the Paul VI Hall on February 18, 2012 (Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images Europe)

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Archbishop of Baltimore-designate William E. Lori, along with Cardinal O’Brien, prays at the crypt of Archbishop John Carroll in the Baltimore Basilica on May 15, 2012, the eve of his elevation as the sixteenth Archbishop of Baltimore, Afterwards a vespers service was held there at the Basilica. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun / May 15, 2012 )

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Twenty-year reunion for the Pontifical North American College Class of 1992. Cardinal O’Brien was their seminary rector at the NAC:

From left: Fr. Brian McGrath, Msgr. Jim Checchio (the current rector of PNAC), Fr. Don Henke, Bishop Paul D. Etienne, Fr. Brian Hayes, Bishop Liam Cary, Bishop William Waterscheid, Msgr. Charles Antonicelli; kneeling Fr. Joe Fonti, with Cardinal O’Brien. (Photo: Bishop Paul D. Etienne

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On the eve of his first trip to the Holy Land as Grand Master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, Cardinal O’Brien said he hoped to encourage the region’s Christian minority with a message of solidarity from Pope Benedict XVI and other Catholics in the West.

Shown here in his Rome residence on November 24, 2012, Cardinal O’Brien shows near a replica of the crosier of Pope John Paul II and other personal mementos. (Photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

“The church in the Holy Land has been under unfriendly domination throughout the centuries, and the fact that we still exist there is almost a miracle… We have to do everything we can as a Catholic people to encourage them and to let them know that we are one with them in their struggle.” –Cardinal O’Brien told Catholic News Service

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Video:





Enjoy this two-minute video with Cardinal O’Brien previewing his first pilgrimage to the Holy Land

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Cardinal O’Brien is greeted by students at the Catholic seminary in the West Bank town of Beit Jalla on November 28, 2012.

His Eminence was making his first visit to the Holy Land as Grand Master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, a chivalric order that supports church institutions and Christians in the Holy Land. (Photo: CNS/Heidi Levine

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Flashing back to 2009:

Ten Episcopal nuns, all members of the All Saints Sisters of the Poor convent in Cantonsville, Maryland, along with their chaplain, Father Warren Tanghe, became Catholics during Mass in their chapel back on September 3, 2009. Archbishop O’Brien blessed each of them as they renewed their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Four years later on the Solemnity of All Saints, November 1, 2013:

The All Saints Sisters of the Poor look back to their feast day in 2011:

“For us Sisters, the Feast of All Saints has always been special since it is our Titular Feast, but since 2011, it has taken on even more importance. On that day, in the Basilica of the Assumption, in Baltimore, which is also the first Metropolitan Cathedral in the United States, we were erected as a new institute of Consecrated Life in the Roman Catholic Church, and our public vows.”–All Saints Sisters of the Poor

Photo of the Sisters with then-Archbishop O’Brien following that November 1, 2011 Mass.

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Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien at the March 20, 2012 press conference announcing that Bishop William E. Lori of the Diocese of Bridgeport was named the sixteenth Archbishop of Baltimore at the Baltimore Basilica. (Photo: Baltimore Sun/ Karl Merton Ferron)

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The Installation Mass for William E. Lori as the sixteenth Archbishop of Baltimore on May 16, 2012 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. Archbishop Lori was shown wearing the pectoral cross that belonged to Archbishop John Carroll, the first United States bishop and first Archbishop of Baltimore.

With Cardinal O’Brien is retired Auxiliary Bishop William Newman (far left), and Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the apostolic nuncio to the United States (second from left).

(Photo: Catholic Review)

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Cardinal O’Brien dedicated a new Latin Patriarchate school at Rameh (Northern Galilee) on November 29, 2012. He was joined by Patriarch Fouad Twal, as well as Bishop Marcuzzo, the Patriarchal Vicar for Israel who originated the project 18 years prior.

“I had prepared a written text, but when I saw the crowd, the followers of the different religions living together in joy and brotherhood, when I saw the enthusiasm of the parents and the students, I set aside my speech and my heart … spoke.”’–Cardinal O’Brien

The first stone for the building project had been blessed by Pope Benedict XVI at his Mass in Nazareth on May 14, 2009 during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. For the village of Rameh, population 8,000, with 51% Christian, 29% Druze, and 20% Muslim, the school is central to the unity of its people. The Patriarch noted that “the school was not only a place of learning but also a place of dialogue between religions and culture, which must always be at the service of man and the construction of new bridges of friendship and love for all without distinction.”

(Photo: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

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King Abdullah of Jordan met with Cardinal O’Brien and the Latin Patriarch, His Beatitude Fouad Twal December 2, 2012 in Amman. They discussed the fragile situation in the Middle East and their quest for lasting peace. (Photo)

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Who could ever forget the day that Pope Benedict XVI told the world that he was stepping down from the papacy?

On February 11, 2013, Cardinal O’Brien and his priest-secretary Msgr. Adam Parker witnessed the historic announcement from Pope Benedict XVI. This photo was taken by Msgr. Parker immediately following the announcement and published by The Catholic Review.

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American cardinals gather at the Pontifical North American College before the March, 2013 conclave:

From Left: Cardinal Justin Rigali, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Cardinal Francis George, Cardinal Seán, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Cardinal Roger Mahony and Cardinal Edwin O’Brien (Photo: BostonCatholic-Flickr)

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Cardinal O’Brien greets newly-elected Pope Francis (Photo: L’Osservatore Romano)

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Cardinal O’Brien, the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem carries woven palm fronds in the procession for Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square on March 24, 2013. (Photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

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Thank you, Your Eminence, for your outstanding service to our Archdiocese and your commitment to peace and understanding in our world.

We are grateful for your ministry and assure you of our prayers.

Ad multos annos!!

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The coat of arms of Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien:

Father Edwin Frederick O’Brien was ordained a bishop by New York Archbishop Cardinal John J. O’Connor at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on March 25, 1996, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of New York by Pope John Paul II.

Bishop O’Brien chose as his episcopal motto: Pastores Dabo Vobis (“I will give you shepherds”) from Jeremiah 3:15.

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Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.