Many, if not most of you, have negotiated with Bill McCarthy. So you know that he is a tough negotiator. This morning I negotiated with Bill about the content of my talk. I was rightly afraid he’d steal what little thunder I have by recognizing Bishop-elect Parker and I’d be left without an applause line.
Happily I prevailed. So it gives me great pleasure to recognize, with you, our new auxiliary bishop-elect, Adam Parker. You know him well. He serves as Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and is a member of the Catholic Charities Board as well as its Executive Committee. He has a real heart for the mission of Catholic Charities and will be even more supportive in the years ahead.
Most of you would not know the second auxiliary bishop granted us by Pope Francis. His name is Monsignor Mark Brennan, currently the pastor of St. Martin of Tours Parish in Gaithersburg, a large multi-cultural parish. I’ve known Bishop-elect Brennan for over forty years, since we were both seminarians. We worked closely together in the Archdiocese of Washington. He is a wonderful priest and he will be a wonderful bishop. He is fluent in Spanish and French and will be of great assistance in ministering to the growing Latino and African communities in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. He is a pastoral bishop and I know he will also have a heart for the work of Catholic Charities.
So, Pope Francis has given us an early Christmas gift.
As you also may have seen, Pope Francis accepted Bishop Madden’s resignation as auxiliary bishop. However, he will continue serving. On the day of the announcement, as I thanked the bishop for his service, I also re-appointed him as a Vicar General. No one knows the city parishes and the needs of the city better than Bishop Madden and I look forward to our continued work together.
And let me also join you in thanking the one who drives forward the mission of Catholic Charities, every day, Bill McCarthy. Bill has graciously thanked all of us but let us thank him for his effective leadership of Catholic Charities, for extending its mission of compassionate service far and wise. Warmest thanks, Bill!
You may have noticed that we are gathered for this Leadership Breakfast on the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously described the event thus: “December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy.”
As we conclude this Leadership Breakfast, let us resolve to make December 7th, 2016, a date which will live in charity; a date that will live in mercy, compassion, and human dignity; a date which will live because we cherish the divine within all.
We are together in a time when we are unsettled by our many divisions and when many of those we serve are seeking freedom from fear, freedom from want, freedom from hopelessness.
Let us, in this time of polarization make common cause. Let us journey together over the bridges which charity builds, bridges built by case management, immigration services, affordable housing, employment services, food pantries, Our Daily Bread, emergency shelters, elder care, behavioral health services, and much, much more.
We all seek happiness. We are made for joy. But happiness and joy are neither solitary nor partisan qualities. They are qualities that can only be shared – shared with those in need, shared among ourselves and our loved ones, shared in solidarity with the wider community. By supporting Catholic Charities with our time, talent, and treasure, may we continue building bridges and journeying across those bridges together, so as to build a civilization of justice, love, and peace.
May you have a blessed Advent and a joyous Christmas!