Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien appointed Father Jeffrey S. Dauses as the new rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Baltimore, effective Feb. 1.
Father Dauses, 44, who has been serving as pastor of Church of the Holy Apostles, Gambrills, will replace longtime rector Monsignor James V. Hobbs, who is retiring.
A Baltimore native, Father Dauses grew up in Shrine of the Little Flower, Baltimore, where he also attended grade school. He attended Archbishop Curley High School, Baltimore, for one year before persuading his parents, who were reluctant to send him to a seminary high school at such a young age, to let him attend St. Fidelis Seminary High School in Pennsylvania.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from Borromeo College in Ohio, Father Dauses earned his master’s degree at St. Mary’s Seminary & University, Roland Park.
Ordained in 1990, Father Dauses was first assigned as associate pastor of St. Louis, Clarksville. He then served as associate pastor of St. Margaret, Bel Air, before becoming pastor of the Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier, Hunt Valley, in 1999. He was named pastor of Church of the Holy Apostles in 2005.
He confesses to being a bit intimidated by his new assignment, but said he’s also excited because it dovetails with his interests.
“I love history and architecture,” he said. “Architecture has always been an avocation of mine. I always thought if I hadn’t become a priest I would have become an architect.”
He toured the dome of the basilica as it was being readied for renovations and found that experience fascinating.
Father Dauses said he is aware that he is a custodian of the church’s history and meaning – and that he’s following a beloved rector.
“It’s intimidating because so many people visit,” he said. “I’m very humbled by it and aware I have some big shoes to fill. A lot of it right now is unknown to me.”
Father Dauses will continue his pastoral work in his new assignment.
“It is a national shrine, so there are many things connected with that aspect, but there is a parish aspect; I think there are 400 or 500 families there.”
One thing he has learned is that while leaving is always difficult and the new assignment an unknown, ultimately it will be a good experience.
“I’ve had five assignments and each one was unique, and every assignment has been wonderful and a blessing,” he said.