On another Father’s Day, Archbishop Lori’s blessings include both his parents

In addition to prayer, meetings and other interactions with his flock in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the daily routine of Archbishop William E. Lori includes a phone call to a nursing home in Indiana.

Among his many blessings, the archbishop counts his parents, Margaret and Francis, 98 and 97, respectively.

“I call about the same time every night, so they know to expect it,” he said. “I aim for around 6 p.m. (5 p.m. Central), right after their supper, considerably before my own. Mom and Dad will want to know, in general, how my day went. We share our days. It’s an opportunity to touch base with one another.”

Francis Lori celebrated another birthday June 11. While Archbishop Lori won’t make it home for Father’s Day, the holiday carries special meaning.

The archbishop doesn’t play the game anymore, but said that “I learned what golf I know by borrowing his clubs.” While Archbishop Lori said his father’s “expertise with power tools didn’t extend to me,” he traces his interest in history in general and World War II in particular to his father, who served on a U.S. Navy ship that ferried ammunition to the Battle of Okinawa.

“I’m an amateur historian, and my interest in reading history goes back to my father,” Archbishop Lori said. “He didn’t talk specifically about being in action, but we talked about the war in general. That sparked in me a great interest in that period of history.”

The archbishop also appreciates his father’s deadpan sense of humor, on display after he celebrated a Mass in 2016 to mark their 70th wedding anniversary and Mr. Lori said to his wife, “Did you think it was going to work?”

The archbishop was last with his parents on Mother’s Day, and plans to be with them again in July. He makes it a point to visit them during the Christmas and Easter seasons.

The archbishop spoke of the German cookies his mother baked at Christmas, the vegetable gardens his parents cultivated, and the example they continue to provide, especially when it came to his late brother, Frank, who had autism.

“They’ve demonstrated for me, all along, their love for one another,” Archbishop Lori said. “Their care for my brother was heroic and wonderful. I learned from their example. I’m so grateful to have both Mom and Dad at this stage in my own life.”

Email Paul McMullen at pmcmullen@CatholicReview.org

Paul McMullen

Paul McMullen

Paul McMullen has served as the managing editor of the Catholic Review since 2008.

The author of two books, Paul has been involved in local media since age 12, when he began delivering The News American to 80 homes in his neighborhood. He began his journalism career with the Capital-Gazette Newspapers in Anne Arundel County, and spent more than 25 years as a sports writer for The Sun in Baltimore. His favorite writing assignments have included the Summer Olympics in Australia and Greece, the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and “Feet for Francis,” a 2015 walking pilgrimage from the Baltimore Basilica to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis.