Remembering Cardinal James Gibbons

March 24, 2021

Dear Friends in Christ,

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Cardinal James Gibbons. A native son of Baltimore, he was the second American to be elevated to the College of Cardinals, a hero to the labor movement, a champion of ecumenism and an advisor to presidents.

More than any other Catholic, not excepting Archbishop John Carroll, Cardinal James Gibbons was embraced by his country. He was personable, outgoing and seldom without a smile.

Cardinal Gibbons, the ninth Archbishop of Baltimore, was well loved. A news report in the Catholic Review at the time of his funeral estimated that more than 150,000 persons viewed his body as he lay in state at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, then the archdiocesan cathedral.

“These mourners were of all classes of life,” the Review reported. “State and city officials, the rich and the poor, the banker and the laborer.”

After the funeral Mass, the body of Cardinal Gibbons was interred in the crypt beneath the sanctuary, opposite Archbishop John Carroll, America’s first bishop.

A bronze statue of Cardinal Gibbons stands near the front doors of the Baltimore Basilica, at the corner of Mulberry and Cathedral streets. Another bust of the cardinal is inside the basilica, where he presided over the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, which produced the most comprehensive body of legislation for the Catholic Church in America.

As we mark the 100th anniversary of Cardinal Gibbons’ passing into eternal life, please pray for the repose of his soul. Reflect on his contributions to church life, not only in Maryland but also across the country, and his influence in Rome.

At the top of this message, you will find a video of the special Mass offered earlier this month to mark the anniversary of Cardinal Gibbons’ death. Please take some time to watch it.

For more information on Cardinal Gibbons and his impact, also see:

His Eminence James Cardinal Gibbons
* Cardinal Gibbons’ death moved many
* Cardinal Gibbons, who died 100 years ago, was committed to Ireland

Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Archbishop William E. Lori
Archbishop of Baltimore

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Archbishop William E. Lori

Archbishop William E. Lori was installed as the 16th Archbishop of Baltimore May 16, 2012.

Prior to his appointment to Baltimore, Archbishop Lori served as Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., from 2001 to 2012 and as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington from 1995 to 2001.

A native of Louisville, Ky., Archbishop Lori holds a bachelor's degree from the Seminary of St. Pius X in Erlanger, Ky., a master's degree from Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg and a doctorate in sacred theology from The Catholic University of America. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Washington in 1977.

In addition to his responsibilities in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Archbishop Lori serves as Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus and is the former chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty.