At some point my parents left it to my older siblings to correct my behavior at St. Rose of Lima in Brooklyn. Two memories stand out, once for slouching as an altar server, the other in a pew, for not washing from my neck and arms the newsprint that had accumulated one Sunday from more than 100 copies of the News American.
Fifty years ago last month, on the day I turned 12 and became legally old enough to man – boy? – a paper route, my brother Kevin took me to the garage of Mrs. Richardson, the neighborhood distributor of the Hearst daily, who gave me my first job. The discipline and diligence that was lacking in the classroom came out on Church Street, perhaps because I was already partial to periodicals. With a home awash in three Baltimore daily newspapers, the Maryland Gazette, the Catholic Review, Army Times, Life, Look, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, etc., who had time for assigned reading?
With a few brief interruptions, I have remained an ink-stained wretch. The more funerals I attend, the more appreciative I am of the folks who made that possible.
The secular media gig ran out, but Dan Medinger and Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien brought me to the Review and Chris Gunty and Archbishop Lori keep surrounding me with good people. The Review has allowed me to worship in a rundown cathedral in St. Marc, Haiti; much more regal houses in Assisi and Rome; and throughout the archdiocese. You don’t need a passport to see Europe; just head to Baltimore’s older churches.
Trying to slow down on the road from Baltimore to Philadelphia with Father Jack Lombardi in September 2015.