With great joy, I acknowledge the goodness of our new Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in naming as Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore one of our own priests, now Bishop-elect Denis Madden. The announcement was made by the Holy See earlier today making him the first priest to be appointed an American bishop by our new Holy Father.
Ordained in 1967 for the Benedictine Community of St. Paul’s Abbey in Newton, New Jersey, Father Madden received a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame in 1973. He moved to Baltimore that same year and took a position in the Psychology program at the University of Maryland, while also working part-time as a marriage and family counselor for our Catholic Charities. In spite of his busy schedule, Father Madden frequently made time to celebrate Mass at St. Martin’s in West Baltimore and to provide long and short term counseling to many of our priests and religious sisters.
In 1976, his request for incardination to the Archdiocese of Baltimore was granted.
Bishop Madden is a deeply spiritual and committed priest. When Pope John Paul II, of blessed memory, called me to serve here in 1989, then-Father Madden, who had received permission from Archbishop Borders to work with poor Palestinians in the Holy Land, came to see me in Pennsylvania. In our conversation, I saw immediately the depth of his commitment to the poor and marginalized. Later that same year, when, as part of a committee chaired by then Archbishop (now Cardinal) Mahony of Los Angeles, I met Father Madden in the Holy Land, I was delighted that one of our own had such a key position in interpreting the challenges of the Church in that region to visitors.
When Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem came to Baltimore, he asked me to let Father Madden to continue to stay in the region, because, the Patriarch said, he was affording to poor Palestinians a legal way to have their causes heard in often difficult situations.
It was a special joy, on the occasion of one of his visits to Baltimore, to inform him that the Holy Father had named him a Prelate of Honor with the title of Monsignor.
As Auxiliary Bishop, Bishop Madden will serve as Urban Vicar, succeeding Bishop Gordon Bennett, who was appointed Bishop of Mandeville, Jamaica last year. In addition, he will assist in the visitation of parishes and in administering the Sacrament of Confirmation throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
With deep appreciation for his faith and other priestly gifts, I am delighted to express to the Holy Father deep gratitude for his goodness in sending us a bishop whose service will be a blessing both to us in the archdiocese and to the entire Church in the United States. Bishop-elect Madden will help connect us to the Holy Land, obviously a peace priority for the Church and for all who pray for “the peace of Jerusalem.”