Vicariate structure outlined for Archdiocese of Baltimore


Archbishop William E. Lori has expressed gratitude for Bishops Adam J. Parker and Mark E. Brennan, newly ordained auxiliary bishops of Baltimore, both of whom have gotten right down to business.

“In their service as bishops, they will be of great support, not only to me, but also to you, as together we set about strengthening the work of evangelization in the Archdiocese of Baltimore,” the archbishop wrote in a Jan. 24 letter to priests of the archdiocese.

Archbishop Lori also shared that he has returned the archdiocese to the three-vicariate system, with urban, eastern and western vicariates.

Bishop Denis J. Madden, auxiliary bishop emeritus of Baltimore, will serve as urban vicar. Monsignor James W. Hannon will serve as western (Allegany, Carroll, Howard, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties) vicar while continuing as director of clergy personnel, and Bishop Brennan will serve as eastern (Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Harford counties) vicar while also focusing on the growing Hispanic communities of the archdiocese.

Bishop Parker will continue his ministry as vicar general and moderator of the curia, while “administering the sacrament of confirmation as needed throughout the archdiocese,” Archbishop Lori wrote.

Monsignor Hannon explained in an email that the area vicars represent the archbishop to the pastors and parishes of their vicariates.

“One important goal of the area vicars,” he wrote, “is to be someone who works both with (the Catholic Center) and with the pastors and their parishes to ensure that communications are clear, that ‘bridges’ are built and maintained. We work with pastors on any number of items.”

The vicars, Monsignor Hannon added, will likely play an important role as parishes form pastorates to advance the archbishop’s vision of an evangelization-based structure.

“As (western) vicar, I have conversations with pastors about plans to work with other parishes in sharing resources for efficient planning,” he noted.

Bishop Parker wrote in an email, meanwhile, that his first confirmation was to be at Our Lady of the Fields in Millersville, where he was confirmed 30 years ago. Bishop Brennan, who served most of his ministry as a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, did his first confirmations as bishop at St. Joseph Parish in Fullerton Jan. 28.

Bishop Brennan has already visited Sacred Heart of Jesus-Sagrado Corazón de Jesús in Highlandtown and St. Patrick in Fells Point to celebrate Spanish Masses.

“It felt like home,” said the bishop, who previously served as pastor of St. Martin of Tours in Gaithersburg, a parish with a large immigrant population.

Bishop Madden, retired in principle but far from it in practice, said he will feel right at home as urban vicar. His Baltimore experience dates to 1973, when he arrived to live in residence at the former St. Martin in West Baltimore while working toward his doctorate.

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Erik Zygmont

A journalist since 2005, Erik wrote for small-town publications in New Hampshire before he left for Germany, where he taught English for two years, starting in 2009. He moved to Baltimore and served as editor of the Baltimore Guide from 2012 to 2015. He then served as a staff writer for Catholic Review until August 2017 when his family made plans to relocate from Maryland. He currently serves as a freelance contributor.

Erik is grateful for the richness of the Catholic faith he has experienced since, owing both to his access as a journalist and the Baltimore Archdiocese being the Premier See.