I returned last night from an excursion to Baltimore. I was visiting St. Mary's Seminary in Roland Park for work as we attempt to recruit more Catholic chaplains. It was a great experience and I had a wonderful time. The hospitality extended by the seminary to me was more than I hoped for I am profoundly grateful to the staff for taking the time to accommodate me and give me all the support I needed. I am especially grateful to Jeff Paveglio, a seminarian at St. Mary's and a chaplain candidate for the NHARNG. He took the time to give me the cooks tour of the facility and ensured that I was included in all of the events that the seminarians took part in, he's good people and I have no doubt will be a shepherd and a sheepdog.
Normally, I read my LOTH alone. Doing morning and evening prayer with a group of priests and seminarians, hearing voices in song echoing throughout the chapel, and sharing in that spirit of prayer and camaraderie, gave me a new way of seeing my daily devotions.
Unfortunately, not all of the news in Baltimore is good. The Archdiocese is going to be closing 13 catholic schools. The names of the schools were announced last week and now the backlash has begun. A dear friend was a part of the Blue Ribbon committee that made the decisions. I know that the decisions were professionally and personally hard for him, he will be in my prayers and I ask that you keep him in yours as well.
One of the schools that is closing, (and the only high school), is Cardinal Gibbons. I have mixed emotions about this. Gibbons has a 48 year history in Baltimore and many famous graduates have emerged from it's classrooms as well as some not so famous ones whose contributions, while not as well known are no less important. I try to consider this when I remember how I felt when I was told to leave by the then principal and the decidedly unchristian manner in which my situation as treated. I am sorry for the pain that this closure is causing those alumni and current students, and I wish them the best; at the same time, I can not bring myself to join the "Save Cardinal Gibbons" Campaign.
An interesting snapshot of a Church in transition. A seminary where 70 men from around the nation are in formation for the priesthood in an environment that fosters intellectual growth and development. An Archdiocese that confronts its shifts in population geography and economy. A stormy spring brings both destruction and renewal.