By Cindy Wooden
ROME — Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore is one of many U.S. bishops in Rome this weekend for the canonizations of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II.
I asked him today what the two new saints teach him as a priest and bishop.
“John XXIII, who became the Holy Father when I was just a child, struck me even then as a man of great humility and joy,” he said. “And in spite of all the tremendous things he did in his life as a priest and bishop, he remained simple, close to God, a pilgrim, joyful.”
Although he was only 11 when Blessed John opened the Second Vatican Council, the archbishop said early on he understood that the pope “wanted to make the church’s teaching and spirituality accessible to ordinary Catholics.”
He also said Blessed John “had a lot to do with my openness to becoming a priest.”
Ordained in 1977, the year before Blessed John Paul was elected, and named an auxiliary bishop in 1995 by Pope John Paul, the archbishop’s contact with him was much more “up close and personal.”
The big lesson he learned from Pope John Paul is one word, “prayer.”
“Everything he said and did and taught passed through his life of contemplative prayer — some would even say mystical prayer,” the archbishop said. His teaching about the family, about the sacredness of human life, about the authentic interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, about the need for a “new evangelization” — “all of that passed through the prism of his prayer,” the archbishop said.
“That is why young people trusted him: they understood that not only was he fatherly and strong and smart and able to speak their language, but they trusted him because they understood instinctively he was holy,” Archbishop Lori said. “So what I take from him is there are no shortcuts; if I want to be halfway decent as a priest or a bishop, I have to pray, I have to run what I am going to do and what I am going to say through the prism of my prayer.”
I also asked the archbishop what he hoped his faithful in the Archdiocese of Baltimore would take from the canonizations.
“One reason I am so happy Pope Francis decided to canonize John XXIII is that I want the people I serve to know about him and I, myself, want to be reminded of him. I want (Read More)