Paul McMullen is managing editor of the Catholic Review.

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Great article Paul. Really enjoyed reading it!

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Dear Paul, Great , I love it. Sweet memories, Lots of Love Sharon

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Baltimore Boomer

Old Bay and Deacon Langan’s old-school thank-you


April’s pilgrimage to Italy for the canonization of two popes resulted in too many memories and keepsakes to track, but I will cherish forever one that came in the mail several weeks after the fact.

Packing my bags the night of April 20, the last item on my checklist was “Old Bay.” As Chris Gunty, my boss, explained, the seminarians from Baltimore at the Pontifical North American College in Rome appreciate that touch from home, one they use to season just about anything. Telling my wife, Mary, that I needed to run to the Food Lion to get a small can, she opened her spice drawer and said, “take ours,” an un-opened industrial-strength 14-ounce can. I wrapped it in some freezer bags, so that I didn’t smell like I was coming from a crab feast while in Assisi and the Sistine Chapel.

Seven days later, after only a handful of Baltimore pilgrims had made it into St. Peter’s Square April 27 to see John XXIII and John Paul II made saints, let alone receive holy Communion, we bussed to the NAC, for Mass celebrated by Archbishop William E. Lori. Afterward, I finally delivered the Old Bay to Deacon Joe Langan.



He’s one of the five men who will be ordained priests for the Archdiocese of Baltimore June 21. The young man has a lot on his plate, but he is already blessed with the pastoral touch. He penned a lovely thank you note, added the signatures of fellow NAC seminarians Michael Rubeling and Kevin Ewing, and had the awareness to send it “Mr. and Mrs. Paul McMullen.” That is cool. So is the return address on the envelope, which ends “Vatican City State Europe.”

The New York Times has had some interesting takes on penmanship and written correspondence, and I remain a sucker for a hand-written letter. I still have the card Grammy Esther Larkin sent for my eighth birthday, in 1963. It’s not the oldest letter in that treasure chest of souvenirs, which includes one dated July 27, 1961, from my Uncle Glen. It was in response to correspondence I had sent him after a visit to Saugus, Mass., a letter likely encouraged by my Mom.



Thank you, Mom.

Thank you, Deacon Joe. You are going to be a great priest.



June 16, 2014 02:15
By Paul McMullen