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Finding a mentor in Bishop Malooly

Baltimore’s auxiliary bishops appreciate Bishop W. Francis Malooly’s steady influence.

Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski has benefited from that guidance, whether it was when he became eastern vicar in 2004, or two decades earlier, when he was ordained and interviewed by the director of clergy personnel for the Archdiocese of Baltimore – then Father Malooly.

“He set the tone of being very careful with newly ordained priests and their first assignment,” said Bishop Rozanski, who is 50. “He knew the importance of that first assignment, that it could set the tone for your priesthood. That concern came through, in the interviews his office conducted and the assignments they made.

“Instinctively, he was able to match the needs of the archdiocese with our needs in our first assignment.”

Bishop Denis J. Madden, now 68, was coming off 18 years spent in Jerusalem and then New York, when he was made urban vicar in 2005. He immediately sought Bishop Malooly’s institutional knowledge of the archdiocese.

“Bishop Fran has been a great mentor to me,” Bishop Madden said. “I can remember when I was first ordained in 2005 and going to his office for advice.

“One or two items would need to be addressed, and he never said, ‘I’m in the middle of something.’ … He had some tremendous administrative responsibilities in the archdiocese, but at the same time he never lost his pastoral concern, or the fact that he was a priest first.”

That was manifested in making the celebration of sacraments a priority.

“When I was ordained bishop,” Bishop Rozanski said, “one of the first things he stressed to me was how much he enjoyed celebrating confirmations, and how much he enjoyed celebrating weddings. That can be the most pastoral part of being bishop.

“I can identify with Bishop Malooly’s pastoral side.”

Bishop Madden recalled how Bishop Malooly “would have a desk piled high with things to do, and he’d say, ‘I’m off to Cumberland to say a Mass.’ We serve the archbishop; our job is to support his vision. Fran made it easy to put that into concrete terms. The administrative part, someone else can pick it up. The priestly part comes first for a bishop.”

Not that those administrative duties were ever dropped.

“He’s been a great example,” Bishop Madden said, “in that you can deal with hard issues in a humane way. I wasn’t here for the heat of the abuse scandal, but I know he served the needs of the victims and was also very watchful and concerned about how all the priests in the archdiocese were being affected.

“When there was a great deal of embarrassment heaped upon anyone who wore a collar, he shed light on the good that was being done in the archdiocese.”