Skip to comments.Forrest Gump of Catholicism began humbly in Baltimore
Posted on 10/06/2011 5:43:21 PM PDT by MDJohnPaul
A friend once referred to the late New Orleans Archbishop Philip M. Hannan as the Forrest Gump of Catholicism.
Just like the Tom Hanks character, Archbishop Hannan always seemed to be at the right place at the right time making history as much as witnessing it.
Just consider some of the roles the native Washingtonian so ably filled in his 98 years: paratroop chaplain during the Second World War, Catholic newspaper editor, counselor to President John F. Kennedy, Civil Rights and pro-life advocate, attendee of all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council, shepherd to the New Orleans archdiocese and broadcast journalist.
A day before one of the American Churchs greatest figures is laid to rest, its good to recall that Archbishop Hannans spectacular priesthood began humbly in Baltimore.
Before receiving a masters degree from The Catholic University of America and studying in Rome for four years, the young Phil Hannan was a student at St. Charles College in Catonsville, a minor seminary for boys considering a call to the religious life.
After his Dec. 8, 1939 ordination in Rome, Archbishop Hannans first assignment was as assistant pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore.
In his 2010 memoir, The Archbishop Wore Combat Boots, Archbishop Hannan recalled that although he had been the recipient of a brilliant academic preparation for the priesthood, he knew little of the practical soul-to-soul work of helping other human beings walk in the grace of God.
Baltimore gave him that experience.
One of Archbishop Hannans primary duties as assistant pastor was to help take the census and contact parish couples who were married outside the church. In the 1940s, of St. Thomass 400 registered families, about a fourth were not in a valid marriage...
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