Privilege and Honor

9 years ago I was in the right place at the right time, newly retired and seeking part-time employment. My friend, Father Jeff Dauses, was Rector at the Basilica and after Mass one Sunday I asked if he needed any office help. He immediately said, “the Cardinal needs a secretary, but it is only a part-time position.” It took me about two seconds to consider it and I asked if I could apply for the position. Fr. Jeff was helpful in setting up an interview for me with the Cardinal and I was very nervous about it. At the interview I found this kind, soft-spoken man who asked me questions about what I would be able or willing to do for him. We agreed that I would handle his correspondence, drive him when needed, run errands when needed, and just be an all around assistant. When he moved to Mercy Ridge and then to the Little Sisters, I promised I would stay with him until he didn’t need me anymore. It was truly a privilege and an honor to serve him. I learned a great deal about the church while with him and a great deal from him about patience, humility, and grace. This will always be the best work I ever did and I will miss him greatly.

– Jane Runey

Cardinal Keeler

I hardly know where to begin when it comes to remembering His Eminence. He was a gentle, kind, and dedicated priest who had a knack for making one feel special. I recall his enthusiasm back in the late 1990’s when he shared his hopes with me of one day restoring our Basilica to its’ original beauty and splendor. His enthusiasm was infectious and I wanted very much for him to realize his dream. I never imagined that he’d one day invite me to be a presenter of this project to Pope John Paul II. That’s exactly what happened though on October 18, 2001 in Rome. I’ll never forget the sound of his voice and the pride on his face when he introduced me to the pontiff. His support and approval made it possible for us to establish our local guild of the Catholic Medical Association in the Archdiocese of Baltimore years later. In has later years it was my privilege and honor to pay him regular visits at Mercy Ridge retirement facility and then St. Martin’s home. The Sunday and day before he passed on, I had the opportunity to pray a Divine Mercy chaplet at his bedside and silently recall many good memories of him. Before I left him that last time on Wednesday, I whispered in his ear that I loved him and would continue to pray for him. I asked him to remember to pray for me when he went to the Father’s house. Farewell to my dear mentor you will not be forgotten.

– Dr. Marie-Alberte Boursiquot

The Cardinal and Baseball

I had the pleasure to meet and talk with Cardinal Keeler twice. The first time was with my family when he celebrated mass at St. Mark’s in Fallston. The 2nd was at the residence at the Basilica when we discussed charitable work. But the Cardinal made sure to let me know he was a distant cousin to the great Baltimore Orioles player Wee Willie Keeler. He was animated in talking about his family history. I will never forget his kindness. May God Bless his soul.

– Jim Hunter

A great classmate and friend

To his Roman classmates, he was “Bill,” a loyal and thoughtful friend for over six decades. I was honored to host our 50th class reunion in Kansas City, along with my sister, Sister Rose Maureen Mahoney, F.S.M. We enjoyed a concelebrated Mass at our Cathedral and a “pranzo speciale” classic Italian dinner at our home with many memories and much humor. Bill never missed a chance to remember his classmates. As a diocesan priest I had a somewhat unusual and lengthy professorship at a Jesuit university. One of the Jesuits was not aware of our connection. He went to Rome to visit Timothy Dolan, then the Rector of the North American College. Dolan told the Jesuit that Cardinal Keeler was there visiting and offered to introduce him. When Keeler was told that the Jesuit was from Kansas City and Rockhurst, University, Keeler said, “Oh, you would know Bob Mahoney.” He never failed to remember us, and we will never fail to remember him with great affection.

– Rev. Robert J. Mahoney, Ph.D.

First and last meetings

Cardinal Keeler was a warm, gentle and unassuming man. I first met him in early summer 1991, two years after he had been appointed Archbishop of Baltimore. He was visiting my childhood parish and was greeting parishioners as they entered the church. When he noticed I was expecting, he immediately came to me and blessed both me and the baby. Paul was born on July 17th, the anniversary of the then Archbishop’s ordination to the priesthood. The last time I met him was only a few summers ago at the Basilica when he celebrated Mass in Latin. (My brother Tom commented that someone should mention to him that not everyone speaks Latin as fluently as he does and should ask him to slow down during prayers 🙂 ) After Mass, we spoke and he was thrilled to hear I was living in Europe, since it gave him the opportunity to speak French. Even though we did not meet often, each time we did was very special and marked me. May he rest in peace.

– Cheryl Kouba

Kind and Gentle

Cardinal Keeler was the kind of person who loved everyone. During his ministry he brought people together. He was a very special man and Cardinal Keeler is one of the reasons why I am considering the priesthood. He touched the lives of many people. I remember first seeing Cardinal Keeler at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hagerstown back in 2004 for the funeral for the former pastor of the church. It was something watching him celebrate the mass. He sure did reach out to the community to teach the gospel in the Archdiocese . He loved the Archdiocese of Baltimore and will be greatly missed.

Interfaith Legacy of Hope and Inspiration_You Will Be Missed

Statement on the Passing of Cardinal Keeler
By Imam Mohamad Bashar Arafat
Monday, March 27, 2017

As a Muslim and an Imam in the Baltimore area since 1989, I feel very sad to learn of the passing of this towering figure in interfaith and outreach. I still remember his visit to the Grand Mufti of Syria in my house next to Al Rahmah Mosque in 1990 when I was the Imam at the Islamic Society of Baltimore.

We continued jointly in the path of building bridges until his retirement. It was he, who introduced my work in Washington, D.C. to the U.S. Department of State after being the Keynote Speaker at the Inauguration of my organization on September 30th, 2002. It was he, who gave me tremendous support in Baltimore to move forward with my mission of building stronger more cooperative Interfaith relations and it was he, who invited me to meet with Pope John Paul II during his visit to Baltimore.

We will miss you Cardinal Keeler. Rest in peace! Even as your body departs us, your soul will continue to guide this city of ours and the State of Maryland, which was and will continue to be a beacon of tolerance, harmony, welcoming immigrants and coexistence among members of various religions, cultures and races.

Unhurried attention

When our Community of the All Saints Sisters of the Poor was received into the Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Keeler made it a point to welcome us into the Archdiocese of Baltimore family. Following the Latin Mass at St. Alphonsus Liguori one Sunday, the Cardinal took the time to speak with each one of us, individually, to share a word of greeting and encouragement. It didn’t seem to matter that there were many other people waiting to greet him. His unhurried attention spoke volumes to us and endeared him to us forever. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

-Anonymous

A learning experience

I had the privilege of working with His Eminence for quite a few years. It was a joy, honor and pleasure–and a great learning experience for me. Cardinal Keeler did so much to build understanding and trust between the Catholic and Jewish communities. God rest his sweet soul. Shalom.

-Rabbi Gilbert S. Rosenthal Retired Executive Director, the National Council of Synagogues

Gracious and kind

I remember how warm and gracious Cardinal Keeler was when celebrating Mass at a children’s Lenten march a few years ago on Harford Road. He was very kind with words of encouragement to the young people who marched. We won’t forget his participation. What a great day!

-Anonymous

Considerate, patient boss

Cardinal Keeler was, for the eight years that I was a member of his staff, a kind, considerate, patient boss who always made sure that he would greet all of us each day when he came to the office. My prayers and thoughts are for the rest of his soul in the arms of that Lord that he followed so faithfully, and for the consolation of his sister Julia and his family. With love and gratitude

-Estella Chavez

Confirmations

I was blessed to hear Cardinal Keeler twice at services for confirmation. His kindness, compassion, and commitment to our youth was inspirational to all in his midst. A sad day for us in Baltimore MD, but I’m certain he is bringing joy to others as he ascends home to be with our father.

-Anonymous

Great friend

I meant to mention that we travelled all over the East Coast and I even accompanied him on a trip to the Vatican. I was by his side at the funeral of Cardinal Dulles funeral at St. Patricks in New York. I am not afraid to say that I loved him! A wonderful human being and great friend of mine. He is now getting his eternal reward. He was the most important person in my life. God Bless You!

-Bob Bradshaw

Warmth and charm

When my great-uncle John J. Russell Bishop of Richmond passed away, I had the great honor of being seated next to Archbishop Keeler at the luncheon reception after the funeral. I was a young woman in my 30’s at the time, and was somewhat intimidated when I learned of my assigned seating arrangement. “What in the world could I possibly talk to His Eminence about?”, I wondered to myself. But I quickly realized my worry was unnecessary. He put me at ease immediately with his warmth and charm. And truth be told, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise with his stories and jokes about my beloved uncle. I came away with my sadness dissipated and my spirits entirely lifted. The Archbishop was a consummate “gentleman”, and I will never forget his kindness!

-Susan McCormick

Birch Beer

I had the privilege of serving on the APC with the Cardinal. He was always so gracious and very interested in all of us on the committee. He let it slip that Birch Beer was his favorite soda, so when we had our final meeting and social I made sure Birch Beer was there for him. During his time at Little Sisters, he enjoyed music so much, especially the old Irish songs, where he would join in on the singing. Such a really nice man besides being a wonderful leader of our Archdiocese.

-Pamela Perc

Thoughtful listener

In 2003, Cardinal Keeler agreed to meet with 2 laypersons who asked permission and his blessing to go directly to parishes and ask parishioners to pray for and support a totally (non-existent!) pro-life, non-contraceptive OB/GYN practice in the metro area of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. He was very kind, listened thoughtfully, and not only gave his blessing, but established a way in which his office, per our request, sent an introductory letter to pastors encouraging them to allow the effort before they were directly contacted by the laypersons, over a period of several years. This effort of prayer, which eventually included over 2,000 people in the Anne Arundel County area, was clearly the spiritual catalyst for Natural Fertility Care at St. Agnes. Cardinal Keeler thoughtfully listened, and didn’t think the desire OR the effort for this goal was crazy. Thank you, Cardinal Keeler! Your initial blessing has led to countless changed hearts and joyful families!

-Kathryn Kirby

Thank you

I just wanted to express my deepest sympathy for the family and close friends of the late Cardinal Keeler. I know that he is forever in paradise with our Lord and Savior. And no more sickness or pain. Thank You for all of your wonderful works on earth.

-Penny Gischlar