Memories: Cardinal William H. Keeler

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.


Pope function

My husband assisted a breakfast for the Pope in Baltimore and was lucky enough to shake hands with Cardinal Keeler and get a photograph.

-Lorraine Morris


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


Choir for his installation

I was happy to attend Cardinal Keeler’s Installation, as Archbishop of Baltimore, as a member of the Archdiocesan Choir, in 1989. I was very pleased to be at Camden Yards, for Pope St. John-Paul II visit. May he Rest in Peace.

-Terry Mahoney


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


True man of faith

Sandi, Sara and I were blessed to have met and spoken to Cardinal Keeler on several occasions. A true man of faith. We were honored to have known him. He will be missed by many.


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


Graciously shook hands

Several years ago, my parents and I met Cardinal Keeler and shook his hand after a Mass he said at the Basilica in Washington, D.C. He was very kind and gracious and we were deeply touched by his kind words, his radiant smile and his beautiful blue eyes.

-Mary Malitz


Visit at historic residence

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Cardinal Keeler on a few occasions during his time as Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore. My favorite time with him was when I visited him in Baltimore at his home back in 2008. I told him that I was planning on visiting the city for the very first time and will be visiting the Basilica for mass. He invited me to come and see him at his home at the historic Archbishop’s Residence behind the Basilica. When I arrived there, he took me on tour of the majestic place and I was in such awe of the man himself. He was holy, humble, kind and very smart! He told me both the history of the historic building and of the Archdiocese. He had such great intellect, and a sincere devotion to Christ and his Church. For he so loved the Church! He was definitely a people’s priest! My prayers are with the people of this wonderful Archdiocese he so faithfully served as its 14th Archbishop and with the entire Keeler family during this difficult time. May the good Lord reward this holy and faithful servant of the Church eternal peace among the angels in Heaven! Rest in peace Your Eminence! Well done, good and faithful servant!

-Andrew Masi


Campaign for Human Development support

As I was just immersing myself in Catholic Social Teaching and advocacy, his support for community organizing for the Campaign for Human Development was writ large. He is sorely missed.

-Ann Dalrymple


Working for Cardinal Keeler

My husband, Bob Fewster, president and owner of R. H. Fewster Painting Company received an award from Cardinal Keller for painting the Immaculate Conception Church. Msgr. Tinder, pastor at the time, was thrilled with the beautiful job that Bob and his company did. Bob cherishes the award and recognition from Cardinal Keeler. Bob’s company also had the honor of painting the personal residence of the Cardinal and always felt a sense of great pride in making the Cardinal Keeler smile. We will always love and remember the Cardinal and are grateful for the significant impact on he had on all of our lives.

-The Fewster Family (Bob, Darlene, Kelly, and Stacy)


Outstanding virtues

Besides the other outstanding virtues for which Cardinal Keeler should be remembered I would like to single out his loyalty to his friends. As Archbishop of Baltimore and even in retirement until a few years ago he continued to invite to a modest celebration of the anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood (on July 17) friends from the time he had spent both at the Pontifical North American College in Rome and in the Diocese of Harrisburg, and he showed his interest in them in other practical ways. He was deeply grieved when one of his friends was killed and another was seriously injured in the automobile accident in Italy in which he also suffered grievous injuries. We who benefited from his kindness will always remain grateful to his memory. Rev. Msgr. Robert Trisco, P.A., The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

-Robert Trisco


Sense of humor

We were very blessed to have his Eminence Cardinal William Keeler sit beside us at a luncheon at Turf Valley.We were being honored as faithful contributors of the Archbishops Lenten Appeal, The spirit of Cardinal Keeler and his sense of humor enlightened our whole visit. We pray for the repose of his soul and and give thanks for all he did for our city of Baltimore.

-John & Beverly Zambito


Last Rites for my brother

My brother was involved in a motorcycle accident in 2005 and was not expected to live. Cardinal Keeler was at the same hospital looking after his brother who was in the next cubicle. After listening to my story about my brother, he insisted on giving my brother Bob the Last Rites. I said that was not necessary but he insisted. He went to his car that was in the garage, returned and performed the Last Rites for my brother. What really amazed me about the Cardinal, after giving Bob the sacrament, he went around the room and asked who everyone was. When he got to me I told him I was his brother Bill. His Response was,” my name is Bill, too”. At that point he was not a Cardinal but a friend with someone who was in the same situation as he was. I will always remember that moment at the Hospital.

-Bill Rothe


Gentle soul

My mother, Jane Runey, was very proud to serve Cardinal Keeler in the twilight of his life. She will miss working for him and has so many stories to tell! She was very dedicated to him and loved this man for his gentle soul. Rest in Peace, Cardinal Keeler.

-Kelly Sheridan


Prodigious intellect

When my uncle, Monsignor Nicholas W. Dohony, was on his death bed, Cardinal Keeler visited him, knelt and asked for his blessing. I then worked with His Eminence on the board of the Basilica Restoration Trust and accompanied him to Rome in 2001 when we presented the plans for the restoration of the nation’s oldest Catholic cathedral to His Holiness. On that trip, His Eminence enabled me to meet Saint John Paul II at St. Peter’s, just outside the Porta Sancta. After his tenure as the shepherd of the Archdiocese, I served as president of the local St. Thomas More Society and saw him from time to time. Later, he honored me by allowing me to drive him to the installation of Monsignor Jim Farmer as pastor of St. John’s Westminster. I saw him from time to time at St. Martin’s Home because I am a past president and current counsel (for the last 30 years or so) of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, whose principal charity if the Little Sisters of the Poor. At the end, his prodigious intellect and seemingly eidetic memory had departed. What remained was his gentle humility, which leaves all of us with an enduring legacy of faith.

-Michael May


Scouting experiences

In 2009 Cardinal Keeler and Fr. Jeff Dauses welcomed our Cub Scouts (Pack 794 – OLPH Ellicott City) who were working on their Parvuli Dei religious award to the Basilica and Cardinal’s residence. The Cardinal took the time to answer questions from the scouts about his scouting experiences and how became an Eagle Scout, a Priest, a Bishop and Cardinal.

-Bill Glover


His spirit will remain with me always

I got to know Cardinal Keeler real well in 1977 when he was a monsignor. We all went to Rome with Bishop Daley and the Diocese of Harrisburg for the cannonization of John Neuman. During those eight days at that time, Monsignor Keeler and I established a close relationship with each other. When he became Bishop of Harrisburg we still stayed in touch with each other and even when he left for Baltimore and became Archbishop and then Cardinal our relationship became even greater. I visited him at the Little Sisters of the Poor last summer and his health was very bad. I will miss him very much but I know that he at peace with Our Lord in heaven and that he will not suffer anymore. May God Bless you Cardinal Keeler and I will miss you very much but your spirit will remain with me always.

-Robert M. Mraz

Cathedral Parish of St. Patrick – Harrisburg, Pa


Inspiration to be a faithful man

I remember the Mass and Christ The King breakfast we shared with Cardinal Keeler. The talk he gave to us Catholic men in Portland Maine gave me inspiration to be a faithful man of Jesus Christ our Lord. Also to keep courage and Love in occupation and public life. I will miss him and pray for the family and friends of Cardinal Keeler. I pray to continue the good work he accomplished.

-Rob Poissant


A one of a kind, caring and loving person

The great Cardinal William Keeler was exceptional and truly an one-of-a-kind caring and loving and very important person. When my Dad had only 2 weeks to live in May of 1998 I went to the Basillica in Baltimore City, to pray for him. Cardinal Keeler happened to be there that very afternoon and he said he had just returned from Rome after visiting with then Pope John Paul the II.  I told him that my Dad needed a miracle and we were there to respectfully and fervently pray for him. I mostly wanted my Dad to be there so the Highly Revered and Respected Cardinal Keeler could actually bless him. So then Cardinal William Keeler said to me, “I’ll bless you, and he placed the sign of the cross on my forehead and now you can go and bless him.” So when I got back to my parents home I rubbed my forehead onto my Father’s forehead and I made the sign of the cross over him and I told him that that was directly from Cardinal Keeler. After my Dad died I wrote to Cardinal Keeler to thank him and he replied back to me by sending me a beautiful letter of condolence. Cardinal Keeler was a very “SPECIAL” person and man and Priest and Catholic Man of the very SACRED and Holy and Old School Cloth. HE WAS A TRUE MAN OF GOD AND HE HAD GOD EMANATING FROM HIS EYES, HIS SOUL AND EVERY PORE AND HIS WHOLE BODY. He will be greatly missed!

– Lillian Howarth


An amazing memory

When Cardinal Keeler was Bishop of Harrisburg, PA, he would often quietly enter the Harrisburg Hospital which was downtown and visit patients. One evening, I was visiting my father in that hospital, and I noticed Bishop Keeler walk past the door of my father’s room, glance inside and briefly make eye contact with my father’s room mate, keep walking, and then quickly turn around to enter the room. Bishop did know my father, but he was primarily interested in my father’s roommate. His roommate was a lovely gentleman who I believe used to be a curator at the museum downtown, and whom Bishop had helped with a display of Catholic objects which had been at the museum for a time. Bishop’s first words to the man were “You were right.” They had a very nice conversation about Catholics use of the word “Father”, after which Bishop blessed both patients and then left. My father’s roommate was astounded. When we asked him why, he said that he hadn’t seen Bishop for many, many years. Bishop had remembered the very last thing they had spoken about so many years before , and had continued the conversation as if it had happened yesterday. Cardinal Keeler had an amazing memory, and he certainly delighted my father’s roommate with his special way of remembering people and conversations.

 – Ann Marie Lapcowicz


Lack of pretension

I was struck by his lack of pretension. I once met his eminence in Rome. He was just wearing a priest’s collar and jacket. I asked “where is your cross?” He said, “at home. This isn’t a costume party.” He shows me, in a simple statement, that he was just a priest.

-William Kraus


A personal blessing

My family and I were on the same flight from Orlando to Baltimore with Cardinal Keeler about 9 years ago. He was brought to the waiting area in a wheelchair. I was nervous about approaching him but I introduced myself and my wife. He was so friendly and wanted to know about the parish we attend and our family. I finally asked if he would give his personal blessing to my wife and I which he did gladly. I had a chance to return his kindness at BWI when we were waiting for our luggage to come out on the belt that was listed but it didn’t. Everyone including the Cardinal were just standing around. I check several of the other belts and found our luggage. Directly next to ours was the Cardinals. i escorted him to his luggage which he thanked me for. His last words to me were God Bless. I know he is with the Lord and is happier than anyone could possibly express. God Bless you Cardinal Keeler Lyndon Freeman & family (Our Lady of Hope parish)

– Lyndon B. Freeman II


From a caregiver

As one of Cardinal Keeler’s caregivers I had many great opportunities for special conversations on Religion that helped to bring me back to my Catholic faith.I also appreciated the many smiles and laughs that brightened the days.Thank you Cardinal Keeler for all our special times.

– Theresa Bushee


Youth Pilgrimage

I remember the many years he walked with the youth of Baltimore for the Annual Youth Pilgrimage – even as he got up in years he loved being with the young people – and they loved him too!

-Dolores Gorgone


Catholic School Conventions

I remember how gracious Cardinal Keeler was at one of our Catholic School Conventions. At the end of the Mass, he waited in the back to shake our hand and talk to us. There were at least 2,000 educators there. I was moved and impressed by this.

-Joan Williams


Cardinal's biretta

The first time we met the Cardinal, it was in February 1995 at a kickoff meeting promoting his annual Archbishop’s appeal. After his presentation, we asked the Cardinal how we could get a letter from his office in order to go to a Papal audience in Rome someday. In a very manner of fact manner Cardinal Keeler said, “I’m going to Rome in May, why don’t you come with me?” Because of Cardinal Keeler, on May 1, 1995, we actually met Saint Pope John Paul II in a private audience with our pilgrimage tour group at the Vatican. May 1st is a national holiday in Italy, and the Pope had only returned from Castle Gandolfo the day before, but the Pope honored Cardinal Keeler by granting the private audience. As a thanksgiving for that day, my wife and I volunteered weekends that summer to prepare for the Pope’s October visit to Baltimore. We were able to attend the Papal mass at Camden Yards and the farewell ceremony at BWI airport. Five years later, we introduced him to our own young son, named John Paul. At a World Marriage Day at the Cathedral, walking in the opening procession, Cardinal Keeler spotted John Paul and blessed him and others along the main aisle. In his homily, Cardinal Keeler talked about the need for vocations to the priesthood and noted, “And I have my eye on a certain young man in this church today…” After mass, he told us with a smile that of course he was referring to our John Paul. Whenever Cardinal Keeler met John Paul, he would take off his red Cardinal’s cap and warmly put it on John Paul’s head. In 2003, we once again went with Cardinal Keeler on a pilgrimage tour to Rome and Vatican City, bringing John Paul with us, who was only 3 at the time. There are so many other stories, but I end by giving our many thanks to Cardinal Keeler for all he did for our family. The photo is from October 15, 2003 at St. Peter’s Basilica right after an outdoor address by Saint Pope John Paul II.

-William Smith


Mass at Cathedral

In the mid 1990’s as a research scientist working at the time at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico (USA), I was in Baltimore for a national annual conference on nondestructive testing. It was at a low point in my life and I took some time off from listening to talks in the technical sessions to go to a weekday Mass at the Cathedral which was within walking distance of the conference site. His Eminence, Cardinal Archbishop Keeler, was the Celebrant. It was the only time in my life I was in the presence of this holy man. At that time I was unaware of his work to promote interfaith encounter or of his motto “Do the work of an evangelist,” two themes that since then have operated in my own life of service to the Church. But my service seen at age 74 here in Vermont now as my home has been tiny in comparison to his opus magnus. Knowing thus he is missed, I offer heartfelt condolences to those who knew him much better, over years and decades, not for just an half hour.

-Harold M. “Hall” Frost Ph.D.


Courageous voice and vision

I will always be grateful to Cardinal Keeler: he baptized me, confirmed me, gave me first Eucharist, and even ordained me deacon and priest. I will miss him, especially his courageous voice and vision for ecumenical and interfaith relations. Cardinal Keeler gave myself and many other seminarians the great opportunity to participate in the Center for Christian Jewish Understanding (CCJU), which brought christian and Jewish seminarians together to learn how to dialogue with one another in a spirit of trust and understanding. Now that we have lost such an important bridge-builder who worked for greater relationships with people of differing faith traditions, maybe we can best honor him by our own commitments to building peace and trust and common work together with our sisters and brothers of all faiths.

-Fr. Ty Hullinger


Catholic University grad

Cardinal Keeler had a positive relationship and effect on so many of the youth of the Diocese, including my daughter. When she was in high school in the year 2000, she attended World Youth Day in Rome. Cardinal Keeler spent quite a bit of time getting to know the youth on that trip, and even attended their reunion after they were back in Baltimore. A conversation with my daughter about Catholic University helped solidify her decision to attend CUA, where she received a first class nursing education. Thank you, Cardinal Keeler, and may you rest in peace.

-Barbara Sponn


Gentle and humble

I had the pleasure of his company many times during my time as docent at the Baltimore Basilica. There was a gentleness about him so calming and humble.

-Sharon Schmedes


American College in Rome

He loved the North American College in Rome and as attorney for the College I saw all the good he did for it as a Board member and Chairman over many years.

-James Crowley, Esq


Eagle Scout Award

When Cardinal Keeler received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award in 1990, I was the scout chosen to give the invocation. I was fifteen years old at the time and I had the pleasure of sitting next to the then-new Archbishop during breakfast. He shared his recollections of summers spent at Camp Bashore, of his Order of the Arrow ordeal and he commended me on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout at a young age. Noticing that I was not wearing the purple religious emblems “square knot” on my scout uniform, he challenged me to earn the Ad Altare Dei medal, noting that I still had something to work for and plenty of time left in scouting. Earning the Ad Altare Dei in 1991 and then the Pope Pius XII award in 1992 started me back on a path that I had left when I stopped attending CCD in the seventh grade. Like any journey, mine had its fits and starts but it seemed that scouting always helped point the way back to the Church. If I would begin to neglect my Sunday obligation, a scout trip or training usually brought me back. Finally, while attending Drew University in New Jersey, I participated in RCIA and received the Sacrament of Confirmation on April 23, 1995, the feast day of Saint George, the patron of the scout movement. I shared this story with Cardinal Keeler in 2007, in advance of him presented me with the Saint George medal from the National Catholic Committee on Scouting during the annual Scout Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. If not for his words of admonition seventeen years prior, I likely would not have been with him on that day. My final visit with Cardinal Keeler was the occasion of him receiving the Silver Buffalo award from the Boy Scouts in April 2013 at the Little Sisters of the Poor, St. Martin’s Home. I’m thankful for the impact he has had on my life over these past twenty seven years.

-J.D. Urbach