By Ralph E. Moore, Jr.

Good Friday’s All Women Prayer Leaders in St. Ann Catholic Church

On a solemn Good Friday, last week, in the typically male-dominated Catholic Church in East Baltimore, known as St. Ann, a group of women leaders and preachers reflected on the “Seven Last Words of Jesus” as Biblically recorded. To a sizable crowd for the 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM prayer service, seven women reflected on the meaning of the final thoughts of the Dying One as he hung from the cross.  

It was a gathering of returnees to their former church home and regular parishioners—some speaking and some preaching—but all bringing insight, inspiration and energy to the most unusual occasion.  It was most unusual: seven women giving the word in a church stuck in the Middle Ages when women were locked out of the Catholic priesthood. Dana Moore, Bishop Dena S. Jobes, Nina Shipman-Vick, Fran Ware, Regine Laforest-Sharif, Minister Rosalind Schwind and Phyllis Brewer lifted us all up with words of faith and hope.  It was a very special service organized beautifully by Delores Moore of St. Ann Church.

Some came from other churches to hear the women.  Some were from the three churches clustered together—St. Ann, Historic St, Francis Xavier and St. Wenceslaus in a Pastorate structure. There is some talk this will be an annual event—women getting the last words on the Last Words of Dying Jesus.  It is right and just; so, let it be so.

Commentary

Happy Anniversary to Oriole Park and to My First Visit

Baltimore is remembering the 30th Anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards this 2022 baseball season. Some may recall that it was complicated to name the ballpark for its debut.  

After spending nearly $110 million to build on 85 acres and to seat now 45,971 fans, according to the Maryland Stadium Authority, the name choices were owner’s choice of Oriole Park or Camden Yards, William Donald Schaefer’s preference.  But neither could be agreed upon, so the compromise was the combination: Oriole Park at Camden Yards. A little long for a title, but maybe now it fits.

I boycotted going to the stadium beginning when it was under construction from 1988 to 1992, including taking my young daughters (Zahra and Nia) to picket at the site.  Many in the city felt its priorities were wrong. Why were the powers that be, building a new baseball stadium for team owners—a playpen for adults–while the children of Baltimore played in the street due to diminished recreation centers around Baltimore and struggling schools.

So, for the first ten years that Oriole Pak was open, I refused to go to a ball game there. I heard all the gushing about how beautiful, dynamic and groundbreaking the new stadium was; with comfortable seating, an unobstructed view of the field and the incorporation of that long B and O Warehouse building into the “retro” design. 

I was holding out until the city government spent comparable funding on city public schools as they did on Oriole Park but that never happened and so I gave up and ended my boycott after ten years.  

My wife, Dana, and two good friends accompanied me to my first game at the new stadium and she made it a notable first trip to Camden Yards.  First, we had good seats. Then, over the public address system, to my embarrassment, the announcer welcomed me to Oriole Park for the first time.  Dana had somehow convinced them to also print that welcome in big letters on the big screen inside the park.  And just when I thought it was safe to come out of embarrassment, the Oriole Bird mascot came by with its enthusiastic, silent greetings and made an attempt to sit on my head as if it were an egg to be hatched.  

We had a great bunch of laughs that night at my expense but it was all for fun… and that was 20 years ago or so.

Just sayin’

Marilyn Mosby’s ad announcing her candidacy for a third term as State’s Attorney for Baltimore City is very well done. In fact, it is by far one of the best political ads that I have ever seen and I’ve seen a few. It has been said that what makes a leader is followers.  Watch what happens to Ms. Mosby symbolically as she walks down the street in her ad. “Don’t believe me, just watch.”

As the election for various offices proceeds, bear in mind the side stories are interesting, perhaps, but what about the issues? Who as governor will bring far more equitable income and wealth to poor folks in West Baltimore, East Baltimore, South Baltimore, Park Heights and elsewhere? Who has a plan for eliminating poverty in Baltimore like it’s never been done?

Finally, President Joe Biden’s approval rating is now at 33 percent despite stimulating the economy including reducing unemployment, getting COVID more under control and securing the first African American woman on the Supreme Court.  But there is no federal policy reform, no federal voting rights protections, no gun control amid massive shootings and deaths and Louis DeJoy is still postmaster of the United States Post Office. Inflation at the supermarket and at the gas pump is what’s killing his ratings. Sorry, Joe.

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