Nearly 200 Attendees On-hand to Receive Mass from Archbishop Lori as the University Celebrates its Sesquicentennial Anniversary
In honor of Black History Month and in celebration of its Sesquicentennial Anniversary, Morgan State University welcomed Archbishop William Lori of the Archdiocese of Baltimore to campus. The special visit marked the first time in the University’s 150-year history that an archbishop celebrated Mass on Morgan’s campus. Nearly 200 Morgan faculty, staff, students, and community residents were in attendance at the University Memorial Chapel to receive Archbishop Lori’s homily. The historic event was made possible through the joint effort of Morgan’s University Memorial Chapel and the Morgan Community Mile initiative.
“This historic Mass by Archbishop Lori during Morgan’s Sesquicentennial Celebration is an excellent reminder of the role that faith has played in the life and witness of our University,” said Reverend Bernard Keels, dean of the Morgan State University Memorial Chapel.
Archbishop Lori delivered an inspiring homily, which covered the history of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and its shared legacy with African-Americans in Baltimore, especially during the civil rights era. In particular, it covered the progressive stance of Cardinal Lawrence Shehan who led the fight against Baltimore’s housing discrimination and banned segregation in all of Baltimore’s Catholic institutions. Archbishop Lori also noted that Cardinal Shehan was a major participant in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Also in attendance were members of the Oblate Sisters of Providence who began in Baltimore in 1829 as the first Roman Catholic institute for Catholic women of the African diaspora. The Oblates were founded by Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange, who herself recognized the need for education for Baltimore’s growing free Black population at the same time as various Protestant denominations in Baltimore recognized this same need. From this movement came the founding of such institutions as St. James Protestant Episcopal Day School (1824); Daniel Coker’s Bethel Charity School (c. 1812); William Lively’s Union Seminary (1825); and the Sharp Street Methodist Episcopal Church’s Free African School (1802). It was in November 1867 at the Sharp Street Methodist Episcopal Church that the act of incorporation was signed to create the Centenary Biblical Institute, which eventually became Morgan State University. Members of Columbia Council 7559 of the Knights of Columbus also attended and assisted with the service.
“This historic day will be remembered for the new partnership we have created in the spirit of our shared legacy as Morgan State and the Archdiocese of Baltimore work together to enrich and empower our community,” said Dr. Victor McCrary, vice president for Research & Economic Development.
The Mass was followed by a reception held in the University Student Center, which included a skit performed by the students from Baltimore’s Mount Pleasant Christian. In the skit, students portrayed an imagined face-to-face meeting between Martin Luther King, Jr. and former President Barack Obama.
Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified Doctoral Research Institution offering more than 70 academic programs leading to bachelor’s degrees as well as programs at the master’s and doctoral levels. As Maryland’s premier public urban research university, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. More information about the university is available at www.morgan.edu.
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Clinton R. Coleman