Thursday, June 11, 2009

Moving Up

Long time readers of this blog might remember a column I wrote back in February commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the late Brazilian archbishop Dom Helder Camara. In the column I contrasted Camara's choice to live among his people with the $1,644,200 home in which our bishop lived.

"Lived"? Yes, "lived". Today's Arlington Catholic Herald brings big news buried in a small photo caption: "Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde...recently moved into the St. Thomas More Center, adjacent to the [St. Thomas More Cathedral] school, which will serve both as his residence and a meeting space for diocesan functions."

We applaud this decision. It was unseemly in these days of economic crisis when so many faithful have lost their homes and their jobs for our shepherd to be occupying luxurious quarters while his people are suffering. According to an earlier article in the Herald, the diocese decided to convert the unoccupied former convent of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who used to staff the School, which had been empty for more than a decade, into a mixed use facility. The diocese will now sell the former residence.

“It became clearer to me that a diocesan bishop in today’s world has to do much more in terms of meeting people and groups in different way," Bishop Loverde said. "A bishop’s residence these days is not merely residential,” he added. “The diocesan bishop’s ministry now has taken on a broader and wider scope.”

So, welcome to the barrio, Monseñor Obispo! We hope that you will get to know your neighbors now that you are living among us. I invite you to walk up the block in the morning and meet the jornaleros who gather in the parking lots at the corner of Glebe and Pershing. Drop in on the adult ESL classes in the Cathedral School or at the Buckingham Outreach Center.

If you get hungry for a late night snack, Fr. Hoyos and I recommend our favorite pupusería - Doña Azucena's. It's right across the street and in addition to the excellent pupusas, they also serve very tasty carne asada and yucca con chicharrón.

Doña Azucena's is more than just a restaurant. It is a landmark, as in:

"¿Dónde está la Catedral?"

"Está frente a Doña Azucena en la Glebe Road."

"Eso sí. OK."

And when they find out you are a friend of Padre Hoyos, Monseñor Obispo, they will treat you like a king!

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