Quotes about Cardinal Donald Wuerl and his service as archbishop of Washington
Oct. 11, 2018
(Compiled from the Catholic Standard newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington.)
“I learned from him what it means to be a good bishop… Cardinal Wuerl has taught me the importance of seeking the best from myself and the people around me who serve the mission of the Church, to proclaim the faith, to celebrate the sacraments and to serve in charity. For this, I am profoundly grateful… I’ve learned a lot about how the Church works, how to maintain a complex institution and focus on the heart of the mission of the Church.”
– Richmond Bishop Barry Knestout, former auxiliary bishop, vicar general and moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Washington
“We live in a moment of history where many people have drifted away from the Church. If we are serious about discipleship, we can’t just sit in the church and wait for people to come back to us. We must go out. We are blessed in the Archdiocese of Washington to be led by a shepherd who not only believes in the call to go out to the peripheries, but also teaches us how to set sail on the digital highway and lead others to an encounter with Jesus.
“Cardinal Wuerl, who tweets from @Cardinal_Wuerl, publishes on the Seek First the Kingdom blog, and regularly sends emails to his e-letter distribution list, is by far my chief digital instructor…
“Cardinal Wuerl has taught us that in the face of injustice, it’s no time to be silent. We must raise our voices – both in prayer and in advocacy efforts. We need to be a voice for the voiceless, to take a stand for life, and in the face of senseless violence, respond to evil with love. Cardinal Wuerl has taught us that the joy of being alive in the Lord is something we must share. It’s our turn now…
“Translating these lessons into a digital strategy has yielded amazing fruit. The Archdiocese of Washington is the leading archdiocesan social media presence in North America.”
– Sarah Yaklic, director of the Grotto Network of the University of Notre Dame and former director of digital media for the Archdiocese of Washington
“We are number one. There is no other Catholic diocesan Youtube channel that beats us. We are number one for views and number one for subscribers… Based on his years of video production in Pittsburgh, he (Cardinal Wuerl) gets the impact. He gets the fact that you need to do video, because for a large number of people, that is how they are learning and how they want to learn. He understands very well video and digital messaging… Cardinal Wuerl thinks big about digital messaging because he knows there is a big audience out there that we need to reach… At the core of us all is the yearning for God’s love. Everyone is hungry for Christ in their life. When you see a video – no matter where you are in your journey in life – I think it resonates with you.”
– Christopher Baker, director of multimedia production for the Archdiocese of Washington
““What is most inspiring about Cardinal Wuerl establishing this seminary is the incredible vision it took and the courage to follow that to completion. Within three years, the seminary was filled, so we knew that inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that courage to bring it forth, bore great fruit for all the men studying there, and for the future priests of our archdiocese…
“He loves being present to the seminary and the seminarians. He’s got a very profound commitment to the work of priestly formation… The most important thing is that the fruit of the work will be men who will bring Christ and his sacramental presence to the people of God, bringing His love and mercy. That’s why we have the seminary.”
– Msgr. Robert Panke, rector of the Saint John Paul II Seminary in Washington, which Cardinal Wuerl founded in 2011
“I really love his love for the priesthood. It shows in the way he visits us and prays with us. He wants to share the grace of priesthood and the gift it is with us as future priests.”
– Danny Baxter, seminarian for the Archdiocese of Washington
“So much of his ministry is devoted to helping us at all stages, from children to young adults to older adults, in enriching us in our faith by constantly sharing with us a deeper understanding of what we believe (as Catholics) and why we believe it…
“No one has spoken out more fervently, more clearly and more precisely on the subject of religious freedom than Cardinal Wuerl. He has written pastoral letters, he’s written columns, he’s blogged about it, he’s tweeted about it, he’s given speeches about it, and I think it’s because he wants us to understand how vitally important it is for us to protect and defend the right we have been given, not by our government but by God, the right to be free to worship and free to practice our religion. These are rights that are enshrined in our Constitution – the First Amendment is the right of free expression and the right to practice our religion. It’s a right that is precious to us, but like most things, if not protected and not defended, it can be lost.”
– Jane Belford, former chancellor of the Archdiocese of Washington
“He’s not only nationally but internationally known as a teacher of the faith… He has this ability to be able to present the fundamentals of the faith, to help people think about some of the questions and issues that are most vexing them, and this is a tremendous gift to the Church… He has addressed every topic that’s important to understanding what it means to be Catholic and to live the faith. He writes about the sacraments, he writes about religious liberty, he writes about evangelization.
“The second quality that makes him so effective is the tools that he uses to teach the faith. He could have so easily said, ‘I’m an author, and books are the best vehicle I can work with to be able to teach the faith broadly and widely,’ and yet he was one of the first bishops to embrace the use of TV for preaching and teaching. He uses radio, he uses digital media, he uses print media, and you see in that this great enthusiasm to say a teacher and preacher needs tools, and I’ll use any tool to help me be more effective in my teaching and in reaching people.”
– Susan Timoney, associate professor of pastoral studies and associate dean of undergraduate studies in the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America and former secretary for pastoral ministry and social concerns for the Archdiocese of Washington
“He engaged pastors, principals and the entire Catholic community… He cast a vision, told the truth about finances and enrollment, then established policies supported by resources that have transformed Catholic education in the archdiocese… Cardinal Wuerl has an unfailing commitment to teaching the faith to this generation and future generations. He knows the value of Catholic schools and parish religious education programs, and he has worked tirelessly to strengthen them and support their essential mission in the Catholic Church.”
– Thomas Burnford, president and CEO of the National Catholic Educational Association and former secretary for education for the Archdiocese of Washington
Cardinal Wuerl is continuing “a culture of welcome and valuing all persons here in the archdiocese… With the cardinal’s support, we have moved from access to belonging for our communities.” A key goal is “to make sure everyone is part of the life of a parish. No one is an afterthought.”
– Mary O’Meara, executive director of the Department of Special Needs Ministries for the Archdiocese of Washington, which Cardinal Wuerl established
“I’m the lucky one who gets to see him serving food to the homeless and praying with a man struggling to get back on his feet, giving full attention to his needs. I get to see him excited at a brand new effort to serve the immigrants who come to this city in need of care and concern, particularly those who are refugees from other places. I get to see him when he helps us support our Angels Watch program, which is a home for abused women and their children in Southern Maryland. I wish everyone could have these same experiences with Cardinal Wuerl, because they show the heart of a great priest who, now as a cardinal, still wakes up every day to serve and watch over those in need.
“I love that Cardinal Wuerl is not concerned about whether those we serve are Catholic, but that we as Catholics do our best to serve all who need our help. It is a truly powerful witness to Christ’s love for all of his children.”
– Msgr. John Enzler, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington
“As the archbishop of Washington, he has provided wonderful leadership and openness to other faiths. He has met with leaders of many diverse faiths… His leadership (in interfaith efforts) sets the tempo for the archdiocese, his staff and other bishops and for his congregations. When he does those things (that engage other faith traditions), he is signaling to his parishes that this is important work.”
– Rev. Clark Lobenstine, former executive director of the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington
"Cardinal Wuerl’s enduring legacy will be finding new and creative ways to give witness to the joy of the Gospel to all those hungry for the Word of God, whether through a renewal of catechetical efforts, creative and practical pastoral initiatives, and going out of his way to encounter young people as a spiritual father. The cardinal always reminds us to put our faith in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit who continues to guide our Church as He has done for 2,000 years. This gives me great hope especially in this time of transition. This enduring trust in Jesus Christ does not excuse us from taking responsibility but instead strengthens us to play a very important role to witness to the love of Jesus in the places God sends us. He says to us still today: 'You will be my witnesses!’"
– Jonathan Lewis, assistant secretary for pastoral ministry and social concerns for the Archdiocese of Washington, who earlier served as the archdiocese’s director of young adult ministry and evangelization initiatives
“When Cardinal Wuerl convoked an Archdiocesan Synod in June of 2014, it was preceded by nearly two years of preparatory work in which more than 15,000 people, and every parish, were consulted. He wanted to hear what we had to say so that he could help articulate the Holy Spirit’s call for us in the archdiocese. Cardinal Wuerl clearly understands that God does not just talk to him, but to all of us…
“Talking the talk is not enough; things need to get done. Cardinal Wuerl has worked with almost every group in the archdiocese to ensure the Gospel is preached, and the good works of the Church flourish. Parish Partners is a great example of this. Instead of having Catholic Charities do the work of caring for the poor alone, each parish is encouraged, both spiritually and financially, to discern a ministry for helping others. We cannot do it alone.
“Cardinal Wuerl has served the Church in almost every conceivable way. From altar boy to elector of the pope, he has fought for the poor, for religious liberty, and Catholic education… All this and much, much more, he has done for the Church. As he helped us understand in one of his pastoral letters to the archdiocese, the Church is our spiritual home and we must care for it.
“Above all, Cardinal Wuerl is driven by the greatest love – not for an institution or an idea, but for the Person they make present. Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
– Father William Byrne, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Potomac and former secretary for pastoral ministry and social concerns for the Archdiocese of Washington
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