Monsignor Love dies fed the poor at Basilica

February 26, 1993|By Staff Report

Msgr. Paul L. Love, who presided over the first downtown church program feeding the poor as rector of Baltimore's historic Roman Catholic Basilica of the Assumption, died Tuesday of heart disease at Stella Maris Hospice.

The 71-year-old monsignor retired in 1988 and had lived at the rectory of St. Anthony of Padua Church on Frankford Avenue until his recent move to Stella Maris on Dulaney Valley Road. He had been in failing health for several years.

The native Baltimorean obtained his elementary education at St. Thomas Aquinas and Mount Washington Country schools, attended Calvert Hall, and graduated from Loyola College in 1943.

After studying philosophy at St. Mary's Seminary on Paca Street and taking four years of theology at St. Mary's Seminary in Roland Park, he was ordained to the priesthood in June 1947 at what was then called the Cathedral of the Assumption.

His first assignment as a priest lasted nine years, at All Saints Church in the 4400 block of Liberty Heights Ave. in Northwest Baltimore. He left in 1956 for three years of studies leading to his doctorate in canon law from Catholic University in Washington, while serving as archivist for the Baltimore archdiocese.

After assignments at St. Clement Church in Rosedale and St. William of York in West Baltimore, he was named "vice officialis" of the tribunal dealing with marriage in "privilege of the faith" cases. He became "officialis" in 1968.

His longest assignment began in 1970, when he was named rector of the basilica at Cathedral and Mulberry streets, and later that year was named honorary prelate with the title of monsignor.

During his 18 years at the old basilica, Monsignor Love organized its organ trust fund and worked hard to make known the importance of the landmark, dedicated in 1821, as the first Roman Catholic cathedral in the nation.

In the late 1970s, Monsignor Love oversaw an expansion of the basilica's daily lunches, from 20 sandwiches a day to nearly 200, for the poor and homeless.

A few neighborhood merchants complained about a negative effect on business in the area, while Monsignor Love defended the lunch program as "part of the work of the church in the Baltimore community," responding to hunger.

The effort, he said, gave the volunteers making sandwiches "a sense of fulfillment in responding to what they consider a worthy cause," while "for the passer-by on Charles Street, it is a reminder that there are many people in our community in need."

The basilica lunch program evolved into the Catholic Charities-operated Our Daily Bread in the 400 block of Cathedral the state's largest soup kitchen, which serves some 800 free meals a day.

Monsignor Love held a number of other administrative positions in the archdiocese and had been professor of canon law at Mount St. Mary's Seminary. He also had been chaplain to the St. Thomas More Society, which, to Monsignor Love's delight in 1986, gave him its "Man for All Seasons" award.

Funeral arrangements include visiting hours of 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow and 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday at the Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home, 6500 York Road, Baltimore. A viewing was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at the Basilica of the Assumption, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m.

Monsignor Love is survived by his mother, Marguerite Love, also a resident of Stella Maris, and a brother, Richard Love of Cape May, N.J.

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