Cardinal Keeler dedicates building at St. Philip Neri


November 18, 2001|By Rosalie Falter | Rosalie Falter,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CARDINAL WILLIAM H. Keeler came to Linthicum recently to bless the cornerstone and preside over dedication ceremonies for the new parish center at St. Philip Neri Church.

At the ceremony Nov. 10, Keeler, the archbishop of Baltimore, thanked Monsignor Francis X. Zorbach, pastor of St. Philip, for his leadership in overseeing the construction of the multipurpose building. He thanked the architect and the contractor, and he thanked the congregation for its support of the project.

"I am delighted to have this opportunity to affirm how much the church and school means to the whole community in light of what happened on Sept. 11," Keeler said during the ceremony. "For so many, the need to connect with God and the need to relate well to each other, especially in the family and church, has become more urgent in the light of that national tragedy."

Assisting Keeler were Zorbach; Monsignor Lawrence Waudby, chancellor of the archdiocese; and Robert L. Keeley, permanent deacon of St. Philip Neri. The event also was attended by Ronald J. Valenti, superintendent of Baltimore's Catholic schools; Paul Clark of Colimore/Clark Associates, the building's architect; and Norman Cox, construction supervisor. The Rev. John L. Lippold, who recently retired as associate pastor from St. Philip, returned to be a part of the festivities.

Anne Arundel County dignitaries joined several hundred parishioners at the dedication. Pamela G. Beidle, 1st District County Council member, joked with Zorbach, saying, "You were so good at this building project, I think we should hire you in Anne Arundel County."

Scout troops sponsored by the parish presented the colors at the dedication and the school choir participated by singing several hymns.

St. Philip Neri parish was created in Linthicum Heights in 1964. A church, school and rectory were built to serve a growing Catholic population in the north county area. As the school's enrollment has increased over the years, space in that building has become very tight, said Zorbach, pastor since 1971.

The new building will house religious education and youth ministry offices, freeing space in the school. A large space will serve as a combined gymnasium, stage, auditorium and cafeteria.

It will be used not only by the school, but also for parish social meetings and other events. The center has a kitchen, meeting rooms and offices. The building is on ground level and will be accessible to the elderly and anyone who might have difficulty climbing steps.

The weather was beautiful during the ceremony, and refreshments were served outdoors. Julie Lamartina Dinko, a 40-year member of the parish, was one of the many in the congregation who could not hide their enthusiasm that the project was completed.

"It's been a long-awaited project," she said. "Monsignor is the greatest."

Lisa Miller was excited that her son, Jacob, who is in the first grade, would start with the new building and get full use from it.

"My son can't wait to get in the new gym-cafeteria," she said.

Beth Varner no longer has children in school, but was equally happy about the facility.

"When I saw the drawing of the building it was hard to visualize," she said. "But it is really nice, and it is good there are no steps."

Now that the basement cafeteria area in the school will no longer be used, plans call for the large space to be divided into a music room, library, day care center, art room and computer lab.

Potomac Mills mall trip

Ferndale Roadrunners senior group will sponsor a "shop-till-you-drop" trip to Potomac Mills mall in Virginia on Dec. 14. The bus will leave Ferndale Senior Center at 7205 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd. at 8:30 a.m. and return at 6:30 p.m. A stop on the way home will be made at Watkins Park to see the Christmas lights display. The cost is $13.

Reservations and information: 410-761-0484.

Democrats' dinner

District 32 Democratic Club will hold its monthly meeting Thursday at Ferndale Senior Center. A traditional Thanksgiving dinner will be served at 7 p.m. The cost is $4.

The meeting will begin at 8 p.m. A representative of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund will speak.

Guests and anyone interested in joining the club are welcome. Dues are $10 a year. The club meets the third Thursday of each month.

Information: Kathy Sauble, 410-859-1632; or Evelyn Kellner, 410-672-6850.

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