All faiths gather to honor 2 clergymen


March 17, 2002|By Rosalie Falter | Rosalie Falter,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

NEARLY 200 PEOPLE of various faiths gathered for a prayer breakfast Wednesday at Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church to enjoy music, share fellowship, raise money for two homeless shelters and recognize two clergymen for their many years of devoted service to the community.

Marge Booker, president of the Woman's Club of Linthicum Heights, which sponsored the event, said that longevity was a fitting theme for the event because this year marked the 25th anniversary of the prayer breakfast. She presented certificates of appreciation to Monsignor Francis X. Zorbach, pastor of St. Philip Neri Roman Catholic Church, and the Rev. Dr. William F.R. Gilroy, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church.

Zorbach, a Baltimore native, was ordained a Catholic priest in 1952 and was first assigned to St. Mildred and St. Adrian parishes as assistant pastor. Those parishes were affiliated with St. Rita's Roman Catholic Church in Dundalk.

In 1958, Zorbach was assigned to SS. Philip and James Roman Catholic Church in Baltimore, where he was in charge of the Catholic Youth Organization. He also served as chaplain at Union Memorial Hospital and Seton High School.

In 1970, he was transferred to St. Philip Neri as assistant pastor. One year later, when Msgr. Joseph F. Healy retired, Zorbach became pastor. He was elevated to monsignor in 1995.

Zorbach provides opportunities for the youth of the parish who are required to perform community service. He works with the Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops of the parish and hosts the Boy Scouts' annual Blue and Gold Dinner.

He allows the use of SPN grounds to Linthicum Lions Club for its circus and a local Wal-Mart for its annual family picnic.

The monsignor is involved in the annual "Cross Walk" held with the other local churches. The walk begins with a service at St. Philip Neri and includes visits to churches of other denominations. Zorbach is involved with the other churches in the community youth ministry, which provides ski trips and other activities for youngsters.

The monsignor has led the parish in the construction of a new multipurpose center behind the school that houses offices, meeting rooms, an auditorium and a cafeteria for the parish and school.

He will celebrate his 50th anniversary as a priest June 7.

Gilroy is a graduate of Boy's Latin School of Maryland and Lenoir Rhyne College in North Carolina. He attended the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg. After graduation in 1973, he was ordained by the Maryland Synod of the Lutheran Church in America and was called to be assistant pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Hagerstown.

In 1976, he became the senior pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Woodbine, where he remained until 1984. During his tenure there he received a master of science degree in pastoral counseling from Loyola College in Baltimore and a doctor of ministry degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg. He was also commissioned as a chaplain in the U.S. Naval Reserve. In November 1984, he became the senior pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Linthicum.

Gilroy has served on the boards of the Arundel Hospice and Lutheran Social Services of Maryland. He is on the board of trustees of Boys' Latin School of Maryland and is secretary of the Chesapeake Chapter of the Lacrosse Foundation.

The pastor has attained the rank of captain in the Naval Reserve, and he recently completed a tour of duty as the commanding officer of all the Naval Reserve chaplains assigned to the Coast Guard. He was called to active duty after the attacks of Sept. 11 and served at the Pentagon.

Gilroy is a special projects officer for the chaplain of the Coast Guard and is working on the spiritual aspect of homeland defense and on rewriting the Coast Guard Commandant's Instruction on Religious Ministry in the Coast Guard.

During his tenure at St. John he has overseen the construction of a new wing which provides office space, additional Sunday school space and room for the music and youth programs. The latest project was the installation of air conditioning in the sanctuary.

He has coached youth lacrosse in Howard and Baltimore counties, and for the Apaches and Broncos sports groups in the Linthicum area.

He has been recognized by the Linthicum community for founding its Community Fair; has several military decorations, including the Navy Commendation Medal; and was selected a few years ago for the Boys' Latin School of Maryland's Distinguished Alumnus Award.

He has been married for 31 years to his wife, Nancy. Their two sons, Bill and Brad, are Naval Academy graduates on active duty as naval officers.

The Rev. Katherine James Klemstine, a hospice chaplain, spoke about "Spirituality in Day-to-Day Living." Klemstine explained her thoughts on suffering.

"In my opinion, it is to teach us to be more Christ-like," she said. "We are asked by Christ to open our arms to the suffering around us."

Barbara Largent, an Odenton resident who has been singing contemporary Christian music for more than 20 years, was the vocalist. She sang two beautiful solos, "From a Distance" and "God Will Make a Way."

Mary Margaret Shipley, chairwoman of the breakfast, said she expects the proceeds from the benefit to be about $600. The money will be divided between Sarah's House at Fort Meade and the Lansdowne Traditional Housing shelters.

Maglev information

Linthicum Shipley Improvement Association will meet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Lindale Middle School, 415 Andover Road. Come to the meeting to learn more about the maglev project and the community's response to the possible construction of a high-speed train through Linthicum.

Information: Mike Daniel, 410-859-8586.

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