Where Saints Have Prayed

Monsignor's Letter

The National Shrine of St. Alphonsus Liguori

114 W. Saratoga St.

Baltimore,MD 21201



May, 2017


Friends of the National Shrine of St. Alphonsus Liguori, 

Easter Blessings! May the beauty of this season bring you many special joys as we have entered into the great celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord. These days have particular significance for us I believe as we partake of God’s invitation to enter more deeply partaking of his love which He offers us through Jesus sacrifice.  Another part of the celebrating this season is keeping in touch with special friends like you. 

Also moving from Easter to Pentecost we celebrate many wonderful feast such as Divine Mercy Sunday April 23rd, the 100th Anniversary of Fatima May 13th, Mother’s Day May 14th, The Ascension of the Lord May 25th, Pentecost Sunday June 4th, and June 18th Father’s Day (although not in the Easter Season) but still a day to remember those Fathers who have helped us to grow in our Christian life. Indeed God is good. 

Within this Holy Season of Easter several young children of the parish will receive their First Communion and on Pentecost Sunday there will be 8 young people and 4 adults to be Confirmed in the Faith. Although we feel rooted in joy this Easter Season yet, our mood these past few months has been shadowed by sadness as our beloved Msgr. Arthur W. Bastress. P.A. who had been pushing through some sickness finally made the decision to retire as Pastor of The National Shrine of St. Alphonsus Liguori at the age of 90. Msgr. Art had given faithful service through 65 ½ years of faithful and joy filled service to Holy Mother the Church of which 18-1/2 of those years was here at St. Alphonsus Church. Msgr. Art has moved into assisted living on the grounds of Stella Maris in Timonium,MD.  I, Fr. William F. Spacek, was appointed as temporary administrator here at St. Alphonsus after having been with Msgr. Art as his associate for 2 year. 

Monsignor would want us to take this opportunity, as he always did, to reach out at this time offering you the ability to remember and honor our Mothers and Fathers at daily Masses in May for Mothers and June for Fathers. Their names will be place on The Blessed Mother’s Altar in May and St. Joseph’s Altar in June here at The National Shrine of St. Alphonsus Liguori in downtown Baltimore. 

The reason we honor Mothers and Fathers is because they give us life and in God’s Name to be the best teachers in faith and the ways of life. In the beautiful month of May as we pray to Mary, the Mother of all mothers, to assist our mothers, living and deceased to gain and to have their reward of eternal life. Mary’s tender loving care protects all mothers and guides us in our journey to life and to our eternal life as well. 

“Cornelia” was a 2nd century BC Roman aristocrat. She had many children, but most of them died young, except two: Tiberius and Gauis. When the two were still boys, Cornelia once received a wealthy Roman lady, who proudly showed off her jewelry to her hostess. She then challenged Cornelia to show off her own jewels. Cornelia gestured toward her sons. “These are my jewels,” she replied. 

“M-O-T-H-E-R (A word that Means The World To ME)” is the title of the familiar tribute to a mother song written almost a century ago by Theodore Morse and Howard Johnson. Although it has been played and sung perhaps a million times over the years, its sentiments remain timeless, and as touching as ever. Here are excerpts from the first and second chorus lyrics…

            “M” is for the mercy she posses

            “O” means that I owe her all I own

            “T” is for her tender sweet caresses

            “H” is for the hands that made a home

            “E” is for her eyes, with love – light shining

            “R” means right, and right she’ll always be

            Put them all together they spell “MOTHER”

            A word that means the world to me. 

Then in June we celebrate Father’s Day. We remember our dads and call upon St. Joseph to be their safety and refuge.St. Joseph was the true and just protector of the Holy Family. We pray for our fathers, living and deceased, and place them under the protection of St. Joseph. 

The task as and of a Father is not to make choices for your children but to help them to make their own decisions, to rejoice with them in a good decision, to be there when they suffer the consequences of a bad decision, and to learn and grow from both good and bad decisions. Just like our Father God. This is a momentous task but each of you will discover in God our Father, an infinite source of loving inspiration and strength which will enable you to be a father who cherishes and nourishes the unique Freedom and individuality of each of your children. 

In the tune called “A Fathers Rhapsody” we hear:

            “His little arms crept ‘round my neck, and then I heard him say,

            Four simple words I can’t forget… Four words that made me pray.

            They turned a mirror on my soul, On secrets no one knew,

            They startled me, I hear them yet; He said… “I’ll be like you”. 

I acknowledge the Fatherhood of Msgr. Bastress, who was a spiritual FATHER to many at The National Shrine of St. Alphonsus Liguori.  For almost 66 years Father “B” as he most enjoyed being called – he was more than a dad but a man who helped others to find their way to the loving and gracious God he himself came to know through out his own life. Thanks “Father B” for all you did, gave of yourself and cared for God’s people. May The Blessed Mother and St. Joseph assist you now as you enjoy a well earned time of rest and may others care for you as you have cared for God’s children. 

Jesus tells us to pray for one another. So, may God the Father, creator of all, and our Beloved Mary, Mother of all, bless each and every Mother and Father. And may God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless abundantly your children and grandchildren whom you love so dearly and for whom you pray. Therefore, as I pray and offer Mass, I wish you and your loved ones many blessings. 

                                                    Yours in the peace of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph,


                                                    Fr. William F. Spacek,

                                                    Temporary Administrator