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One final deadline

First slide

After more than 37 years on staff, I am retiring as editor and general manager of the Catholic Herald, effective Feb. 28.

It is hard to believe that a journey that started in June 1982 is coming to an end. I had a degree in journalism from Penn State University, but no job prospects in sight. My grandmother suggested that I send my resume to Msgr. John P. Foley, editor of my hometown Catholic newspaper, the Catholic Standard & Times.

There were no openings in Philadelphia at the time, but Msgr. Foley sent my resume to his friend, Charlie Carruth, editor of the Arlington Catholic Herald, who was looking for a staff writer. Charlie invited me to come to Arlington to interview for the position.

During my two-day interview, I attended the dedication of the first St. John Neumann Church in Reston and wrote a brief article that later appeared in print. I was offered the job and started Aug. 2, 1982. I recall thinking at the time that I would stay in Arlington for a year or two, gain some journalistic experience, and return to Philadelphia. Obviously, that never happened.

My time here in the Diocese of Arlington has been rewarding at so many levels. I met my wife, Teri, and we’ve been blessed with five children and now two grandchildren. I’ve had the privilege of serving all four Arlington bishops — Bishop Thomas J. Welsh, Bishop John R. Keating, Bishop Paul S. Loverde and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge.

I’ve had the opportunity to travel worldwide — to Africa and Kosovo with Catholic Relief Services; on pilgrimage to the Fatima Shrine in Portugal and in the footsteps of St. Paul in Greece; to Rome for the episcopal ordination of Bishop Antons Justs, former pastor of St. Mark Church in Vienna, that included a private audience with Pope John Paul II; and twice to the Dominican Republic to visit the Diocesan Mission in Banica.

There have been numerous highlights over the years, including the opening of two Catholic high schools — St. Paul the VI in Fairfax and St. John Paul the Great in Potomac Shores. The annual priesthood and diaconate ordination Masses are always moments of great joy and promise for the future church.

One of the lowest moments of my tenure was the sudden death of Bishop Keating in March 1998 during his ad limina visit to Rome. His funeral at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More included a moving tribute by his former seminary classmate from Chicago, Cardinal Edward Egan.

I’ve worked with so many talented and dedicated people over the years, both here at the chancery and at the Catholic Herald. Msgr. James W. McMurtrie was a longtime member of the paper’s board of directors who not only baptized my children but provided sage advice along the way. Charlie Carruth was a mentor and friend who displayed great patience during my first couple of years on staff. Former Advertising Manager Peggy Albrecht was not only a calming influence on the staff, but she introduced me to my future wife at her son’s wedding. Her successor, Carlos Salinas, has been a stabilizing influence since 1997, as well as Keith Pohlmeier, an advertising sales rep.

There is danger in trying to recognize all those who have contributed to the Catholic Herald’s editorial success over the years, but some of the staff writers who stand out include Gretchen Crowe, Clare MacDonnell, Henrietta Gomes, Katie Scott, Mary McCarthy, Katie Bahr, Ashleigh Kassock, Dave Borowski, Beth Elliott and Zoey Maraist. Production Coordinator Stacy Rausch and Social Media Coordinator Mary Stachyra Lopez have been invaluable members of the staff.

I have worked closely with Managing Editor Ann M. Augherton for more than 35 years. She has not only been a great friend and confidant, but the backbone of the Catholic Herald, mentoring young staff writers and editorial assistants over the decades. She is the definition of a Catholic journalist and I can’t thank her enough for all that she has done.

Finally, I want to thank the pastors and parishioners who have supported the Catholic Herald during its 45-year history. Nothing we’ve accomplished could have been achieved without their support.

There is no doubt that the diocese will continue to grow under the leadership and guidance of Bishop Burbidge. I consider it a true blessing to have played a small part in its history.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020