On Friday, Nov. 15, after the conclusion of the USCCB Fall Assembly, there was a wonderful ordination to the priesthood of Fr. Albert Scharbach. Fr. Al was ordained by his boss, Bishop Denis J. Madden, auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, in what has been called “America’s most historic place of worship.”
Fr. Scharbach had previously served as curate at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, before his reception into the Catholic Church several years ago. He has been serving as secretary to Bishop Madden, who significantly heads the USCCB’s Committee on Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs. Fr. Al and his wife Abby and their delightful family have been wonderful ambassadors for our patrimony.
I could not help but think of the remarkable Bishop John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop in America, who laid the foundation stone of the basilica in 1806 and who is buried in the crypt. Bishop Carroll won a noble battle against “lay trusteeism” and for Catholic order. The one part of our patrimony that we had to leave behind – the vestry system – has its roots in this story, which you can read in a fascinating address by Cardinal Dolan here.
In 2009, The Catholic Review profiled Albert Scharbach:
Albert and Abby Scharbach took bites of fruits, crackers and cheese inside their Federal Hill home, which they only moved into just before Lent.
Their six children ran around the house, playing together as they continued discovering their surroundings on a late March afternoon.
“We want to bring them to a place of permanency and a fullness of the faith,” said 37-year-old Mr. Scharbach.
Keelan, 11, Isaac, 10, Cady, 9, Ander, 6, Ellie, 4, and Thomas, 3, are preparing for the next stage of their religious journey with their parents.
The Scharbachs, practicing Anglicans for the last several years, believe they have found that sense of belonging in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Roman Catholic Church, which the family hopes to join during Easter Vigil at next-door Holy Cross parish.
“We’ve always thought that this is the only church that has remained steadfast on moral issues and has a worldwide witness to that,” Mrs. Scharbach said. “It’s a worldwide voice saying, ‘This is wrong.’ ”
Asked why this is the time for him and his family to convert, Mr. Scharbach offered a simple answer: “The magisterium – to be in communion with the Holy See.”…
…Mr. Scharbach’s priestly career was promising in the Philadelphia area. He was recently presented the opportunity to plan a church with $1 million available in funding. He envisioned a church that was “evangelical, catholic and charismatic.”
Leaving the Anglican tradition and embracing Catholicism was a leap for everyone.
Read more to learn what drew him to Catholicism.
Ad multos annos! And welcome!