Recently, Pope Francis said in a press conference that anytime a woman took on a job at the Vatican, things improved. Those who have worked in the Catholic Church know this to be true – not only in the Vatican, but throughout the global Catholic Church.
April 1, 2023 marks 30 years of service of Terri Ashmore to The Basilica of Saint Mary. I join the community of The Basilica of Saint Mary in offering Terri a sincere and hearty congratulations and in expressing deep gratitude for her extraordinary and transformative service to The Basilica.
In the summer of 2018, the Catholic Church in the United States was reeling in the wake of revelations from the scandal involving (then Cardinal) Theodore McCarrick. Among the deeply troubling details, was the closed clerical culture that enabled and perpetuated McCarrick’s rise to power and turned a blind eye to his abusive behavior, which harmed many. In its wake, the McCarrick scandal left the Church in the United States even more wounded and less credible to proclaim, with integrity, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the Summer 2022 edition of BASILICA Magazine, I wrote that many lay Catholics and some clergy have called on the Catholic Church to embrace and integrate a co-responsibility model of governance in the Catholic Church. This emerging model recognizes and integrates the extraordinary gifts of the Catholic laity, not as second class citizens but as co-equal – in dynamic partnership with clergy for the good of the Church. Due credit should be given Leadership Roundtable of Washington D.C. for promoting with clarity this important and needed model of Church governance in the Catholic Church. It is noteworthy that The Basilica of Saint Mary has been prophetically living this model of co-responsibility for more than a quarter of century. Terri Ashmore is a great example of the extraordinary things that can happen when Catholics of talent and commitment are given the freedom to serve and to lead in the Church.
From the time my appointment as the next pastor of The Basilica was announced last February, Terri has been exceedingly gracious and generous in her outreach to me and in helping onboard me as pastor of The Basilica. I have a had a front row seat these past several months in viewing, with great admiration, Terri’s extraordinary service to our community. I marvel at Terri’s broad competence in so many areas, her unwavering commitment to The Basilica, her unparalleled work ethic, her problem solving abilities, her attention to the important relationships that are part of the fabric of our community, and her quick wit and lively humor which helps us abide the challenges of parish life. So many parishioners have echoed, with gratitude, these positive sentiments regarding Terri and her service to the Basilica.
Please join me in thanking Terri Ashmore for 30 years of remarkable service to The Basilica of Saint Mary. We hope for many more! I am thankful that this community of faith at The Basilica has been out front – guided by the Spirit – in living a new and more effective model of Church. Terri Ashmore has been both an icon and catalyst of this new ecclesial model. We are grateful.
Ad Multos Annos, Terri!