George P. Matysek Jr. has been a member of the Catholic Review staff since 1997, and currently serves as the assistant managing editor.

A graduate of Our Lady of Mount Carmel High School in Essex, George holds a bachelor's degree in history and writing from what is now Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore and a master's degree in history from UMBC.

A winner of numerous regional, national and international journalism awards, George has reported from Guyana, Guatemala, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary.

Reach George at gmatysek@CatholicReview.org

 

 

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Thank you, Mr. George P. Matysek Jr. for your blog of May 5, 2015, "Mary gets her crown in Emmitsburg." The crowning of the campanile-cum-statue on the Mount of the Blessed Virgin Mary last May, with a huge wreath of silk flowers on her head pointed to her in time, her month of May, as well as spoke of our veneration of her as our Lord’s mother, the Mother of God, the Queen of Heaven. In this statuary pose she protectively overlooks the campus of St. Mary's University, whose heart lies in its Catholic identity. However, when I went to the "Board of Trustees Statement on Our Catholic Identity" at the 'msmary' web site and saw and reflected on its four tenets for this Catholic identity, no explicit or implicit mention of Mary was found. One of the four tenets did mention Ex corde eclessiae, the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities of (now) Pope St. John Paul II, given in Rome on August 15, 1990, The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. That is the only explicit mention of Mary in this papal document. However, quoted from the first paragraph of the Introduction of this document: "A Catholic University's privileged task is "to unite existentially by intellectual effort two orders of reality that too frequently tend to be placed in opposition as though they were antithetical: the search for truth, and the certainty of already knowing the fount of truth"…" We already know the fount of truth, Jesus, through his mother, Mary. Ad Iesum per Mariam. This reality St. Bernadette Soubirous knew through the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes in 1858, a moment in Church history the Mount commemorates as home to the National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes (as well as to Mount St. Mary's Seminary). This reality and commemoration seem justification enough for serious consideration to be given to inclusion of Mary’s name per se in this statement of Catholic identity, for without her none of us comes to true and authentic conversion as the one that Jesus had made each one of us to be rather than that one which each one of us without her had tried to make himself or herself into.

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Thanks, Gwyneth! We all miss him at the Catholic Review.

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Remembering Art Modell, champion of Catholic education

A photo of Art Modell accompanied a 2003 story in the Catholic Review.

(George P. Matysek Jr. | CR Staff) 

 

(Courtesy Ravens)I only had a chance to interview Art Modell once in my journalism career.

A few days before the then-owner of the Baltimore Ravens was to be honored by the National Catholic Educational Association in 2003, I was assigned to find out why this Jewish businessman from Brooklyn, N.Y., was spending part of his fortune boosting Catholic schools in inner-city Baltimore.

Shortly after moving the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1996, Modell made a major five-year gift to support the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Partners in Excellence program. Co-sponsored by the archdiocese and more than 400 philanthropies, businesses and private benefactors, the program has provided more than $22 million in tuition assistance to thousands of Baltimore families since Cardinal William H. Keeler launched it in the same year Modell arrived in Charm City.

Seated in a white golf cart on the sidelines of the Ravens’ practice facility in Owings Mills, Modell told me he was happy to spend his money on a worthy cause like Catholic education. Catholic schools are well-known for inculcating values and discipline in their students, he said, and the Catholic school system was “the best anywhere.” He was impressed with Partners in Excellence, he said, because it is “a good program that can benefit anyone no matter their religion."

Modell noted that his more than three decades as an owner of a professional football team gave him unique insights into the far-reaching value of education.

“Thousands of football players have gone through my system,” Modell explained, whose Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV.

“Invariably, when you research their background, there’s a connection between the schools they’ve come from and what they’re like,” he said. “The ones who had a good education invariably turn out to be the better guys in terms of character and commitment.”

Together with his wife, Patricia – whose funeral was offered at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore nearly a year ago – Modell also made contributions to the basilica’s restoration, Catholic Charities, the House of Ruth, the Hospice of Baltimore and other charitable causes.

As much as I remember Modell’s matter-of-fact answers to my questions, I will also always remember his legendary wit.

As his players raced up and down the field preparing for a big game with the Kansas City Chiefs nearly a decade ago, the white-haired businessman reiterated how he took delight in supporting a good cause such as Catholic education. Then, he paused.

"It’s better than taking my wife to Neiman Marcus," he quipped.

Art Modell died Sept. 6 at age 87. Funeral arrangements are pending. 

 

9/6/2012 11:49:16 AM
By George Matysek