National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Msgr. Ellis Is Smiling

I am beginning to think that Msgr. John Tracy Ellis is more influential from heaven than he was from the classroom! The two Americans named cardinals today, Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, had long associations with Msgr. Ellis.

Dolan was a student of Ellis when he took his doctorate in Church History at Catholic University. Ellis directed Dolan's dissertation. When I had occasion to require an introduction to Dolan when he was the Rector of the North American College in Rome, Msgr. Ellis happily obliged and, once I got there, I realized I could have had no better method of introduction than a commendatory note from Msgr. Ellis.

Msgr. Ellis met then-Father O'Brien when Ellis was scholar-in-residence at the North American College beginning in 1974. For the first semester, he lived at the Casa Santa Maria, the original home of the seminary which had since become the residence for clergy doing post-graduate work in Rome. O'Brien was one of the young priests that Ellis met and whose friendship he came to cherish. In the fall of 1986, when O'Brien was rector at Dunwoodie, Ellis took his last visiting professorship at the seminary.

October-24,-2014-cover_web.jpgGet this special NCR 50th anniversary offer! Subscribe to NCR by Nov. 15 and get a 50th anniversary issue. This special issue is available exclusively to subscribers. Learn more.

Those of us who knew Msgr. Ellis count ourselves among the especially blessed. He was a first rate priest, a first rate scholar and a first rate gentleman. He was as kind as he was knowledgable, and I never perceived the limits of either. And, to all whom he knew, he imparted that great sense of equanimity that comes from the study of history. That is not a bad gift to give someone destined for leadership in the Church. This morning, upon hearing the news that two men so closely associated with him, had been raised to the sacred college, I felt that in heaven, Msgr. Ellis must be smiling and that thought made me smile too.

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

October 10-23, 2014

10-10-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.