Freshmen spend retreat at Baltimore Basilica


Kira Jenkins, Contributing Writer

While the seniors were having their Unity Day, the members of the freshman class went to the Baltimore Basilica on September 21.

Freshmen were divided into two main groups. Half of the class went to the Archdiocese of Baltimore while the remaining half went to the Basilica.

At the Archdiocese of Baltimore, students learned about the history behind The John Carroll School.

They learned more about their peers by playing Human Bingo and then wrote a poem on what it means to be a Patriot.

Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations Susan Roarty gave a speech about her life as an alumnus and spoke about the many other fellow classmates who graduated from John Carroll and what they ended up pursuing in life.

At one point in her presentation, she told the freshmen about the moment that she knew she wanted to go to John Carroll.

After Mrs. Roarty’s speech, junior Rachel Saacks discussed her life as a current Patriot. She said that the best way to describe a Patriot is “someone who is involved in the community.”

Rachel also explained that her freshman self would most likely not know what to say if someone asked her what school was like or what her role was, but she does now.

Junior Allison Coyne did a second witness talk with her version of what it means to be a Patriot.

Across the street at the Basilica, several tour guides were waiting for the students.

Students learned quite a bit of information about the history of the Basilica. For example, a man named Benjamin Latrobe was the architect who designed the Basilica. To show how much time had gone by before their first Mass was held there, both Archbishop John Carroll and Mr. Latrobe had passed away before the first Mass was celebrated. The War of 1812 had delayed all the building projects inside. Even when the first Mass was held, it wasn’t fully finished.

Students also learned that all of the colors that are on the interior of the building are all of John Carroll’s original idea.

In 2011, an earthquake cracked the ceiling and caused them to have to raise thousands of dollars to fix it.
After learning about the architecture and history of the main level, students went to the basement and saw Archbishop John Carroll’s final resting place as well as other archbishops’ final resting places.

After students toured the Basilica, they participated in Mass with members of the Baltimore community.
In regard to if the Basilica exceeded his expectations, freshman Braden Krantz said, “Yes, I was surprised by the architecture of the building, paintings, and statues that decorated the inside of the building.”

Freshman Maggie Wells said, “I learned that the Basilica was once painted with dark colors, and John Carroll’s idea was eventually won back for a lighter design.”

Freshman Caroline Milan said, “My favorite part of the Basilica was the basement. The architectural design was neat. It was also crazy that there were tombstones with caskets down there. Overall, I was intrigued by the basement.”