God has blessed me with the ability to use several languages. Besides English, I can communicate in Russian and French, although not as well as I would like, and I also know Italian, Ukrainian, modern Greek, and classical Greek. I used to be able to carry on a conversation in Latin and I can still use it for research. I can also do very basic biblical research in Hebrew.

At Archbishop John High School I studied Latin for three years. At one time I was able to carry on a conversation in Latin. Fr. Joseph Keffer was my teacher for two years. In my third year I was initially with the slower class but because my knowledge was so much more advanced, my teacher had me transferred to his other class and for a period of 30 days or so I was talking Latin with both classes until I caught up to where the more advanced class was.

I can still research in Latin. In the seminary I did a paper which relied heavily on my knowledge of Latin and my professor was surprised at my knowledge of the language. Two members of my parish are also Latin lovers. The last time that I served with Bishop JEROME I read the prayer for the washing of the hands in Latin. He loved it!

I took two years of French in high school and then the same two years of French at Merrimack College. Dr. Philip Costello, the dean for Liberal Arts, recommended this and I'm glad that he did. French has helped me with papers and it was very useful on some jobs.

When I left college, I returned to Washington and eventually started working for the US Department of Labor. One evening after work I happened to pass Our Lady of the Rosary Italian Catholic Church and stopped in to say a few prayers. There was a notice for Italian language classes at the church. I signed up for it. Although I could not carry on a conversation in Italian, the knowledge was helpful.

At the US Department of Agriculture Graduate School I took Russian and this turned out to be a tremendous help to me. I had an opportunity to take it in high school, but I saw no use for it then. Part of the problem is that I had no idea that I would be going to a Russian church.

I also took modern Greek at USDA Graduate School and it has helped me from time to time. Bill Soulous was an excellent teacher.

At the Baltimore Visitor Center, my knowledge of Russian and French was extremely helpful. We have had people leaving the building really happy because somebody spoke their language, however poorly.

When a friend heard that I will be going to the seminary, he paid for me to take classical Greek at Northern Virginia Community College. My professor was David Rice and he was excellent. I still use that knowledge today.

Today most people are impressed with the fact that I do know these languages. The only people who have a problem with it are blacks whose shoe size is higher than their IQ. Their problem is that most of these languages are not "black languages," whatever that is. I myself encourage black people to learn languages like Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Serbian, Finnish, Dutch, etc.

Page updated Thursday 30 October 2014.

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