Baltimore holds a special place in American Catholic history. The Carroll family of Maryland is famous for two of her sons. One of them, Charles Carroll of Carrollton is the only Catholic signatory to the Declaration of Independence. His brother, John, became the first Catholic bishop in the United States and founder of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
One of Archbishop Carroll’s successors was Archbishop Donald Borders. Archbishop Borders boasted quite an impressive resumé. Originally a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, he accepted the invitation of Archbishop Joseph Rummell to become a priest for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. He was a military chaplain during World War II and was awared the Bronze Star for valor. He carried a wounded soldier to safety while under fire. In 1968, he was called upon to become the founding bishop of the Diocese of Orlando, Florida. Once, he famously told Pope Paul VI that he was the bishop of the moon. Cape Canveral, the place where NASA launches the space shuttle from, is located within the boundaries of the Diocese of Orlando. Arguing from the 1917 Code of Canon Law, Archbishop Borders jokingly told an incredulous Pope Paul VI that the moon counted as newly discovered territory of his diocese and as such fell under his jurisdiction.
In 1974, Pope Paul VI appointed him as Archbishop of Baltimore where he served until his retirement in 1989. Nevertheless, he was to live on for another twenty years. He died yesterday at the age of ninety-six and a half.