Father Anthony Lickteig | St. Mary of the Mills, Laurel, Maryland
Submitted by: Sheila Bisson
Fr. Anthony was assigned to St. Mary of the Mills in July, 2019. In January 2020, he announced that he would be leaving in July 2020 to become Vicar of the Clergy for the diocese. In March when the pandemic started, Fr. Anthony was the epitome of calm and trust in God. Within a matter of weeks, he along with our seminarian and parish staff rearranged our food pantry to a larger location and began to hand out food to the larger Laurel community, partnering with Catholic Charities to help even more people who were struggling to meet their daily needs. He began an outdoor drive-up Eucharistic adoration so we could still adore Christ in the Eucharist even though we could not publicly attend mass. Oh the sight of Our Lord after such a wait was beautiful and inspiring. He and our associate pastor spent up to 3 hours at a time in adoration so that our parish could be with Christ from a safe distance. Each week, about 100 cars came through in the 3 hours of adoration on Sunday afternoons.
He truly led us by example. He led You Tube reflections for Holy Week and daily read the mass scriptures and his homily and posted them on the parish website so we could continue to grow in our faith even while away from the celebration of the mass. He daily led us in a prayer of spiritual communion after his homily. He thought "outside the box" in so many ways to keep us connected as a community and connected to Christ when our hearts were longing for Him.
I am a hospice nurse at our local inpatient unit, and we were having difficulty getting our local parish priest (I work 15 miles away and it is in a different diocese) to come and anoint our patients. He not only came immediately to anoint them, but also gave us the name and phone number at the Baltimore Archdiocese of the person to contact to resolve the issue. He and our associate pastor continued to come serve these patients not in their parish boundaries or diocesan boundaries until it was resolved.
Fr. Anthony led by example, and truly showed the sacrificial life of a priest by laying down his desire to be with his flock and continuing to offer mass for his people. He showed us by his example that we are each in charge of growing closer to Christ, through mass, adoration and service to others. He witnessed to the gifts of the spirit of peace, understanding and fortitude. He showed us by example that even when we can not see God, He is always there and always faithful.
Fr. Anthony is so humble, he would never say he had done anything special. He just did what God called him to do. Especially during this time where he had only been at St. Mary of the Mills for 9 months and knowing he was leaving, instead of sitting back and letting the next pastor handle things, he stepped up and re-worked so many things to bring Christ not only to his parishioners, but to the greater community of Laurel and Prince George's county. He would never ask for thanks for what he did, but we as his (now former) parishioners are so grateful for his openness to the Holy Spirit.
Thank you for making this award possible and for recognizing all the good work that so many priests are doing when the world is so focused on the negative. Without our priests, we would not have the sacraments.