The Catholic Extension Society of America

On this day in 1905, the Catholic Extension Society of America was founded in Chicago by Father Francis Clement Kelley. Its purpose was to help spread (i.e., extend) the faith in rural and isolated parts of the country. Among the means they used to do this were building chapels, rectories and schools in areas where Catholic had no parish facilities. Extension (as it was known for short) brought religious services to these places through the use of chapel cars on trains (seen above), motor chapels, and “chapel boats” in the Louisiana bayous. Today, according to the website, “The Catholic Church Extension Society strengthens the Church’s presence and mission in under-resourced and isolated communities across the United States.”

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