Evangelizing Appalachia

Today marks the birth of William Howard Bishop (1885-1953), a Harvard-educated Maryland priest who founded the Home Missioners of America (better known as Glenmary) in 1939, for the purpose of evangelizing rural America. Or as he put it, that “the backwoodsmen, the mountaineers, the farm tenants, sharecroppers and day workers might one day eat the [Read More...]

Betty Smith’s Brooklyn Roots

I knew that Betty Smith had Brooklyn roots, but until recently I didn’t know that she grew up a German Catholic in Williamsburg. Born Elizabeth Wehner in 1896, she describes her home parish in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (still a great book, by the way): “Francie thought it was the most beautiful church in [Read More...]

Priestwear, 1800′s Style

If you study Church History long enough, you find a lot of interesting trivia that never fits into books or lectures. One of them is the history of clerical garb. Many young priests today tend to be more traditional, and it’s not unusual to find some sporting a cassock, a biretta, or even the old [Read More...]