Before McNamara’s Blog…

There was “Strange But True: Little –Known Facts for Catholics.” From the thirties through the early sixties it was a written and illustrated hodgepodge of Catholic trivia nationally syndicated in the weekly Catholic press. Here’s a sample from 1952. [Read more...]

Desegregating the Altar: John Slattery & the Josephites

Today marks the death of John R. Slattery (1851-1926), a pioneer in African-American ministry. Born to a wealthy Irish-American family, he studied at Columbia Law School before deciding to pursue the priesthood. He had gotten interested in the work of the Mill Hill Fathers, an English based community working with African-Americans, and he joined them [Read More...]

Harvey Keitel a Jesuit?

Today that wonderfully Ignatian blog Good Jesuit, Bad Jesuit notes that Harvey Keitel will be playing the main role in a Polish-language film telling the story of two American Jesuits who attempt to remove the relics of St. Andrew Bobola, S.J. (seen here) from the Soviet Union in the 1920′s. This is something of more [Read More...]

Nothing Unusual Here…

In his superb book American Catholic, Charles Morris argues that Catholicism in the pre-Vatican II era was as much as culture as a religion. One of the most visible aspects of that culture were the numerous Holy Name Societies that dominated Catholic men’s life. Founded by the Dominicans in the thirteenth century to venerate the [Read More...]

As March Madness Approaches…

This photograph shows the Gonzaga University’s freshman basketball team at the start of the 1907-1908 season. Go Bulldogs! [Read more...]

St. Joseph’s Seminary, Troy

Since March is dedicated to St. Joseph, it’s a good time to feature institutions dedicated in his name. Seen here is St. Joseph’s Seminary, which served as a provincial seminary for New York between 1864 and 1896. Dioceses in New York are gathered into an ecclesiastical province covering the state, so St. Joseph’s was a [Read More...]

“To Welcome the Immigrant”

Today in 1971 marks the founding of the Brooklyn Diocese’s Catholic Migration Office, the first of its kind in the world. The office was founded partially in response to Pope Paul VI’s 1969 instruction Pastoralis Migratorum Cura, which asked local Churches to expand their spiritual and material outreach to the newcomers in their midst. Bishop [Read More...]

The Sisters: Shapers of American Catholicism

John Fialka has a great book titled Sisters: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America. In it he writes: Most of the histories of the Catholic Church in America have been written about men—the priests, bishops and cardinals credited with building the nation’s largest Church. But the reality was that if you were educated in [Read More...]

Neither Irish nor Catholic Need Apply

Believe it or not, this ad appeared in a New York newspaper in 1843. It reads: “WANTED– A clean, respectable Protestant girl to do the housework of a small family. Neither Irish nor Catholic need apply. Those having recommendations may apply at 62 Eldridge Street.” A popular song of the day spoofed the ad: NO [Read More...]

“Don’t Bother the Lion”

Today marks the death of Peter Richard Kenrick (1806-1896), the first Archbishop of St. Louis. Born in Dublin, his older brother Francis (1797-1863) became Archbishop of Baltimore. He studied for the priesthood at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, and was ordained in 1832. Not long thereafter he went to Philadelphia, where his brother was Bishop. There [Read More...]