Willa Cather’s Archbishop

Willa Cather once wrote that the story of the Catholic Church in the American Southwest “was the most interesting of all its stories.” She was particularly interested in the figure of Santa Fe’s first Archbishop, Jean-Baptiste Lamy (1814-1888), whom she described as “well bred and distinguished… there was something about him both fearless and fine.” [Read More...]

Harvard Honors R.C. Bishop, 1861

Today marks the death of John Bernard Fitzpatrick (1812-1866), Boston’s third Bishop. While his father emigrated from Ireland, his mother’s family had deep roots in Boston history; a grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War. As a young man he studied at the prestigious Boston Latin School, America’s oldest public school (founded in 1635). Fitzpatrick studied [Read More...]

Jesuit Creates Gregorian Calendar

Today also marks the death of Father Christopher Clavius (1538-1612), the Jesuit mathematician and astronomer who created the Gregorian Calendar, which is still the internationally accepted civil calendar. During his lifetime, he was in close contact with the likes of Galileo and Kepler, who esteemed him highly. Born In Germany, he joined the Jesuits at [Read More...]

Pitchers and Catchers Report Today

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Bishop Sheen’s TV Debut

Today in 1952 marks the debut of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen’s Emmy award winning television program “Life is Worth Living.” During its five year run, the program had nearly thirty million viewers. The show was placed in the same time slot with Milton Berle, Tuesday at 8:00 p.m., and it wasn’t expected to survive. Berle [Read More...]

A Catholic New Deal

Today marks the release in 1919 of a document known as the “Bishops’ Program of Social Reconstruction.” The primary author was Father John A. Ryan, a Catholic University professor whose writings were among the first to endorse a federally mandated minimum wage. The Bishops’ Program was the first statement released by the newly formed National [Read More...]

Extreme Parish Makeover: Lourdes Edition

The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes offers a good opportunity to pay tribute to a local parish named (or rather renamed) in her honor. In 1872 the Fathers of Mercy, a French-based religious community, started a parish in Brooklyn’s Bushwick section for a growing Catholic population. Named for St. Francis De Sales, the parish [Read More...]

Brooklyn’s First Monsignor

When the Brooklyn Diocese was founded in 1853, the bulk of its people were German and Irish. For much of the next 75 years, the diocese had two Vicars General, one Irish and one German. (A Vicar General is in charge of a diocese during the bishop’s absence.) Today marks the death of Monsignor Michael [Read More...]

The Lateran Treaty of 1929

Today marks the signing of the Lateran Treaty in 1929 between the Holy See (the Vatican’s official name) and the Italian government. Because Italy’s unification in 1870 meant the loss of the Papal States, Pope Pius IX refused to recognize the new nation and his successors followed suit. For a long time Catholics were forbidden [Read More...]

Archbishop Patrick J. Ryan (1831-1911)

Today marks the death of Archbishop Patrick J. Ryan (1831-1911), the sixth ordinary of the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Born in Tipperary, he studied for the priesthood at St. Patrick’s College in Carlow. Like many seminarians, he was invited to work in the United States. While still a deacon, he went to the Diocese of St. Louis. [Read More...]


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