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...]

The Catholic Half of Hull House

Today marks the death of Ellen Gates Starr (1859-1940), who along with Jane Addams founded Hull House in 1889 to help Chicago’s immigrant population. Born in Illinois, she was raised a Unitarian and studied at Rockford Female Seminary, where she first met Addams. For ten years she taught art and English in Chicago schools. Starr [Read More...]

Jesuit Starts America’s First Foreign Service School

This year marks the ninetieth anniversary of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, the first school in the United States for diplomatic training. The school’s founder was a young Jesuit recently appointed to the university, Father Edmund A. Walsh (1885-1956). A huge success from the start, the SFS had the first complete academic program geared [Read More...]

St. Miguel Febres Cordero, F.S.C. (1854-1910)

Today marks the Feast of St. Miguel Febres Cordero (1854-1910), the first Ecuadorian to join the De La Salle Christian Brothers. Born into a prominent family, he joined the Brothers and taught at their schools in Ecuador and Spain. Once a young confrere asked him why he still prepared lessons after twenty years of teaching. [Read More...]

Solider, Mayor, Saint

Today marks the Feast of St. Jerome Emiliani (1481-1537). A native of Venice, he served as a soldier and as mayor of Treviso before he entered religious life. Ordained a priest in 1518, he felt a strong call to help the urban poor, particularly abandoned children. He founded orphanages, hospitals and homes for ex-prostitutes. In [Read More...]