Lincolns Attend Parish Fundraiser on White House Lawn

In 1864, at the height of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary spent the Fourth of July at a parish fundraiser held on the White House lawn. A few weeks earlier Gabriel Coakley, an African-American Catholic, walked into the White House to see President about the picnic. Morris McGregor, the parish [Read More...]

“Champion of the Colored Race”

Today marks the death of Father Stephen Eckert (1869-1923), a Capuchin priest dedicated to working with the Black community. Born John Eckert to German immigrants in Ontario, he took the name Stephen when he joined the Capuchins in Detroit. He was ordained in 1896. Assigned to parishes in New York, he established a reputation for [Read More...]

Polish Schism Leads to Breakoff Church

Today marks the death of Francis Hodur (1866-1953), who led the only large-scale schism in American Catholic history. Born in Poland, he emigrated to the United States and finished his priestly studies in Pennsylvania, where he was ordained in 1893. He was assigned to local parishes, and in 1895 he became a pastor in Nanicoke. [Read More...]

First Bishop Eulogizes First President

In 1789, America got its first President, George Washington, and its first R.C. Bishop, John Carroll. At the time of the former’s death in 1799, Bishop Caroll gave the following eulogy on the Founding Father’s passing: The last act of his supreme magistracy was to inculcate in most impressive language on his countrymen… his deliberate [Read More...]

Professor, Archbishop, Papal Diplomat

Today marks the death of Cardinal Aloisius Muench (1889-1962), professor, bishop, and papal diplomat. Born in Milwaukee to German immigrants, he studied for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee at St. Francis Seminary. Ordained in 1913, he went on to earn a doctorate a the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, followed by post-doctoral studies in France and [Read More...]

Polish Seminary Started in Detroit, 1885

Yesterday was the Feast of SS. Cyril & Methodius, and today in 1903 marks the death of Father Joseph Dabrowski , who in 1885 founded SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary to train Polish priests for work in America. For Poles, the nineteenth century is known as the “century of sadness.” Poland was divided between the [Read More...]

This Day in Brooklyn Catholic History

On this day in 1891, the First Mass was celebrated at Blessed Sacrament Church in Brooklyn’s Cypress Hills section. The Mass was held in the hall adjoining the Lafayette Hotel located at Cresecent and Fulton Streets. Before then, the nearest parish to Cypress Hills was St. Malachy’s in East New York, which the parish history [Read More...]

Hierarchy reestablished in England after 300 years

Today marks the death of Nicholas Wiseman (1802-1865), first Archbishop of Westminster and the first resident Cardinal in England for almost three hundred years. In 1850 he oversaw the reestablishment of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales. Under Henry VIII, Roman Catholic dioceses (the most famous being Canterbury) became Anglican. Rather than using [Read More...]

How to get in good with your Bishop…

Put him in a stained glass window! This window, located in the sacristy of St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Woodhaven, was installed during the 1960′s. At the time, Bryan J. McEntegart was Bishop of Brooklyn (1957-1968). Bishop McEntegart can be seen on the right, alongside of Christ and Pope Paul VI. The Bishop’s reaction to [Read More...]

America’s One and Only Black Catholic Newspaper

There’s never been a newspaper quite like The American Catholic Tribune, an independent Catholic newspaper published between 1886 and 1897. What made it unique was that it was a paper published for African-American Catholics, by African-American Catholics. The driving force behind the paper was a Daniel A. Rudd (1854-1933), a former slave from Bardstown, a [Read More...]