Remembering Old Brooklyn

During the 1960′s, the New York Daily News carried a column titled “I Remember Old Brooklyn.” In it, ex-Brooklynites wrote in with their reminiscences about life in the borough during the 1920′s, World War I, the Gaslight era, and even earlier. One correspondent recalled Civil War veteran parades in the 1880′s! Here a Mr. Edward [Read More...]

H.A. Reinhold and the Dialogue Mass

Today marks the death of Hans Ansgar Reinhold (1907-1968), a German born priest who took a leading role in the Liturgical Movement. Begun in late 19th century Europe, the movement made its way to America in the 1920’s. Its purpose was twofold: to make the liturgy more attuned to early Christian traditions, and to make [Read More...]

“A Twentieth Century Doctor of the Church”

Today marks the death of Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889-1977), philosopher and academic. The son of a prominent sculptor, he grew up in Florence and returned to Germany to study philosophy. In 1912 he received his doctorate from the University of Göttingen. He converted to Catholicism in 1914, and during World War I he served in [Read More...]

Bishop Hughes and the Public School Society

New York City’s public schools were started in 1805 by the Public School Society, a Protestant evangelical group. The school day began with prayers, hymns, and Bible readings. However, the school textbooks had a strong anti-Catholic bias. In history, students read that “general ignorance” and “general corruption” characterized Catholic Europe. They also read that “superstition [Read More...]

Catholic Schools Week 2009

Today marks the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. This year’s theme is “Catholic Schools Celebrate Service.” The story of Catholic schools in America begins in 1640, when a layman named Roger Crouch founded the first in Maryland. Over the next 150 years growth was slow, because of the anti-Catholic legislation in many colonies. New York [Read More...]

The Colored Catholic Club of Brooklyn

The history of African-American Catholics is the story of a group of people who kept the faith alive for decades with little institutional support and often without the benefit of clergy. Today marks the death of Jules DeWeever (1871-1940), an early leader of Brooklyn’s Black Catholic community. Born in the Dutch West Indies, as a [Read More...]

George N. Shuster: Intellectual, Educator, Public Servant

Today marks the death of George Nauman Shuster (1894-1977), author, editor, public official and college president. Born in Wisconsin, he graduated from Notre Dame in 1915. During World War I, he served with the U.S. Army in Europe. Afterward he returned to Notre Dame, where he earned a master’s degree in English and joined the [Read More...]

Can Soap Be Anti-Catholic?

Back in the 1800′s, when people used the term “Native American,” they weren’t referring to the indigenous peoples of North America. They meant native-born white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Hence the anti-immigrant movement became known as Nativism. In 1849, a group of Nativists met in New York to form an organization they titled the “Order of the [Read More...]

Cardinal Consalvi, Papal Diplomat

Today marks the death of Cardinal Ercole Consalvi (1757-1824), a papal diplomat regarded as one of the greatest to ever serve the Holy See. A native Roman, he earned degrees in canon and civil law before entering the ranks of the papal government. He took Holy Orders early on, but wasn’t ordained a priest. In [Read More...]

St. Francis De Sales and the Universal Call to Holiness

Today is the Feast of St. Francis De Sales (1567-1622). Born to an aristocratic family in Savoy, he studied law and theology at the University of Padua before being ordained a priest in 1593. He was named Bishop of Geneva in 1602. In 1610, he and St. Jane Frances de Chantal founded the Visitation Sisters. [Read More...]