July 2012

Dayton’s early Catholic history isn’t very well-documented, either because the Catholics moved to other towns that had priests, or because the records are lost.

We know that Fr. Edward Fenwick said Mass in Dayton sometime in the spring of 1818. He was always crisscrossing the state on missionary journeys, even before he became Cincinnati’s first bishop in 1822; so presumably he stopped by Dayton several more times.

We know that Bishop Fenwick and Ven. Frederic Baraga (then a priest, soon to become a bishop) visited Dayton in 1831. Baraga said in a letter to the Leopoldine Association that he found “some lazy Catholics” there. He celebrated Mass in a private Catholic home, and later gave a talk at a Protestant church.

The first documented-by-name Catholics in Dayton were Robert Conway and his family. In 1832, they moved into Ice Alley, between First and Second St. (Now E. 1st and E. 2nd. And Google thinks it’s “Ice Avenue,” for whatever reason.) More known Irish and German Catholics moved to town in 1833. In December 1833, Father Louis Navarron (up north at Minster) wrote a letter asking a Father E.T. Collins (visiting in Dayton from Cincinnati) for a loan of some sacred vessels. So obviously the Dayton Catholics were getting some Masses from visiting itinerant missionary priests, as with most of Ohio. Other known visiting priests include Father Emmanuel Thienpont, Father Henry Damian Juncker (later the first bishop of Alton, IL), and Father Stephen Theodore Badin (the first Catholic priest ordained in the US).

The first known place used for Catholic worship in Dayton was the Conway place in Ice Alley. Later, as the number of Catholics grew, they switched to a one story brick meeting hall and bakery about a block away, on St. Clair St., across the street from what is now Cooper Park. (The brick building is now a parking lot.) Mass was in Latin, but sermons were in German, because German speakers outnumbered the Irish- and English-speaking Catholics.

In 1835, Mrs. Prudence Pierson donated a lot on Franklin Street, between Ludlow and Prairie, to the Archbishop of Cincinnati. Fr. Thienpont was told to begin raising money to build a church. 1300 dollars was collected that year from Protestants alone! In 1836, Fr. Thienpont was made pastor of Dayton’s parish-to-be, and continued collecting money.  In 1837, construction began. The new church was consecrated by Archbishop Purcell on November 26, 1837. Dayton’s mother church was named “Emmanuel.”

By 1846, Dayton’s Catholic population had grown so much that a second parish was needed for the mostly Irish population on the east side of town. St. Mary’s (further east and south) was founded in 1859, and Holy Trinity (between St. Mary’s and St. Joe’s) was founded in 1861. These both served the German community. Other early parishes across the river from Emmanuel were St. John’s over in Edgemont, St. James, Resurrection (all three now consolidated as St. Benedict the Moor), Holy Name (Hungarian parish on Dale; now defunct), Corpus Christi (now joined up with Queen of Martyrs and Our Lady of Mercy), St. Agnes (my godparents’ and an uncle and aunt’s home parish, closed in 2006), and from 1916-1918, St. Gabriel’s Greek Catholic Church (on S. Summit St. (now S. Paul Lawrence Dunbar) near W. Fifth). Holy Angels (out by UD) and Sacred Heart (downtown) were in the middle of the older parishes. Further north from St. Joe’s were Holy Rosary, St. Adalbert (Polish), and Holy Cross (Lithuanian) (all now amalgamated with the Hungarian parish, St. Stephen). Further east of St. Joe’s were Holy Family, and St. Anthony (of Padua).

In the middle of a cholera epidemic, the Marianists came to Dayton in 1849 to help out at Emmanuel; and bought a property from Mr. John Stuart, in March 1850, which would eventually become the University of Dayton.

UPDATE: Info from Lamott’s History of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati (1821-1921); Drury’s History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio; and Fortin’s expanded history of the Archdiocese, Faith and Action. Also, the complete but sometimes nasty YWCA report on post-WWI immigrant neighborhoods, Foreigners in Dayton: An Investigation, which told me where St. Gabriel’s was.

Re: St. Gabriel’s, the author seems to think it was a Romanian Greek Catholic church, so if it had stuck around, it’d probably be under the Eparchy of Canton. Apparently the saga was like this: The Romanian community had been attending Holy Name and St. Stephen, with the Hungarians. They bought the defunct Summit Street United Brethren Church and started a new parish with Father Popo-Lupu. Father stayed for two years full time, then went to Canton, Ohio, coming back only once a month for Masses. (Possibly the parish became officially Greek Catholic at this time, connected to the Romanian-based eparchy back then.) At some point, obviously the whole thing died out. And why I have to go to a weird old YWCA report to find this out, when there’s three archdiocesan history books, I don’t know.

Our family went to St. Louis last weekend. Great city! I was raised to believe that Cincinnati was the greatest place in the world, but on the scale of Cincinnati-ness, St. Louis wasn’t too far behind.

On Sunday morning we attended a Low Mass at the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales staffed by the Institute of Christ the King. A really beautiful old church, well attended Mass. Priest had a French accent but sure knew his Latin. The size of the church and Gothic style reminded me a bit of de Sales church in Walnut Hills.

Made me wonder how things were going at St. Mark’s in Evanston. Can any readers report on how things stand there? I hope things are coming along well.

Good Mass at the Festival this year. Still had stepdancing to fill time while passing the hat at the offertory, but that part was done fairly solemnly. Other than that, no weirdness and lots of prayerfulness, and a good homily to boot.

Anyway, one of the bands (Finvarra’s Wren from the Detroit area) covered a wonderful song I’d never heard before: “Sister Clarissa” by Michael Smith, from his 1988 album Love Stories. An extremely touching song about parochial school and the teachers who were women religious.

This is by the same guy who wrote “The Dutchman,” but I think it’s clear that this is the superior song. (Possibly even the Mother Superior song.) Anybody who can turn the Baltimore Catechism into a song chorus — with absolutely no mockery or irony, just honest presentation — is a darned good songwriter.

UPDATE: Fixed link.


During the run-up to the 2004 and 2008 elections, redoubts of what’s left of liberal Catholicism would distribute dubious Catholic voter guides like those assembled by Catholics United and Jim Wallis’s Sojourners organization. A certain amount of self-selection went into the choices; it’s not like anyone who’s spent more than five minutes with the catechism would be persuaded by the flimsy, partisan doctrines of these Democrat party surrogates. A perusal of this weekend’s bulletin for Cincinnati’s Xavier University, the redoubter’s redoubt, revealed that this year they’re recommending the voter guide produced by Our Sunday Visitor. No, OSV is not what it once was, but they do strive to stay faithful to the Magisterium, and this guide does its best to make sense of the frequently senseless “Faithful Citizenship” document from the USCCB. So consider Bellarmine’s recommendation progress of a sort. Here is how OSV handles the much-discussed “single issue” question:

We are not single-issue voters

“As Catholics, we are not single-issue voters. A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support. Yet a candidate’s position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support” (FC 42).

The obvious difference between the two examples cited is that no one is suggesting the promotion of racism is compatible with Catholic teaching.

I highly recommend this piece by George Weigel, this is the future whether the “Giv-i-mint” wants to hear it or not, we have huge challenges ahead as Catholics

“Catholic default positions in favor of shoring up, even expanding, the post-World War II American social welfare state must also be re-examined because of certain undeniable realities. Catholic social doctrine is a tradition of moral realism: it takes facts seriously. And the increasing burden of the evidence is that the social welfare state as we have known it is dying—and in fact deserves to die.

It is dying, in both Europe and the United States, because it is unaffordable. Shaky economic models and a demographic winter throughout the western world have combined to drive the social welfare state as we have known it into a fiscal wall (or over a fiscal cliff; choose your image)”


The Egyptian

This picture was taken right after a memorial service at the movie theater in Aurora, do you see an angel?


I heard a comment from Mike Church this morning,

” laws on earth have no power


They have no power in the after life”

he was explaining a long quote from I believe Russel Kirk

How True

The Egyptian


In the 1980s, the Catholic archdiocese of Chicago contributed to the training of Obama in the very Alinskyite radicalism that would culminate in such anti-religious measures as the HHS mandate. In fact, in the course of writing this book, we met a source who once had access to copies of documents from the archives of the Chicago archdiocese. This source supplied us with never-before-published copies of invoices, checks, and letters that confirm the Church’s support for the man who would one day seek to destroy its religious freedom.

In a series of appendices, we have reproduced the check and invoice showing that the archdiocese of Chicago paid for Obama’s plane trip to a conference in Los Angeles run by the Industrial Areas Foundation, the community organizing group founded by Alinsky.


read it for yourself, something stinks, this really goes deep into the USCCB, and the CCHD. And now Bishops feel betrayed, why, they paid for him.


The Egyptian


You Didn’t Build That

courtesy of   Iowa Hawk  

Readings from the Book of Barack

1 In the beginning Govt created the heavens and the earth. Now the economy was formless and void, darkness was over the surface of the ATMs, and the Spirit of Govt was hovering over the land.

And Govt said, “Let there be spending,” and there was spending. Govt saw that the spending was good, and that it separated the light from the darkness. Govt called the spending Investments, and this he did in the first day.

Then Govt said, “Let there be roads and bridges across the waters, and let dams divide the waters from the waters.” Thus Govt made the infrastructure and the patronage jobs for eternity under the firmament from the Potomac which was above the firmament; and it was so. And Govt called the firmament Washington. This Govt did on the second day.

Read the rest at Iowa Hawk

and while there take a look at his “ DNC Scientists Disprove Existence of Roberts’ Taxon”    

A delightful rip of the dnc’s spin on the supremes health care decision

If you like tongue in cheek this guys a hoot, E

It is said that when the late Heath Ledger was tapped to play the role of the Joker in the 2008 Batman film The Dark Knight, he was cautioned by the man who had done so before … (continued)

Last weekend I went to Phoenix, Arizona, for my aunt’s 90th birthday party. This is my mother’s last sibling and the only other one who came to America. The party was great, and I loved hearing plenty of stories from my aunt about the old country and what it was like coming to New York in the late 1940s. My aunt, happily, is very alert and capable, and still has her sunny demeanor and great sense of humor.

One highlight, for her more than for me, was Mass. We went to her parish church, and this was her first trip to Mass in several months. Her parish had recently built a new building (growing suburban parish) which she had not yet seen but was anxious to see. Auntie gets around in a motorized scooter and simply can’t make it to Mass on her own. A dear and conscientious shirt-tail relative takes her occasionally, but, that’s life when you have limited mobility.

The Mass began with handshaking, and had all that stirring show-tune music–it stirs up strong feelings–that we love so much. I am not writing to complain, except maybe about my own proclivity to complain. My aunt was soooo happy to *be there* at Mass, and not just to watch it on TV. She thanked me several times for taking her, but of course it was a privilege for me.

Just going to Mass with someone who wants to go but cannot very often really gave me a little spiritual insight into how lucky we are. We are obligated to go weekly, and for some it is a real trial to attend a groovy modern liturgy. But to think about not being able to go to Mass very often…just made me fell lucky (blessed, really) to live within walking distance of three churches.

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