Two diocesan newspapers are included in this collection: Catholic Standard, later renamed The Catholic Standard & Times, 1866 to 1951, and The Universe: The Catholic Herald and Visitor, 1833-1867.
Newspapers can offer a wealth of information. Amongst the pages of these two newspapers, you may find the following content:
Notice of vital events such as marriages, deaths, and obituaries
Contemporary religious news and events, both international and local
Concerns relating to Catholics at the time of publication (e.g. success in getting traction in the wide-spread adoption of Roman Catholic as a replacement to the term Papist, 24 January 1833, The Catholic Herald)
Notable sermons (e.g. Christmas Day sermon by Reverend Charles P Grannan)
Biographical coverage of religious leaders (e.g. an article on Reverend Joseph Oster commemorating his twenty-fifth anniversary of his ordination)
The Catholic Standard & Times -- The newspaper put out 50 issues a year, excluding the week of the fourth of July and the last week of the year. Its first issue was published on 6 January 1866 and was the official organ of the Diocese of Philadelphia. In November 1895, the paper merged with The Catholic Times, which resulted in a name change to The Catholic Standard and Times. In 2011, the paper transitioned to a monthly publication and, in 2012, ceased publication.
The Universe: The Catholic Herald and Visitor -- The first diocesan newspaper, under the name The Catholic Herald, began publication on 3 January 1833. On 27 December 1856, it merged with The Catholic Visitor, which resulted in a name change to The Catholic Herald and Visitor. A final merger happened on 23 December 1863 with The Universe, a secular Irish newspaper. With this merger, the newspaper began to publish under the name The Universe: The Catholic Herald and Visitor. For a time, the newspaper contained the recommendation of the bishop, and the slogan Official Organ of the Diocese of Philadelphia could be found on certain issues of the publication. The paper adopted a pro-Fenian editorial policy, and continued to be published through 1869 or 1870.
Within the pages of the newspapers, you can find mention of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini. Mother Cabrini was canonized on 7 July 1946. An article in The Catholic Standard, printed on 20 April 1895, detailed the opening of a new hospital in New York by the Order of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and included the following: "The Order of the Salesian Missionary Sisters was founded in Italy fifteen years ago by Rev. Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini. […] The order was established in this country six years ago, the mother house being at No. 257 West Fourteenth street, where dwells the venerable Mother Founder Cabrini." Notice of Mother Cabrini’s passing can be found in the 5 January 1918 issue of The Catholic Standard and Times, which includes biographical details of her life: "Mother Cabrini was born in Italy on July 16, 1850, where she spent her earlier life in educational work. She was well fitted for the great work to which she consecrated her life; besides being a woman of rare piety, through education and high culture she possessed a business acumen that astonished many an expert."
Saint Katharine Drexel has numerous mentions within these newspapers. She was an heiress and philanthropist before she entered religious life in 1889. Katherine and her two sisters came into possession of an estate worth 14 million dollars upon their father’s death. In current dollars, this estate would be worth around 400 million. Katharine was canonized on 1 October 2000 and was the first individual born a U.S. citizen to be canonized. Katharine went on to form a religious congregation and took counsel from Mother Cabrini on getting her new order, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, approved. In The Catholic Standard on 20 February 1892, the following was printed on the reception of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament: "At the temporary convent of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, St. Michael’s, near Torresdale, of which Mother Katharine Drexel is superior, the beautiful and impressive ceremony of reception of novices took place on Friday afternoon of last week. As many as twelve postulants were received into the novitiate of the new order, and His Grace Archbishop Ryan invested them with the white veil."
John Nepomucene Neumann was installed as the Bishop of Philadelphia on 28 March 1852. An account of this was printed in The Catholic Herald on 1 April 1852, which reads, in part, "On last Sunday the ceremony of consecrating the Right Rev. John Nepomucene Neumann, Bishop of Philadelphia, took place in the church of St. Alphonsus’ Baltimore. […] After the ceremony, the Archbishop, the Bishop of Philadelphia, the Bishop of Hartford, Conn., about thirty of the clergy and a few citizens of Philadelphia dined at the Parsonage of St. Alphonsus church. The dinner was served up in the very best style, and passed off most cheerfully. In the evening the Bishop of Philadelphia preached in St. Alphonsus church, and thus terminated a day which reflected great credit on the Catholics of Baltimore—and particularly on Father Bernard and the clergymen of St. Alphonsus’ church." Bishop Neumann was canonized on 19 June 1977, making him the first U.S. bishop to be canonized.
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