Louisiana, Catholic Church in
LOUISIANA, CATHOLIC CHURCH IN
Located in the south central United States, Louisiana was admitted to the Union as the 18th state on April 30, 1812. The area now comprising the state was once part of the immense Louisiana Territory claimed in 1682 by Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, for France and was under the successive control of Antoine Crozat (1712–17), John Law's Company of the West (1717–31), and the French Crown (1731–62); it then became a Spanish possession (1762–1801), was returned to France (1800–03), and was sold to the United States and governed as a territory (1804–12). Baton Rouge is the capital and New Orleans is the largest city.
In 2001 Catholics numbered about 1.3 million, slightly more than 31 percent of the total state population of 4,321,980. The ecclesiastical province of New Orleans coincides with the state boundaries. New Orleans is the metropolitan see and the other six Louisiana dioceses— alexandria, baton rouge, Houma-Thibodaux, lafayette, Lake Charles, and Shreveport—are its suffragans. Catholics are concentrated mainly in the southern part of the state. Lafayette has a higher proportion of Catholics (65 percent) than any other diocese in the United States, and with New Orleans has one of the highest populations of African American Catholics in the nation.
Colonization and Missionary History. The discovery, colonization, settlement, history, and economic growth of the state are associated with its waterways, principally the Mississippi River. Hernando De Soto discovered it in 1541; La Salle went down the Mississippi from the Illinois in 1682; Pierre Lemoyne, Sieur de Iberville, sailed up the river from the Gulf of Mexico in 1699; and his brother, Jean Baptiste Lemoyne, Sieur de Bienville, in 1722 transferred the capital of French Louisiana from New Biloxi on the Gulf Coast to a bend of the river that gives to New Orleans its sobriquet of "Crescent City." The 1718 plans of the city, laid by Adrien de Pauger, provided for a church and presbytery, but divine services were held only in improvised and inadequate quarters until April 1727, when the first substantial St. Louis parish church was finally completed. Franciscan recollects, Zénobe Membré and Anastase Douay, were with La Salle when he reached the mouth of the Mississippi and the territory was placed under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the bishop of Quebec. Priests of the Quebec Seminary, connected with the Seminary of Foreign Missions in Paris, worked among the Native Americans of lower Louisiana in the late 1600s and early 1700s. François de Montigny, Antoine Davion, and Jean François Buisson de St. Cosmé were outstanding pioneer missionaries. Buisson, regarded as the first American-born missionary martyr, was killed in 1706 by a party of Chitimacha tribe members a few miles below Donaldsonville on the Mississippi River. In 1717 the Franciscan Antonio margil offered the first Mass in Natchitoches, Louisiana's oldest town (1715), and ministered to its French settlers and Native American inhabitants. In 1724, three years before New Orleans had its own substantial church building, a chapel was erected about 35 miles upstream at present-day Killona on the German Coast (Les Allemands). The first chapel of the state was built in 1700 by the Bayagoula tribe under the supervision of Fr. Paul du Ru at the site of present-day Bayou Goula in Iberville Parish (county), which the Jesuit missionary had reached by way of the Mississippi.
Catholicism made little progress during the five years when Antione Crozat, a French financier, attempted to exploit the region. In 1717 the Council of the Marine recommended turning the colony over to John Law's Company of the West and its successor, the Company of the Indies (or Mississippi Company). In accordance with the charter issued by the regent, Philip II, duke of Orleans, religious affairs were included in the activities of the Company of the West from 1717 to 1731. Occasionally, concession chaplains, Jesuits, Capuchins, Carmelites, and other missionaries traveled up and down the river during the early years of colonization. The first Capuchins were Bruno de Langres, who arrived in New Orleans toward the end of 1722, and Plilibert de Vianden, who took charge of the district from the Chapitoulas. The district extended a few miles above the original boundaries of the city, to Pointe Coupée. It included Les Allemands, the German Coast, and the intervening concessions. Les Allemands had a chapel, dedicated to St. John, on the west bank of the Mississippi as early as 1724. Most land grants were along the Mississippi River and other bodies of water, such as Bayou St. John and Lake Pontchartrain. On the Mississippi, itself, the land grants stretched from Chapitoulas to Point Coupee about 140 miles upstream. From the parochial centers established along the river, priests plied the Mississippi and other streams or pushed into the interior to build chapels and start missions from which emerged the later parishes. At the confluence of the Mississippi River and Bayou Lafourche, Capuchins and, later, Vincentians, descended in pirogues from the Plattenville Assumption Church (1793) and Seminary (1838) to lay the foundation of bayou parishes. In 1722 the Jesuits, who contributed notably to the spiritual and economic well-being of the area, undertook the spiritual jurisdiction of the natives in the colony, a responsibility entrusted to them by Bishop Louis duplessis-mornay of Quebec. Their endeavors were supported in large measure by an extensive indigo and sugar plantation adjacent to New Orleans. In July 1763, while Michel Baudouin was superior, the Jesuits were dispossessed of their property and banished from Louisiana. Their departure, some ten years before the society was suppressed, seriously hampered and retarded the growth of the Church in colonial Louisiana.
The arrival of the French-speaking Acadians, expelled from Nova Scotia in the mid-1750s, was a boon to the state and a blessing to the Church in Louisiana. As early as 1758, Acadians reached Louisiana by way of Georgia, the Carolinas, and Maryland. During the following years several hundred—including groups from New England, the Antilles, and French ports—migrated to the state. They settled in St. Martinville (Les Attakapas) on Bayou Têche, in the Poste des Opelousas, a few miles from the Têche, and along the Mississippi below Baton Rouge. At St. Gabriel, Iberville Parish, they deposited the precious parish registers of St. Charles Church, Grand Pré (1688–1755). Those who settled along Les Allemands soon intermarried with the descendants of the original settlers—almost all Catholics—from the Low
Countries, Switzerland, Alsace Lorraine, and the Rhineland. The Acadians and other French-speaking Louisianians generally retained their Catholic faith, despite a dire shortage of priests and churches. With other settlers, who followed them to Les Attakapas and the Opelousas District, they formed a cluster of parishes in St. Martinville (1765); Opelousas (1777); Grand Coteau (1819); Lafayette, formerly Vermilionville (1821); and New Iberia (1838). In the central and northern areas of the state, the Church made smaller gains than elsewhere. Except in the civil parishes of Natchitoches, Avoyelles, and Rapides, the inhabitants were and still are mostly Protestants of Anglo-Saxon descent.
In 1769, Spanish troops took control of New Orleans and the Louisiana Territory which was ceded to Spain by the Treaty of Fontainbleau. After 1776, Church affairs in New Orleans were greatly influenced by the Spanish. Cirillo de Barcelona, chaplain of the Spanish expedition against the British in West Florida, was consecrated auxiliary bishop for the Louisiana colony on March 6, 1785. Shortly before leaving for his consecration in Cuba, he appointed his assistant, Antonio de sedella, temporary pastor of St. Louis. For decades thereafter, Sedella, known as Père Antoine, was the center of controversy in the area.
Church Expansion. When the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas was created in 1793, Luis Ignacio de peÑalver y cÀrdenas was consecrated as first ordinary. He arrived in New Orleans on July 17, 1795, marking the beginning of home government in Church affairs. Peñalver noted in a report to the Spanish government, that of the 11,000 Catholics in New Orleans, only about 400 had performed their Easter Duty. He instituted a number of necessary reforms, combated religious indifference, and Voltaireanism, and established parishes in such places as the Poste des Avoyelles, Many (Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe at Bayou Scie), and Monroe. Meanwhile, the parish church in use since 1727 had been destroyed in the great fire of 1788 and a new structure, the future Cathedral of St. Louis, was completed in 1794. Although renovated several times, it remains substantially the same building, still in use as the cathedral. In December 1964 it became a Minor Basilica.
In 1801 Peñalver was transferred to the Archdiocese of Guatemala and jurisdictional quarrels, interdiction, and threats of schism marked the next 15 years in New Orleans. Père Antoine was at odds with Fr. Patrick Walsh and Canon Thomas Hasset, who attempted to administer the diocese during the episcopal vacancy. When Hasset died on April 24, 1804, the last canonical link of the Louisiana Church with Spain was extinguished. Walsh claimed to be vicar-general of Louisiana which precipitated a two-year schism between his followers and those of Père Antoine, who was "elected" pastor of St. Louis Cathedral the following year by the majority of New Orleans's citizens under the direction of the church wardens (marguilliers). To complicate matters further, Spain ceded Louisiana back to France, which in turn, sold it to the United States in 1803. Aware of the territorial transfer, the Holy See decided not to send Bishop-elect Francisco Porro y Peinado to Louisiana, and on Sept. 1, 1805, placed it temporarily under the spiritual supervision of Bishop John carroll of Baltimore. Carroll, in time, named the chaplain of the Ursulines, Jean Olivier, his vicar-general, but the latter's authority was openly challenged by Père Antione and the cathedral wardens. Finally, on Aug. 18, 1812, Fr. Louis William dubourg was named administrator apostolic by Archbishop Carroll. It was DuBourg, complying with Andrew Jackson's request, who officiated at a Te Deum in St. Louis Cathedral following the U.S. victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans on Jan. 8, 1815. An all-night vigil before Our Lady of Prompt Succor was held at the Ursuline convent chapel before the battle; Jackson personally thanked the nuns for their prayers at the thanksgiving service presided over by DuBourg.
On Sept. 24, 1815, DuBourg was consecrated in Rome and Louisiana finally had a bishop after an interregnum of nearly 15 years. DuBourg, however, remained in Europe for the next two years enlisting the help of priests and seminarians. He successfully acquired the services of St. Rose Philippine duchesne, who visited New Orleans and the Religious of the Sacred Heart, and helped form the organization that eventually became the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Upon arriving in the United States, DuBourg went to St. Louis, MO, and didn't return to New Orleans until late 1820. The next year he called a synod, which was attended by 20 priests. On March 25, 1824, Joseph rosati, C.M. was consecrated as DuBourg's coadjutor, but his administration of the Church in New Orleans amounted to supervision at a distance, since he resided in St. Louis. A significant event of the period was the arrival of the Sisters of Charity from Emmitsburg, MD, to staff the Poydras Asylum in New Orleans. It was the first of numerous educational, social, and health care facilities in Louisiana, including Hôtel Dieu. DuBourg resigned in mid-1826 and returned to France, where he died in 1833 as archbishop of Besançon. A further division of the old diocese took place with St. Louis, MO becoming the see of the northern area, while the Diocese of New Orleans became co-extensive with the state boundaries of Louisiana. DuBourg's resignation left the lower end of the Mississippi Valley without a resident bishop which caused further disorder. Although Rosati visited the area he could not completely control the see. Rosati, appointed bishop of St. Louis in 1827, in time recommended a fellow Vincentian for the See of New Orleans, and Leo de Neckere was consecrated in St. Louis Cathedral on June 24, 1830 at the age of 29. His episcopate was brief, for he was stricken with yellow fever and died on Sept. 5, 1833. A few months before, he had established New Orleans's second parish, St. Patrick's, to accommodate the Irish immigrants and other English-speaking people of the city.
A remarkable period of church expansion coincided with the growing importance of New Orleans as a center of commerce and expanding population. The city, emerging as the fourth largest in the nation, increased in population from 29,737 in 1830 to 102,193 in 1840. The diocese covered the entire state, and had a total population approaching 300,000, served by 26 churches and 27 priests when Antoine blanc became fourth bishop on Nov. 22, 1835. During the 25 years Blanc administered the see, the number of churches increased to 73 and the number of priests to 92. He established Assumption Seminary on Bayou Lafourche, two colleges, nine academies and schools, four orphanages, a hospital, and a home for girls. Under the guidance of Etienne Rousselon, vicargeneral, the Sisters of the Holy Family was founded by a free African–American woman, Henriette Delille, in 1842. It was a community commited to teaching, caring for orphans, and tending to elderly African Americans. The Redemptorist Fathers established themselves (1843) in Lafayette and New Orleans where German, Irish, and French immigrants had settled. Of the Redemptorists, Blessed Francis Xavier seelos died and was buried in New Orleans in 1865. In 1836, while abroad recruiting priests and religious for his diocese, Blanc persuaded the Father General of the Jesuits in Rome to release eight members of the society for service in Louisiana, guaranteeing the return of a Jesuit presence to the area after nearly three-quarters of a century. In 1837 they established themselves in Grand Coteau, building St. Charles College for their novitiate. They also took charge of Sacred Heart Church and parish, which embraced a wide territory in the west. The Jesuit Fathers opened the College of the Immaculate Conception in 1849 on a plot of ground that had once formed part of the plantation of which they had been defrauded in 1763. The Congregation of the Holy Cross came in 1849 to stabilize St. Mary Orphan Boys Home, which had been opened by Fr. Adam Kindelon, first pastor of St. Patrick's. Fr. Cyril de la Croix organized the first conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul after a layman, William Blair Lancaster, brought a manual of the society to New Orleans (1852).
Blanc called two diocesan synods and two provincial councils. The death of Abbé Louis Moni, pastor of St. Louis Cathedral in 1842, precipitated a three-year struggle between Blanc and the wardens of the cathedral over the right to appoint clergy; the controversy, which caused the withdrawal of the clergy from the cathedral, eventually was settled in the Louisiana supreme court in favor of the bishop, and shaped the pattern of parish establishment for several decades, abolishing the trustee system.
Diocesan Developments. In 1850, Pope Pius IX raised New Orleans to the rank of an archdiocese and created the Province of New Orleans which included all of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Texas, and part of Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Three years later, the upper part of Louisiana state was erected into the Diocese of Natchitoches with Auguste M. Martin as its first bishop. The new diocese had but five priests and five churches to serve the Catholic population of about 25,000, spread throughout the entire northern half of Louisiana. After Blanc's death on June 20, 1860, the archdiocese was administered by Rouselon until the arrival of Archbishop-elect Jean Marie odin from Galveston, TX.
Archbishop Odin took possession of his see only a few days after the bombardment of Ft. Sumter on April 12, 1861. Louisiana had already seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy. During the Civil War, the archbishop's position was an extremely delicate one, calling for infinite tact and diplomacy; Pope Pius IX appointed Odin and Archbishop Hughes of New York his personal intermediaries for trying to effect a reconciliation between the North and South. The times grew more trying after the city was occupied by Federal troops on May 1, 1862. Union forces wrought considerable damage on Church properties in such places as Vermilionville (Lafayette), Pointe Coupée and Donaldsonville. In addition, the war years witnessed a disruption of religious and educational work in Thibodaux, Convent, Plaquemine, Grand Coteau, and elsewhere. Reconstruction was no less trying, but Odin continued the expansion program of his predecessor. In 1863, Odin went to Europe in search of men and money for his diocese. He convinced the Marist Fathers to come to the U.S. and work in Louisiana. In 1867 the Oblate Sisters of Providence, a Baltimore community of African-American nuns, began staffing a home for dependent children of the newly freed slaves. The Little Sisters of the Poor opened their home for the aged poor after a committee of pious women, called Les Dames de la Providence, asked for their help in maintaining another home for the aged founded in 1840. The Brothers of the Sacred Heart came to New Orleans from Mobile, AL in 1869. The first Benedictine convent in the archdiocese was opened (1870) in the German national parish of Holy Trinity, New Orleans (1847). The nuns arrived from Covington, KY, and later established a motherhouse in Covington, LA. After numerous requests for assistance, Odin finally obtained a coadjutor with right of succession, Napoleon Joseph Perché, who had been chaplain of the Ursulines for many years, founder of the first Catholic newspaper in Louisiana, Le Propagateur Catholique (1842), and vicar-general of the archdiocese. He was consecrated in St. Louis Cathedral on May 1, 1870, and succeeded to the see when Odin died in France on May 25, 1870, after attending the First Vatican Council with Bishop Martin of Natchitoches.
Like his predecessors, Perché invited several communities to the archdiocese: the Sisters of the Most Holy Sacrament (formerly Perpetual Adoration), who arrived at Waggaman in 1872; the Sisters of Christian Charity, who established themselves at St. Henry's Convent, New Orleans in 1873; and the Discalced Carmelite Nuns, who arrived in 1877. In addition, Archbishop Perché approved the founding of a diocesan community, the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, organized on July 11, 1874 in Labadieville with Elvina Vienne as first superior. Soon after his installation as head of the see, Perché also inaugurated a costly program of church building, school construction, and parish foundations that contrasted sharply with the record of his predecessor. These expenses, plus financial aid to families impoverished by the Civil War, caused the archdiocese's debt to soar. Weakened by age and infirmities, and overwhelmed by the tremendous debt, the archbishop asked for a coadjutor. The Holy See appointed François Xavier Leray of Natchitoches, who became archbishop upon Perché's death on Dec.27, 1883. Bishop Leray was succeeded in Natchitoches by Bishop Antoine Durier, who was instrumental in establishing a Catholic School Board and Catholic schools near every church in his diocese. Leray's chief concern as coadjutor and as ordinary was the reduction of the archdiocese's debt, so his administration was practically without building or expansion programs. The only new community established in the archdiocese was that of the Poor Clare Nuns (1885). Upon his death on Sept. 23, 1887, Leray was succeeded by Francis Janssens, the Dutch-born bishop of Natchez.
The new archbishop received the pallium from Cardinal James Gibbons on May 8, 1889, although he had actually taken possession of the archdiocese on Sept. 16, 1888. He invited the Benedictines of St. Meinrad's Abbey in Indiana to open a seminary for the training of native priests. Fr. Luke Grüwe, O.S.B. established in 1890, what later became St. Joseph Abbey and Seminary at St. Benedict, LA. Janssens dedicated the seminary on Sept. 3, 1891. The archbishop welcomed St. Frances Xavier Cabrini to New Orleans, and encouraged her in 1892 to establish a school and orphanage to assist the children of Italian immigrants; thousands were entering the city. In 1893, he asked the Sisters of the Holy Family to care for dependent or neglected African-American boys, and thus started the present Lafon Home for Boys, one of several institutions named for the local African-American philanthropist, Thomy Lafon.
Janssens was greatly esteemed throughout the archdiocese, which numbered 341,613 in the centennial year of 1893. The celebration that year attracted many dignitaries to Louisiana, including Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore. He encouraged spiritual ministrations to patients at the leprosarium at Carville, LA. When the hurricane of 1893 swept the Louisiana Gulf Coast, Janssens went among the Italian, Spanish, and Malay fishermen in the island settlements in a small boat to comfort them; he later helped to rebuild their homes. He promoted devotion to Our Lady under the title of Prompt Succor. The structure of the parishes was determined in 1894 when each was legally incorporated with the archbishop, the vicar-general, the pastor, and two lay directors as board members. Janssens was the first ordinary to promote native vocations on a large scale; his predecessors generally had depended on priests and seminarians from Europe, and had leaned heavily on religious to staff new parishes. He sponsored the Catholic Winter School, opened parochial schools, and launched a dozen new parishes. Alarmed at the defections from the faith among African Americans, he established St. Katherine's as an African American parish, but on a temporary basis, since he did not want to promote racial segregation. He died on June 9, 1897, while traveling to Europe on behalf of the archdiocese.
Placide Louis chapelle, sixth archbishop of New Orleans, was transferred from Santa Fe, NM in February 1898. Concerned about the archdiocese's debt, he ordered the annual contribution of 12 percent of the revenues of each parish for five years. This measure eventually liquidated the longstanding debt, although it aroused the displeasure of some pastors. Chapelle's relationship with the priests in the diocese was strained. Many of them born and educated in France, were upset by his extended, though necessary, absences as Apostolic Delegate to Cuba and Puerto Rico, and later as Apostolic Delegate Extraordinary to the Philippines, where Chappelle was needed to negotiate ecclesiastical problems arising from the Spanish-American War. It was evident that he needed an auxiliary and one was provided when the pastor of Annunciation Church in New Orleans, Gustave Rouxel, was consecrated on April 9, 1899. Archbishop Chapelle opened a theological seminary (1900) with the Vincentian Fathers as professors. Some 12 parishes and missions were established during Chapelle's episcopate and the Dominicans began their ministry in the archdiocese (1903). Chapelle died a victim of yellow fever on Aug. 9, 1905.
The next ordinary, James Hubert Blenk, S.M. was well known to the archdiocese long before his appointment on April 20, 1906. He had served as bishop of Puerto Rico, former auditor and secretary to the apostolic delegation to the West Indies, rector of Holy Name of Mary Church, and president of Jefferson College, Convent, LA. Blenk, an ardent promoter of Catholic education, set up in 1908 the first archdiocesan school board and appointed the first superintendent of schools. In 1914, he hosted the National Catholic Education Association convention in New Orleans, the first major convention of its kind to be held in Louisiana. The preparatory seminary was placed again under the care of the Benedictine Fathers of St. Joseph Abbey, but the theological courses were discontinued in 1907. Most major seminarians of the archdiocese matriculated at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis and St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, or studied abroad. In September 1904, the Jesuits started a small college in New Orleans, which in 1911 was amalgamated with the College of the Immaculate Conception and became Loyola University, receiving state charter as a university in 1912. Blenk designated St. Mary's the normal school for women religious engaged in teaching in the archdiocese. In time, St. Mary's Dominican College became an accredited Catholic women's college.
French Benedictine nuns, forced to leave France in 1906, settled in Ramsay under the guidance of Paul Schaeuble, O.S.B., who had become first abbot of St. Joseph Abbey in 1903. The Sisters Servants of Mary, having left Mexico during the Carranza revolution, found refuge also in the archdiocese and in 1914 began their ministrations among the sick and the bedridden in the city. The sisters of the Society of St. Teresa of Jesus, likewise refugees from Mexico, began teaching at St. Louis Cathedral School in 1915. That same year, the archbishop urgently requested St. Katharine drexel, foundress of the Sisters of the blessed sacrament, to undertake the education of African-American youth in the city and throughout the archdiocese. Accordingly, in 1915 the sisters opened Xavier High School and ten years later opened Xavier College, the oldest continuing African-American Catholic university in the United States. In 1911, the Brothers of Christian Schools purchased St. Paul's College, Covington from the Benedictine Fathers. In 1912 the Ursulines, under the supervision of their chaplain, François Racine, moved from their third convent building to a new site on State Street, where ten years later, the national shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor was erected.
Early in his administration, Blenk strengthened lay groups. He organized the state board of Holy Name Societies in 1906, the Louisiana State Federation of Catholic Societies in 1909, and the Federation of Catholic Societies of Women of Louisiana. He promoted the Catholic Order of Foresters, the Knights of Columbus, and the Knights of Peter Claver.
The growth of the population in the archdiocese, especially in Acadian (Cajun) southwest Louisiana, made a division expedient. Shortly before Archbishop John William Shaw was promoted to the New Orleans See on Jan. 11, 1918, Pope Benedict XV established the Diocese of Lafayette, comprising western Louisiana. He also appointed Jules Benjamin Jeanmard administrator of the archdiocese following the death of Blenk on April 15, 1917. Jeanmard became the first native Louisianian to be raised to the episcopate, its founding bishop.
Meanwhile, in New Orleans, one of Archbishop Shaw's first actions was to invite the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, with whom he had worked closely as bishop of San Antonio, TX to administer St. Louis Cathedral and to take charge of the churches and missions in Livingston parish. In 1919 the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, from San Antonio, came to teach at St. Francis de Sales parochial school. In 1920 Archbishop Shaw, with his chancellor, August J. Bruening, began to lay plans for a financial campaign for the erection of a major seminary. In September 1923 the Notre Dame Seminary opened and was staffed by the Marist Fathers. That same year, the Sisters of St. Francis of Calais opened Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge. Franciscan Fathers returned to the archdiocese on July 21, 1925, when they took charge of the newly established parish of St. Mary of the Angels in the city, and the missions of the Lower Coast. The Sisters of the Holy Ghost and Mary Immaculate arrived from San Antonio in September 1926 to teach the African-American children of St. Luke School, Thibodaux. Shaw encouraged the endeavors of Catherine Bostick and Zoé Grouchy to establish the Eucharistic Missionaries of St. Dominic, an organization which would provide religious instruction to children in public schools and offer social relief work. In 1928 the Society of the Divine Word took over the mission stations on both the east and west bank of the lower Mississippi River. In 1931 the Jesuits purchased the old Jefferson College in Convent and converted it into Manresa House, a place for laymen's retreats.
Father (later Bishop) Maurice Shexnayder began Newman club work in 1929 at Louisiana State University, one-third of whose student body was Catholic. Monsignor Peter M. H. Wynhoven established (1925) Hope Haven for orphaned and abandoned boys, later placed under the direction of the Salesian Fathers of St. John Bosco. Opposite Hope Haven, Madonna Manor for small boys replaced St. Mary and St. Joseph Orphanages. Wynhoven, in addition to many other assignments, reorganized the social services and charities of the archdiocese by setting up Associated Catholic Charities in 1924. In 1922 Shaw convoked the sixth synod, the first in 33 years. In 1932 he launched the official diocesan paper, the Catholic Action of the South, with Wynhoven acting as first editor in chief. It replaced the Morning Star, which had been published between 1878 and 1930. Shaw's last years were burdened by problems brought about by the Depression of the 1930s. Some of the archdiocese's funds were frozen in local banks and several parishes found it difficult to meet the high interest due on monies borrowed during the 1920s. Nevertheless, 33 new parishes were opened between 1919 and 1934. After a brief illness, Shaw died on Nov. 2, 1934, and Jean Marius Laval, who had been consecrated auxiliary to Blenk, became administrator.
In 1935, Joseph Francis rummel of Omaha, NB was transferred to the Archdiocese of New Orleans to become its 13th ordinary and 9th archbishop. Rummel intensified and accelerated existing movements; proposed and promoted new projects; sponsored the eighth National Eucharistic Congress in 1938, the largest public demonstration of Catholic faith ever seen in the city to that time; and endorsed numerous regional and national conventions. He also issued authoritative statements on social problems, such as the 1953 letter, "Blessed are the Peacemakers," which deplored racism. Two years later he ordered the planned desegregation of Catholic schools in the archdiocese. Rummel also launched a series of successful financial campaigns, insisted on a sound fiscal policy for each parish and institution, reorganized and expanded the archdiocesan administration, and promptly implemented decrees of the Holy See.
When Rummel was appointed to New Orleans the Catholic population was estimated at 361,882, out of a total population of nearly one million. At that time, there were 132 resident parishes, 97 missions, and 451 secular and religious priests. By 1960, the entire population (Catholic and non-Catholic) had increased by about 66 percent. The number of parishes had grown by 40 percent, and the number of priests had increased by 25 percent. Insufficient vocations to the priesthood prevented the archbishop from establishing more parishes, even though a growing population brought an increased demand for churches, schools, and other institutions, especially in suburban areas. Nevertheless, well over $100 million worth of building contracts were signed, the majority after World War II, and at least half were for schools, convents, and school-allied buildings. The Youth Progress Program was launched on Jan. 21, 1945 for the expansion of high schools for boys, recreational facilities, and a boy's protectory. Twelve years later, the oversubscribed Diocesan Campaign of Progress made possible the construction of a $2 million seminary at St. Benedict to accommodate 400 students, a new central administration (chancery) building, four centers for Newman Clubs at state and private colleges and universities, and a projected home for the aged. Between these two campaigns, which were carried out by volunteer laymen under the guidance of their pastors, parishes of the archdiocese memorialized Rummel's golden jubilee as a priest in 1952 by contributing $1 million for the erection of St. Joseph Hall of Philosophy, which raised the capacity of Notre Dame Seminary to 150.
In 25 years, the Catholic school population more than doubled, reaching 90,546 in 1961. Contributions to the missions totaled $3.6 million from 1935 to 1960. Under the leadership of Msgr. Edward C. J. Prendergast, Fr. (later Bishop) Robert E. Tracy, and (after 1945) Msgr. (later Bishop) Gerard L. Frey, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) became one of the most dynamic forces in the archdiocese, as did the Cana and pre-Cana conferences to which Rummel gave impetus in 1957.
New communities of men entering the archdiocese were Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette (1938), the Maryknoll Fathers (1944), and the Brothers of the Good Shepherd (1955). Communities of women returning to the archdiocese, or settling in it for the first time, included the Religious of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1949); the Poor Sisters of St. Francis Seraph of the Perpetual Adoration (1951); the Daughters of Jesus (1952); the Religious of Our Lady of the Retreat in the Cenacle, who opened (1958) Maria Immaculata Retreat House; and the Oblate Sisters of Providence (1958). Rummel organized the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Men, although in time, its program was more or less assumed by the Archdiocesan Union of Holy Name Societies. The Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women was even more successful as the Catholic Daughters of America and the St. Margaret's Daughters augmented their courts and circles. New organizations, groups, and agencies established since 1935 have been numerous including Serra Clubs, the Catholic Committees for Boy and Girl Scouts, Catholic Youth Organizations, Catholic Physicians and Nurses Guilds, Ozanam Inn, and the St. Vincent de Paul Store.
In addition to the curial posts, the diocesean administration includes an appreciably expanded ecclesiastical tribunal; commissions for sacred music, ecclesiastical art, and the liturgy; a diocesan building commission, appointed at the time of the seventh diocesan synod in 1949; a Catholic Bureau of Information; directors for the Legion of Decency; the deaf apostolate, and hospitals; and a Catholic Council on Human Relations, an organization of Catholic laymen designed to promote justice and charity, which held its first meeting in March, 1961.
Through the years, Rummel was a staunch champion of the underprivileged and a promoter of social justice. He opposed right-to-work bills introduced in the state legislature during the sessions of 1948 and 1954; led a movement to maintain reasonable rent controls after World War II; accepted African-American applicants at both minor and major seminaries; racially integrated the Archdiocesan School Board, the Councils of Catholic Men and Women, the Sodalities, and the Holy Name Societies; recommended African-American laypersons for Papal honors, and spoke out vehemently against segregation, upholding the Supreme Court decision of May 17, 1954, which ruled segregation in public schools unconstitutional. Regrettably, his stand on these socio–moral issues proved unpopular among many, otherwise, representative Catholic laymen.
On Aug. 14, 1961 Pope John XXIII named Bishop John P. cody of Kansas City-St. Joseph MO, coadjutor archbishop with right of succession and erected the Diocese of Baton Rouge. He also appointed Robert E. Tracey, formerly auxiliary of Lafayette, its first bishop. The Louisiana bishops departed for Rome in 1962 to attend the Second Vatican Council. Tracey, who later published his well-received council diary, formed his diocese according to the norms of the Council, thereby, making Baton Rouge a model for other dioceses in establishing post-Conciliar administrative structure and consultative process. He placed particular emphasis on liturgical renewal and modern catechetical efforts.
On the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, May 24, 1962, Archbishop Rummel announced that Archbishop Cody had been appointed apostolic administrator of New Orleans. Cody succeeded to the see at Rummel's death on Nov. 8, 1964. Archbishop Cody was transferred to Chicago, IL on June 16, 1965 and his successor, Philip M. Hannan, auxiliary bishop of Washington, DC was installed in New Orleans on October 13. Prior to this time, Hannan had been helping the victims of the devastating Hurricane Betsy. The following year, Harold R. Perry, the first African-American bishop since 1875, was consecrated as New Orleans's auxiliary on January 6.
During Hannan's administration the Vatican Pavilion at the New Orleans World Exposition was erected in 1984. The treasures of Catholic art assembled in the pavilion drew hundreds of thousands of visitors to the site. Three years later, New Orleans received its first visit by a reigning pontiff. From Sept. 11 to Sept. 13, 1987 Pope John Paul II made a pastoral visit to New Orleans, highlighted by a prayer service in the cathedral, a visit with the young people of the area at the Superdome, a Mass on the grounds of the University of New Orleans, and an address on education at Xavier University. On Dec. 13, 1988, Archbishop Hannan announced that his resignation as archbishop of New Orleans had been accepted by the Holy See. His 24 years as ordinary was marked by an impressive increase in the number and kinds of social services rendered by the archdiocese. During his tenure, three new diocese were created: Houma-Thibodaux (1977) was carved out of the Archdiocese of New Orleans with Bishop Warren Boudreaux as its founding ordinary. The Diocese of Lake Charles was created from the Diocese of Lafayette (1980) with Bishop Jude Speyer as ordinary. In 1986, the Diocese of Alexandria-Shreveport was divided. Bishop William B. Friend became the first bishop of the new Diocese of Shreveport.
On Feb. 14, 1989 Philadelphia native, Francis Bible Schulte, was installed as twelfth archbishop of New Orleans after serving as bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, WV. Alfred C. Hughes, appointed fourth bishop of Baton Rouge in 1993, was named coadjutor with right of succession to Archbishop Schulte on Feb. 16, 2001.
Catholic Population. The history of slavery accounts for the large number of African-American Catholics in South Louisiana, with New Orleans having the highest number of African-American Catholics in the U.S. The slave trade remained brisk in New Orleans from the time the city was founded up to the Civil War. Most slave owners in Louisiana were Catholic and were bound by the prescriptions of the Code Noir, which demanded that slaves be baptized and instructed in the Catholic religion. The economy of the sugar plantations in South Louisiana depended on slave labor up to the time of the Emancipation Proclamation. There were no separate churches for African Americans until the late 19th century. The first one, St. Katherine's, was established in New Orleans in 1895. In 1897, Fr. Pierre LeBeau began the Josephite apostolate in Louisiana, and since then, well over 100 separate African-American churches and chapels have been established in the state, most of which are administered by religious communities, most notably the Society of the Divine Word and the Josephites.
National parishes were established in New Orleans shortly after immigrants from France and Germany arrived in the city in the early 1800s, from Ireland in the mid-1800s, from Italy toward the close of the century, and from Lebanon at the beginning of the 20th. The fall of Saigon in 1975 resulted in the emigration of many Catholic Vietnamese refugees to Louisiana, where they found a hospitable climate and the opportunity to continue working in the fishing industry. Louisiana has the third largest concentration of Vietnamese Catholics, after California and Texas. Since the late 1960s, Hispanic Catholics from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean have reintroduced Spanish settlement to the state, but in much smaller numbers than in neighboring states. The majority of the diocesan clergy in Louisiana are native born and locally educated, in contrast with the situation a few generations earlier, when bishops continued to depend on European and Canadian priests to staff parishes. Just under half of the clergy in the state belong to religious communities, many of these priests are foreign born, coming from India, Africa, and parts of Asia.
Educational Institutions. The Church in Louisiana has had a stake in education since the 1700s. Presently, there are two Catholic universities and one college in New Orleans-Loyola New Orleans. There is also xavier university of louisiana, Holy Cross College, and Our Lady of the Lake College in Baton Rouge.
Catholic secondary and elementary schools enroll about 22 percent of all children in the state from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. Slightly less than half of school-age children, who are Catholic, are in Catholic institutions. The number of students enrolled at Catholic schools remains constant. The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) is responsible for the religious instruction of Catholic children in public and nonsectarian private schools. Each diocese has its own superintendent of schools and its own CCD director.
Bibliography: Archives, Archdiocese of New Orleans. Archives, Diocese of Alexandria. Archives, Diocese of Baton Rouge. Archives, Diocese of Lafayette. Archives, Diocese of Shreveport. Archives, St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans. r. baudier, The Catholic Church in Louisiana, (New Orleans 1939). h. e. chambers, A History of Louisiana, (New York 1925) v.1. c. m. chambon, In and Around the Old St. Louis Cathedral of New Orleans (New Orleans 1908). g. conrad, ed., Cross, Crozier, and Crucible (New Orleans 1993). e. a. davis, Louisiana, the Pelican State (Baton Rouge 1959). c. l dufour, ed., St. Patrick's of New Orleans, 1883–1958 (New Orleans 1958) commemorative essays for the 125th anniversary. a. e. fossier, New Orleans: The Glamour Period, 1800–1840 (New Orleans 1957). m. giraud, Histoire de la Louisiane francaise (Paris 1953–58) v.1, "Le Regne de Louis XIV, 1698–1715;" v.2 "Annes de transition, 1715–1717." p. j. kennedy and sons, The Official Catholic Directory (Providence, NJ 2001). e. lauvriere, Histoire de la Louisiane francaise, 1673–1939 (Paris 1940). t. l. smith and h. l. hitt, People of Louisiana (Baton Rouge 1952). Louisiana Digest, 1809 to Date (St. Paul, MN 1936–).
[h. c. bezou/
m. g. guidry]