New Orleans, Archdiocese of
NEW ORLEANS, ARCHDIOCESE OF
(Novae Aureliae ) Metropolitan see erected April 25, 1793, as the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas by Pius VI upon the application of King Charles IV of Spain. The vast territory of the original diocese, except for the area under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Baltimore, stretched from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic and from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The territory, detached from the See of Havana, was previously part of the older Diocese of Santiago de Cuba, under whose jurisdiction the Louisiana colony had passed in 1762. Before that date, Quebec had spiritual jurisdiction over French colonial Louisiana. After the 1849 Provincial Council of Baltimore recommended additional ecclesiastical jurisdictions, Pius IX on July 19, 1850, raised New Orleans to the rank of metropolitan see. The first suffragan dioceses were those of Galveston, Tex.; Mobile, Ala.; Natchez, Miss.; and Little Rock, Ark. In 2001, the province included the Archdiocese of New Orleans and six additional Louisiana dioceses: Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Houma-Thibodaux, Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Shreveport. The archdiocese covers 4,208 square miles and includes eight civil parishes (counties), namely, Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, and Washington. The Catholic population numbers about 490,000 or 36.8% of the total population.
Early History. The parish church with the longest uninterrupted history is St. Louis Basilica, whose origin extends practically to the founding of New Orleans in 1718. The first Mass in what is now the archdiocese was offered nearly 20 years earlier, on March 3, 1699, by Rev. Anastase Douay, a Franciscan missionary, with the expedition of Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville, who established the power of France in the Lower Mississippi Valley. On a later expedition to Louisiana with Iberville, the Jesuit Paul Du Ru put to use his fragmentary knowledge of the tribal languages of the Bayagoula, Ouma, and Natchez tribes by preparing a rudimentary catechism for their instruction. By early spring of 1700, du Ru was supervising the construction of a small church in a native village in Iberville parish.
The Council of the Marine in 1717 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 priests, known as concession chaplains, were among the personnel assigned to the land grants in the colony. More important than the concessions, however, was the founding of New Orleans as the new capital of the colony by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, brother of Iberville, in 1718. The plan for the city, laid by Adrien de Pauger, provided for a church and presbytery. Divine services were held in improvised and inadequate quarters until April 1727, when the first substantial St. Louis parish church was finally completed.
Carmelite, Jesuit, and Capuchin priests labored in the colony during its formative years. The first Capuchins were Bruno de Langres, who arrived in New Orleans towards the end of 1722, and Philibert de Vianden, who took charge of the district from the Chapitoulas, a few miles above the original boundaries of the city, to Pointe Coupée, including 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. In April 1723, Bruno was replaced as superior of the Capuchin missions in Louisiana by Raphael de Luxembourg, who was also vicar-general of the bishop of Quebec. Raphael established, in 1725, the first school for boys in New Orleans, but it lasted only five or six years. Nicolas Ignace de Beaubois, founder of the Jesuit missions in New Orleans, induced the Ursulines of Rouen, France, to establish a military hospital and school for girls. The pioneer group of Ursulines reached New Orleans on Aug. 6, 1727, and began the educational enterprise that has continued without interruption to this day. In 1722, the Jesuits, who contributed notably to the spiritual and economic well-being of the area, undertook the spiritual jurisdiction of the native peoples of the colony, a responsibility entrusted to them by Bp. 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 Michael Baudouin was superior, the Jesuits were dispossessed of their property and banished from Louisiana. Their departure, some 10 years before the society was suppressed, seriously hampered and retarded the growth of the Church in colonial Louisiana.
After 1772, Church affairs in New Orleans bore a definite Spanish stamp. 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.
First Bishops. When the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas was created in 1793, Luis Ignacio de peÑalver y cÁrdenas was consecrated as first ordinary and 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 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 (Neustra 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. Renovated several times, it was elevated to a minor basilica in 1964.
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 Rev. Patrick Walsh and Canon Thomas Hassett, who attempted to administer the diocese during the episcopal vacancy; the wardens of the cathedral (marguilliers ), after assuming control of church temporalities in 1805, waxed more and more arrogant; and, to complicate matters further, Spain ceded Louisiana back to France, which, in turn, sold it to the U.S. 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 Bp. John Carroll of Baltimore, Md. Carroll in time named the chaplain of the Ursulines, Jean Olivier, his vicar-general, but the latter's authority was openly challenged by Père Antoine and the cathedral wardens. Finally, on Aug. 18, 1812, Rev. Louis William dubourg, president of Georgetown College and founder of St. Mary's College in Baltimore, 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.
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 priests and seminarians, as well as the services of the Religious of the Sacred Heart, and helping in the formation of the organization that eventually became the Pontifical Society for the propagation of the faith. Upon arriving in the U.S., Dubourg went to St. Louis, Mo., and returned to New Orleans only in late 1820. The next year he called a synod, which was attended by 20 priests. On March 25, 1824, Joseph rosati, CM, 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. Dubourg resigned in mid-1826 and died in 1833 as archbishop of Besancon, France.
Dubourg's resignation left the lower end of the Mississippi Valley without a resident bishop and was the signal for further disorders, which the annual visits of Rosati could not completely control. Rosati, appointed bishop of St. Louis in 1827, in time recommended a fellow Vincentian for the See of New Orleans, and Leo Raymond de Neckère was consecrated in St. Louis Cathedral on June 24, 1830. His regime was brief, for he was stricken with yellow fever and died on Sept. 5, 1833. A few months before (April 21, 1833), he had established New Orleans's second parish, St. Patrick's, to accommodate the Irish immigrants and other English-speaking people of the city. He had also invited to the diocese the Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel from Tours, France, but they arrived after the bishop's death, and settled in Plattenville on Bayou Lafourche.
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 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 Anthony blanc became fourth bishop, Nov. 22, 1835.
Blanc. During the 25 years Blanc administered the see, the number of churches increased to 73, and 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, vicar-general, the Sisters of the Holy Family were founded (1842) as a diocesan African-American religious congregation to teach, care for orphans, and tend to the aged of the African-American community. The cause for the canonization of their foundress, Henriette Dehille, was introduced in 1988. Blanc invited five communities of nuns to the diocese: the Sisters Marianites of Holy Cross (1848); the Sisters of St. Joseph of Bourg (1856); the School Sisters of Notre Dame (1856); the Sisters of Our Lady of the Good Shepherd (1859); and the Dominican Sisters, who, however, did not arrive from Cabra, Ireland, until four months after his death. The Redemptorist fathers established themselves (1843) in nearby Lafayette, where German, Irish, and French immigrants had settled. 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 Holy Cross came (1849) to stabilize St. Mary's Orphan Boys' Home, which had been opened by Adam Kindelon, first pastor of St. Patrick's. Rev. 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. A long and severe struggle with the church wardens culminated in the withdrawal of the clergy from the cathedral (1843). During the recrudescence of nativism, he was the target of polemics and abuse in the press, but a loyal laity, represented by the Catholic Temperance Society, rallied to his defense. In litigation with the wardens, the Louisiana supreme court upheld the position of the bishop (1844). Three years after Blanc became archbishop of New Orleans in 1850, his jurisdiction was reduced about 22,000 square miles by the erection in the upper part of the state of the Diocese of Natchitoches, but the Catholic population of the archdiocese was decreased by only 25,000. After his death on June 20, 1860, the archdiocese was administered by Father Rousselon until the arrival of Archbishop-elect Jean Marie odin from Galveston, Tex.
Odin. The second archbishop took possession of his see only a few days after the bombardment of Ft. Sumter on April 12, 1861, Louisiana having 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. 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 Pointe Coupée and Donaldsonville, and 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, within limitations, the expansion program of his predecessor.
During the archbishop's visit to Europe in 1863 in search of men and money for his diocese, the Marist Fathers accepted his invitation to labor in Louisiana. In 1867 the oblate sisters of providence, a Baltimore community of African-American nuns, began staffing a home for dependent children. 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 a home for the aged founded in 1840. The Brothers of the Sacred Heart came to New Orleans from Mobile in 1869. The archbishop invited the sisters of mercy, who began their visits to the parish prison, city workhouse, boys' house of refuge, and the mental hospital in 1869. The first Benedictine convent in the archdiocese was opened (1870) in the German national parish of Holy Trinity, New Orleans. The nuns arrived from Covington, Ky., and later established a motherhouse in Covington, La.
After numerous request for assistance, Odin finally obtained a coadjutor with right of succession. He was Napoléon Joseph Perché, who had been chaplain of the Ursulines for many years, founder (1842) of the first Catholic newspaper in Louisiana (Le Propagateur Catholique ), 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, May 25, 1870.
Perché and Leray. Like his predecessors, Perché invited several communities to the archdiocese: the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, now known as the sisters of the most holy sacrament, 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 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 archdiocesan debt to soar to $590,925, of which $257,080 was due European bondholders.
Weakened by age and infirmities, and overwhelmed by the tremendous debt, the archbishop asked for a coadjutor. The Holy See appointed Francis Xavier Leray of Natchitoches, who became archbishop upon Perché's death on Dec. 27, 1883. Leray's chief concern as coadjutor and as ordinary was the reduction of the archdiocesan 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.
Janssens. 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 priests. Luke Grüwe, OSB, established (1890) what later became St. Joseph's Abbey (St. Benedict, La.), and Janssens dedicated the seminary on Sept. 3, 1891. The archbishop welcomed Mother Frances Xavier cabrini to New Orleans and encouraged her to establish (1892) a house primarily to assist Italians who had begun to migrate in large numbers to 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, and supported by, a bequest from the local black philanthropist Thomy Lafon.
Janssens was greatly esteemed throughout the archdiocese, which numbered 341,613 in the centennial year of 1893. 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 them to rebuild their homes. He promoted devotion to Our Lady under the title of Prompt Succor. The corporate structure of each parish, as it exists today, was determined in 1894 when each parish 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 the African-Americans, he established St. Katherine's (1895) as a black parish, but on a temporary basis, since he did not wish to promote racial segregation. He died June 9, 1897, while en route to Europe in the interest of the archdiocese.
Chapelle. Placide Louis chapelle, sixth archbishop of New Orleans, was transferred from Santa Fe., N. Mex., in February 1898. In concern over the archdiocesan debt, he ordered the annual contribution of 12 percent of the revenues of each parish for five years. This helped in the eventual liquidation of the longstanding debt, although it aroused the displeasure of some pastors. Chapelle's relations with his priests, many of them born and educated in France, were hardly improved by his extended, though necessary absences as apostolic delegate extraordinary, to Puerto Rico and Cuba, and later as apostolic delegate to the Philippine Islands. 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. In 1898 the archbishop, in his anxiety to economize, withdrew aid from the preparatory seminary at St. Benedict. On the other hand, he opened a theological seminary (1900) in an existing building next to St. Stephen's Church, New Orleans, with Fathers of the Congregation of the Mission as professors. Some 12 parishes and missions were established during Chapelle's regime and the Dominican fathers began (1903) their ministry in the archdiocese. Chapelle died a victim of yellow fever, on Aug. 9, 1905.
Blenk. The next ordinary, James Hubert Blenk, SM, 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 (1908) the first archdiocesan school board and appointed the first superintendent of schools. The preparatory seminary was again placed under the care of the Benedictine fathers of St. Joseph's Abbey (1908), but the theological courses were discontinued (1907) at the seminary opened by Chapelle. Most major seminarians of the archdiocese matriculated at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis and St. Mary's 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. Blenk designated (1908) St. Mary's the normal school for women religious engaged in teaching in the archdiocese. In time St. Mary's Dominican became an accredited Catholic woman's college.
French Benedictine nuns, forced to leave their country, settled (1906) in Ramsay under the guidance of Paul Schaeuble, OSB, who had become first abbot of St. Joseph's in 1903. The Sisters Servants of Mary, having left Mexico during the Carranza revolution, found refuge also in the archdiocese and inaugurated (1914) their ministrations among the sick and 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 Mother Katharine Drexel, foundress of the Sisters of the blessed sacrament, to undertake the education of African-American youth in New Orleans. In 1917 the sisters opened a normal school and the following year they were authorized by the state legislature to conduct colleges and confer degrees. The sisters launched xavier university of louisiana in 1925. For further ministration to the African-American population, the archbishop solicited the services of St. Joseph's Society of the Sacred Heart (Josephites) and the Holy Ghost Fathers, assigning six parishes to the former and one to the latter. 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, 10 years later, the national shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor was erected.
Early in his administration, Blenk strengthened lay groups. He organized (1906) the State Board of Holy Name Societies, the Louisiana State Federation of Catholic Societies (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 southwest Louisiana, made a division expedient. Partition was effected Jan. 11, 1918, shortly before Abp. John William Shaw was promoted to the New Orleans see. Jules Benjamin Jeanmard, administrator of the archdiocese following the death of Blenk (April 15, 1917), was named first bishop of the new Diocese of Lafayette. The area of the archdiocese was reduced by about 11,000 square miles, 40 church parishes, and a population of about 300,000.
Shaw. One of Shaw's first actions was to invite the oblates of mary immaculate, with whom he had worked closely as bishop of San Antonio, Tex., 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 also, 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. With the help of laymen, the campaign realized close to $1 million and Notre Dame Seminary, staffed by Marist Fathers, became a reality in September 1923. In Baton Rouge, the Sisters of St. Francis of Calais opened Our Lady of the Lake Hospital (1923). 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 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's School, Thibodaux. Shaw encouraged the endeavors of Catharine Bostick and Zoe Grouchy in the establishment of the missionary servants of the most holy eucharist of the Third Order of St. Dominic, a community intended for religious instruction of the children in public schools and for 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 for laymen's retreats.
Father (later Bishop) Maurice Schexnayder 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 Salesian Fathers of St. John Bosco. Opposite Hope Haven, Madonna Manor for small boys replaced St. Mary's and St. Joseph's Orphanages. Wynhoven, in addition to many other assignments, also reorganized the social services and charities of the archdiocese by setting up (1924) Associated Catholic Charities. In 1922 Shaw convoked the sixth synod, the first in 33 years. In 1932 he launched the official diocesan paper, Catholic Action of the South, with Wynhoven 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 of the financial depression of the 1930s. Some archdiocesan 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 (1911) to Blenk, became administrator.
Rummel. Joseph Francis rummel (1876–1965) became the ninth Archbishop of New Orleans; he was born in Germany and immigrated to New York City with his parents in 1882. Rummel studied at seminaries in New Hampshire, New York and Rome, where he was ordained to the priesthood in 1902 and received his S.T.D. in 1903. He took an early interest in social problems, leading the relief work for Germans. In 1928 he was ordained Bishop of Omaha, Neb. On March 9, 1935, he was appointed Archbishop of New Orleans. Rummel guided the archdiocese during a period of rapid Catholic growth that saw the establishment of 48 new parishes and several schools.
The increasing participation of the laity in Church life became more evident during this period. The most tangible evidence of this participation was the growth and multiplication of many local units of national organizations such as the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (1935), the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (1936), the Catholic Youth Organization (1936), Christian Family Movement (1953), and Young Christian Workers (1954). The most striking example of the changing nature of Louisiana Catholicism during this period was the Eighth National Eucharistic Congress, held in New Orleans on October 17–20, 1938— the first National Eucharistic Congress to be held in the South.
With the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the U.S. became a nation at war. Louisiana Catholics again entered wholeheartedly into conflict. Archbishop Rummel immediately issued "A Nation at War," urging Catholic support for the war effort. Young men and women enlisted; the local work force reoriented itself to a wartime economy; while Catholic parishes, schools, and institutions participated in the many patriotic drives to support the war effort.
After the war, the archdiocese encouraged generous support for relief efforts, worked for a temporary extension of rent control, and established a local resettlement bureau to assist (and sometimes resettle) more than 33,000 displaced persons who entered the U.S. via New Orleans between 1949 and 1952.
The post-war years were a time of rapid demographic growth and change. In 1945, the Catholic population of the archdiocese was estimated at 385,000. By 1962, the number increased to 630,000. The G. I. bill provided many with an opportunity for a college education, a better job, and a new home. Whole sections of New Orleans and its surrounding areas witnessed rapid development as new home construction boomed. Undeveloped suburban land was rapidly transformed into populated neighborhoods.
In 1935, 43,411 children were being educated in 122 Catholic elementary, secondary, and special schools. There were two Catholic universities—Loyola and Xavier—in the archdiocese. By 1965, more than 92,600 students were attending 197 Catholic elementary and secondary schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the recently established Diocese of Baton Rouge. High school programs were rapidly expanding; teachers and principals were increasingly degreed and state certified; curricula were becoming more diversified as science and mathematics programs expanded; and the proportion of lay teachers grew steadily. The guiding force for much of this period was Msgr. Henry C. Bezou, who served as superintendent of archdiocesan schools from 1943 to 1968.
Rummel labored patiently for over a quarter century to create a community atmosphere conducive to full racial equality, to foster the growth of church organizations, facilities, and activities among African-American Catholics and, eventually, to achieve integration of Catholic parishes, schools, organizations, and institutions. In 1939, Xavier University in New Orleans began a Catholic Action School for African Americans. In 1951, the arch-diocese's first secondary school for young black males— St. Augustine High School—was established. Many national and local black leaders received their secondary education at St. Augustine.
The 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, marked the legal end to segregated public schools. Louisiana, like the other southern states, resisted desegregation. Legislative attempts to prohibit integration, even in Catholic schools, were eventually declared unconstitutional. Archbishop Rummel was the first Catholic bishop in the South to accept African-American students into his minor and major seminaries. On March 15, 1953, his pastoral letter, "Blessed are the Peacemakers," ordered the desegregation of all Catholic parish activities and organizations. He suspended all Catholic services at Jesuit Bend mission (1955–1958) after an African-American priest was prevented from celebrating Mass there. In his pastoral letter of Feb. 11, 1956, he declared racial segregation morally wrong and sinful. He was also influential in preparing and gaining support for the 1958 U.S. Catholic bishops' statement condemning racism. He believed, however, that the process of integration had to proceed slowly to be successful. Not all shared his patience.
Rummel encouraged local clergy to educate their parishioners in social justice issues and consistently supported their efforts to implement social programs. In 1940, the South's first Catholic Conference on Industrial Problems was held in New Orleans. Rummel vigorously supported the rights of the working class. He publicly opposed Louisiana's right to work laws and actively supported the efforts of Louisiana agricultural workers, particularly sugar cane workers, to organize in the 1950s. He supported the unsuccessful 1953 sugar cane workers' strike.
Rummel turned over administration of the Archdiocese of New Orleans to Archbishop John P. Cody on June 1, 1962. He passed away in New Orleans on Nov. 8,1964.
Cody. John Patrick cody (1907–1982), a native and priest of St. Louis, was ordained in Rome in 1931, ministered in the Vatican Secretariate of State and Archdiocese of St. Louis, and served as Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis, Coadjutor Bishop of St. Joseph, Mo., and Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph before his appointment as Coadjutor Archbishop of New Orleans on July 20, 1961. He was named apostolic administrator on June 1, 1962, and became archbishop on Nov. 8, 1964.
Cody oversaw the rapid expansion of parishes and schools; initiated an extensive building program, particularly for high schools; initiated new programs for the needy and handicapped; expanded programs for Catholic students in state universities and colleges; reorganized archdiocesan administration and finances; promoted greater lay participation through the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and Family Life Bureau; and encouraged closer relations with Protestant and Jewish communities through Operation Understanding. Twenty-five new parishes were established during his brief tenure.
On March 27, 1962, at Cody's insistence, the desegregation of all Catholic schools for the 1962–1963 school year was announced. As Msgr. Henry Bezou later recalled, Archbishop Cody "made it clear … that neither gradualism nor tokenism could remain the New Orleans policy." The desegregation order unleashed a storm of protest. The Catholic school in Buras was set on fire. A small, vocal group attacked archdiocesan officials in Citizen Council meetings, mimeographed sheets, newspaper advertisements, and press releases, and staged public demonstrations. Three protesters were eventually excommunicated, not for their outspoken opposition to integration, but for their public disobedience. One, Judge Leander Perez of Plaquemines parish, was later reconciled. Despite some student withdrawals, Catholic school enrollment steadily increased in the first three years of desegregation.
Cody also implemented the initial reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Changes in liturgical practices, parish administration, lay involvement, and social outreach were soon evident. He also established new archdiocesan offices to assist an increasingly complex ministry: the Vocation Office, the Family Life Office, the Cemeteries Office, and the Building Commission. In 1965, Cody was transferred to Chicago; he died in 1982.
Hannan. Philip Matthew Hannan (1913–), a native of Washington, D.C., was ordained a priest in 1939, became Auxiliary Bishop of Washington in 1956, and was named eleventh Archbishop of New Orleans on Sept. 29, 1965. In the same year, Harold R. Perry (1916–1991), a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and former provincial of the Society of the Divine Word, was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans, the first 20th-century African-American Catholic bishop.
During his episcopate, the archdiocesan social services programs grew at a tremendous rate. Christopher Homes, Inc. was established in 1966 to provide safe and affordable housing. Catholic Charities sponsored a massive refugee resettlement program for the Cubans and Vietnamese. In 1983, Second Harvesters was established to distribute food to the needy. By the late 1980s, the archdiocese was the largest single private provider of social services in Louisiana.
Parish expansion continued at a rapid rate. Thirty-one new parishes were established between 1966 and 1988: eight in New Orleans and 23 in the seven surrounding civil parishes. Eastern New Orleans, St. Tammany Parish, the west bank of Jefferson Parish, and St. Charles Parish were the centers of Catholic parish growth.
Existing archdiocesan offices were expanded and new offices such as the Office of Black Ministries and Latin American Apostolate were established. The new consultative process was evident in the establishment of an archdiocesan pastoral council, a priests' council, an elected archdiocesan school board, and several other major advisory boards. A series of town hall meetings led to an archdiocesan-wide RENEW program. The Eighth Archdiocesan Synod (1987), culminating seven years of consultation and review, promulgated a new set of policies, procedures and norms to reflect the new vision of the Church and to "renew the life of the People of God by setting forth regulations accommodated to the needs of the times."
The first archdiocesan formation program for permanent deacons began in 1972; the first class was ordained two years later. By 2001, there were 192 permanent deacons in the archdiocese. Permanent deacons minister in a variety of programs in parishes, prisons, hospitals, the Stella Maris Maritime Center, Ozanam Inn, and Project Lazarus (hospice for AIDS patients) among others.
In 1975, 80,000 attended the Holy Year Celebration in the newly built Superdome. In 1984, Vatican Pavilion was part of the Louisiana World Exposition held in New Orleans. On September 12–13, 1987, Pope John Paul II made his historic visit to the city.
Schulte. Francis Bible Schulte (1926–), a native of Philadelphia, was ordained priest in 1952, ordained Auxiliary Bishop in 1981, appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, in 1985, and elevated to the twelfth Archbishop of New Orleans on Feb. 14, 1989.
Almost immediately, Archbishop Schulte undertook a comprehensive study of archdiocesan schools. The study recommended the strengthening of the office of superintendent, the establishment of a strong middle-school program, the need to subsidize needy schools, higher and uniform teachers' salaries, uniform registration and activity fees, and the development of a marketing strategy for parochial schools. In 1991, the archdiocese's many ministries, apostolates, programs, and services were reorganized. Six departments—Clergy, Religious, Christian Formation, Community Services, Financial Services, and Pastoral Services—were created to direct and coordinate the ministries of archdiocesan offices and programs. In 1992, a new mission statement was promulgated, one that emphasized the multi-cultural composition of the archdiocesan family as well as the Church's commitment to proclaim and embody the Good News of Jesus Christ, to build a peaceful kingdom, and to be a servant to all regardless of social condition or religious affiliation.
The rapid expansion of archdiocesan parishes, schools, and social programs, the centralization and growth of administration, and the resultant growth of lay employees had placed new financial demands on the archdiocese. In 1989, the archdiocese had a $12 million external debt. In 1990, a finance council of local business leaders was established. Central accounting procedures were standardized. Departmental budgeting, reporting, and accountability were put in place. Regular internal audits of parishes and schools were initiated. A decade later, the archdiocese's external debt was eliminated, despite continued, though restrained, expansion.
In 1993, the archdiocesan bicentennial celebration included a special Mass; the publication of a volume of historical essays; an exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art; and a capital campaign to establish a $20 million endowment for Notre Dame Seminary, needy Catholic schools, and retired and infirm priests. The campaign surpassed its goal and was the most successful in archdiocesan history.
In 1996, the archdiocese began a five-year parish reevaluation and planning program called Catholic Life:2000. Each parish undertook a detailed, broad-based self-study, assessing its strengths and weaknesses in worship, word, service, and resources. These were reviewed and coordinated at a deanery and then an archdiocesan level. Catholic Life: 2000 was promulgated in 2001, charting the future of parish revitalization, transformation, and restructuring to better serve the Church and the wider community with available resources.
New Orleans has always been a cosmopolitan city; the archdiocese was no different. African Americans formed the core of the city's political leadership. More than a dozen Catholic parishes were predominantly African American. Hispanic membership was increasing in many parishes. The archdiocese's fastest growing immigrant community was the Vietnamese. In 1983, the first Vietnamese parish was established; in 1995, St. Agnes Le Thi Thanh Parish for Southeast Asians was founded in Marrero. In 2001, two national parishes and three missions served the vibrant and fast-growing Vietnamese Catholic community in the archdiocese. In 2001, Hanmaum Korean Catholic Church was opened in Metairie.
Bibliography: Archives, Archdiocese of New Orleans. r. baudier, The Catholic Church in Louisiana (New Orleans 1939; repr. 1972). t. becnel, Labor, Church, and the Sugar Establishment Louisiana 1887–1976 (Baton Rouge 1980). h. bezou, Metairie: A Tongue of Land to Pasture (Gretna, La. 1973). g. conrad, ed., Cross, Crozier and Crucible: A Volume Celebrating the Bicentennial of a Catholic Diocese in Louisiana (Lafayette, La. 1993). m. curley, Church and State in the Spanish Floridas (1783–1822) (Washington, D.C. 1940). a. kasteel, Francis Janssens, 1843–1897, A Dutch-American Prelate (Lafayette, La. 1992). d. labbÉ, Jim Crow Comes to Church: The Establishment of Segregated Catholic Parishes in South Louisiana (Lafayette, La. 1971). a. melville, Louis William DuBourg: Bishop of Louisiana and the Floridas, Bishop of Montauban, and Archbishop of Besançon, 1766–1833 (Chicago 1986). e. niehaus, The Irish in New Orleans, 1800–1860 (Baton Rouge 1965). c. nolan, A History of the Archdiocese of New Orleans (Strasbourg 2000). c. nolan, A Southern Catholic Heritage, v. 1, Colonial Period, 1704–1813 (New Orleans 1976). c. o'neill, Church and State in French Colonial Louisiana: Policy and Politics to 1732. (New Haven 1966). Sacramental Records of the Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, 1718–1825 (New Orleans 1987–2001), v. 1–7 ed. by e. woods and c. nolan; v. 8–16 by c. nolan and d. dupont.
[h. c. bezou/
c. e. nolan]