CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
CHURCH OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
now known as the
CATHEDRAL OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
To the noble men and women pioneers in planting the Church in this City and vicinity, to their children and grandchildren dead and living, who were to the end or are now true to the teaching of Holy Church, to the other faithful parishioners who have fought the good fight and have kept the faith and are now my joy and consolation, the following pages are cordially inscribed by the PASTOR.
THE CHURCH AND OTHER BUILDINGS OF THE IMMACULATE
Fifty years ago a handful of Catholics assembled in Starr's Hall at the request of the Rev. Father Moran and received from his own lips the blessed message that he had been appointed by the Ordinary of the Diocese, Pastor Of Camden, and of the country adjacent. On that day Camden ceased to be a mere mission and took its place in the family of parochial centers with a resident priest. The Pastor and most of those present on that historic occasion, have already passed away, but the Church Planted amid such humble surroundings took root, and like the mustard seed of the Gospel, has grown strong and spread its branches to new and then unheard of settlements. Many times during the past ten years, since his advent into Camden, has the present Rector looked in vain for some treasured record of those years, and of the noble men and women who were the principal actors. They live in their works, 'tis true, as the magnificent cluster of parish buildings testify, but, the memory of their sacrifices, their struggles, their zeal for God and Holy Church, is only an uncertain and vague tradition in the minds of the present generation and is likely to wholly disappear when the few sere actors left have passed into the tomb. To snatch the few threads of the story of those fifty years from the web of time and weave them into a new and whole garment is the purpose of these pages. Church Books, such as Baptismal, Marriage and Confirmation Records, Pew and Account Books, Receipts, Bills, Deeds, Mortgages and other legal Documents, in fact scraps of paper of almost every and any description have been looked into. The oldest inhabitants have been consulted and their version has been compared with other available records until the story has finally taken shape, though not as elegantly put together nor as accurately as the writer would wish, but it was the best he could do out of the material at hand. Feeling that gratitude is one of the most admirable of virtues and that none but the ignoble forget their beneficiaries, the writer indulges the fond hope that you will read with interest the struggles of those pioneers in the faith and retain in prayful remembrance, not only the name of the writer, when he shall have been summoned by the Master, but also of those, the many thousands, who were actors in planting and perpetuating the Church in this community.
of the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary, November 12, 1905
HIS HOLINESS, POPE PIUS X
VERY REV. DEAN B. J. MULLIGAN, RECTOR
CAMDEN, N. J.
VOL. V GOLDEN NUMBER No.9.
November 11, 1855 - November 11, 1905
Very Rev. Dean B. J. Mulligan, Rector
Rev. John A. Sullivan, First Assistant
On Sundays, 7.00, 8.00 A. M.; Children's Mass, 9.00 A. M.;
High Mass, 10.30 A. M.;
Holy Days, 5.30, 7.00 A. M.; High Mass, 9.00 A. M. Week Days, 6.30, 8.00 A. M.
Sunday Afternoon and Evening Services
Sunday School and Benediction , 2·30 P. M.
Baptisms 3.00 P. M.
Vespers, Benedictions and Sermon 7.30 P. M.
N . B.-The father of the child and two sponsors- a male and a female -who must be practical Catholics, should always accompany the child at Baptism.
The Sacrament of Penance
Is administered and Confessions heard every Saturday afternoon from 3.00 o'clock, and evening from 7.00 o'clock, and on the afternoons and evenings preceding all Holy Days.
Is given at every Mass on Sundays and Weekdays- but, to encourage regular monthly Communion, the following order, as near as possible, will be observed:
(a) On the first Sunday of the month the Rosary Society and all married ladies; '
(b) On the second Sunday, the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin and all young ladies not members of the Children of Mary.
(c) On the third Sunday, at 9.00 o'clock Mass the Children of Mary, the Angels and St. Aloysius Sodalities, and all children who have been admitted to First Holy Communion.
(d) On the fourth Sunday, all single and married men.
( e) On the first Friday of the month, the League of the Sacred Heart, for whom an additional Mass will be celebrated at S.30 A. M.
Except sudden or emergency cases, should be sent in early in the morning. The sick room should be provided with a table covered with a clean white cloth, two blessed wax candles, a crucifix, a vase with holy water, a tumbler of dean fresh water with teaspoon and finger napkins. When the sick person is being anointed or receiving the Holy Viaticum, all the members of the family should assemble, kneel down and unite with the Priest in the prayers for the sick one.
Meetings of Church Societies and Sodalities
Will take place after the low Masses on Sundays and Holy Days. Every woman requesting the blessing should bring a blessed wax candle to be lighted on the occasion, and she should present the same to the altar of the Blessed Virgin as a thanksgiving offering.
The Following Societies Meet in the Lyceum Building
Include that portion of the City of Camden North of and including Mt. Vernon Street, bounded on the West and North by the Delaware River, on the East by Cooper's Creek.
All Catholics, not Germans or Poles or Italians, living in that district, belong to the congregation of the Immaculate Conception and must be attended in their spiritual necessities by the Priests of that Church. A good Catholic will be found in his own Parish Church on Sundays, where he will hear the word of God from his own Priests, who are in duty bound to look after his spiritual welfare; bad, disobedient Catholics go wandering around like sheep without a shepherd from church to church, unknown and unknowable.
Those intending to enter into the State of Holy Matrimony, should give notice at least three weeks in advance, that the banns may be published, and that other preliminaries may be perfected. The Church requires marriages to be performed in the Parish of the bride and groom, but if they be of different parishes, the rule is to be married in the Parish of the bride, but then the groom must bring a letter testimonium libertatis from his own Pastor. Confession and communion should precede marriages, for to marry in mortal sin would be sacrilege. Mixed marriages between Catholics and persons of other faiths, or of no faith, in almost every case entail loss of faith in the Catholic party, and his or her offspring or beget religious indifference, and being, therefore, dangerous, are condemned by the Church, as well as by all prudent men of every denomination. It is a sacrilege for a Catholic to get married before a civil magistrate. Before a sectarian minister, he incurs the additional penalty of excommunication. All good Catholics celebrate their nuptials in the morning and at Mass, at which they receive Holy Communion.
Historical Sketch of the Parish of the Immaculate Conception.
On the square bounded by Broadway, Federal and Market streets, in the heart of Camden, stands the Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception, its Rectory, School and Lyceum Building. It has perhaps, a more numerous membership than any other church in Camden, and it is the largest Catholic congregation in the state south and west of Trenton. Fifty years ago, when the parish comprised the whole city, with the adjacent country around, the entire congregation could find ample room in a comparatively small hall. Ten Priests are now ministering- to the spiritual wants of the people, where the services of one alone were then deemed sufficient. Of the fifteen thousand souls in Camden in 1850 not more than three hundred were Catholic- most of them recent emigrants, poor, without influence, without church or church property of any kind. When the first Catholic came to the settlement and what his name was we do not know. On his journey across the ocean, in 1682, Col. Thomas Dongan, the younger son of a Catholic Baronet, a man of great wealth and influence, was accompanied by a Catholic Priest named the Rev. Thomas Harvey, who traveled extensively with Mr. Dongan through I New York and New Jersey, of which Mr. Dongan was then the Governor. They visited Philadelphia many times, stopping, no doubt, on the eastern banks of the Delaware, where Father Harvey administered the consolation of religion to the few of the fold found there. Whether Robert Turner and Archibald Mickle, two Irishmen who settled in the southern part of Camden (1690), were Catholics there is some reason to doubt, it is true: but it is certain many of their nationality, among whom were Catholics, found employment on their extensive estates. In the middle part of. the eighteenth century (1744) a celebrated Jesuit, Rev. Theo. Schneider, D. D., for some time president of a college in his native land, was companion to Father Harding, S. J., at Old St. Joseph's. Father Harding attended especially to the English-speaking Catholics in and around Philadelphia and Father Schneider more particularly to those who spoke the German language. He founded the missions of Haycock, Coshenhopen, in Pennsylvania, crossed the Delaware and traversed its whole length, from Cape May to its most northern tributary, whence he passed over to Greenwood Lake. Retracing his steps, he stopped at Bound Brook, at Burlington and at Gloucester, which then included Camden. Thence he journeyed south to Cohansey (Bridgeton) and Salem, generally winding up at the glass house, near Alloway, where he frequently celebrated Mass and baptized at the house of Mathew Geigers. It is interesting to know that the house still stands. Though very unpretentious in appearance, it served for many years as a chapel for the Catholics living in the neighborhood. Known as the doctor, whether in medicine or "theology it mattered not, it is certain his title saved him from many inconveniences and annoyances to which he would have been subjected had it been suspected he was a Catholic priest, for in New Jersey the Catholic was under the ban, and liberty of conscience was permitted to all except Catholics. The Baptismal Register at St. Joseph's bears testimony that he administered the Sacrament of Baptism to several children of our early settlers, whose offspring are still found among our fellow citizens, but in most cases are no longer Catholic. At his death (1765) he was followed by another Father of the Society of Jesus, the Rev. Ferdinand Steynimeyer, better known as "Father Farmer," who died 1786. For many years these indefatigable priests journeyed up and down through West Jersey and Pennsylvania bordering on the Delaware, seeking out and administering to the stray ones of their flock. "Father Farmer" paid frequent visits during the Revolutionary period to both the English and American troops stationed along the East bank of the Delaware from Salem to Burlington. In both armies there were many Catholics, among whom "Father Farmer," who was a true Chesterfieldian in manners, was always a welcome guest. It is also quite certain that Bishop Carroll, on one occasion at least, passed through Camden, which was then scarcely more than a settlement, but whether he or the priest who accompanied him officiated in any religious services we have no record. Father Harding, Pastor of St. Joseph's at this time, had charge especially of the English-speaking Catholics of Philadelphia and vicinity. Often crossing the Delaware, he administered the sacraments as the needs of the people required and the occasion permitted. It is interesting, though, by way of divergency, to note that the very land on which the parish buildings of the Immaculate Conception stand was the scene of a sharp skirmish between the American forces under "Mad" Anthony Wayne and the British troops. Being in need of provender for his horses, General Anthony Wayne led a company down the pike toward Haddonfield, but being discovered and pursued by the enemy, he retreated to the junction of the pike [Haddon Avenue- PMC] and Market street, where he took stand and gave battle, with the result that the British fled toward Haddonfield, and Anthony returned in triumph to his own camp near Cooper Ferry. The Church of the Immaculate Conception stands on the very spot occupied by General Anthony Wayne and his troops on that very interesting occasion..
After the death of "Father Farmer" the West Jersey missions were continued to be visited for several years by priests from St. Joseph 's, but on the organization of St. Augustin's, (July, 1796) they seem to have been transferred to the jurisdiction of the priests of that church. This arrangement obtained until the erection of the Cathedral parish, when the Gloucester district, which included Camden, was attended by priests of the Cathedral, an arrangement which continued until the division of the diocese in 1853.
In 1828, when Camden was incorporated and received its charter, the entire population was only 1143 souls. Kaighn Point, Cooper Point and Camden proper thus became one borough, capable of framing laws for its own domestic affairs. The old Academy, which stood just opposite the site now occupied by the Church of the Immaculate Conception, was used as a council chamber, City Hall and general utility building. Had the frequenters of that sacred spot suspected that on the opposite corner at no distant day was to be erected a Roman Catholic Church, they would have turned pale and would have framed ordinances to secure exemption from the presence of such an unwelcome neighbor, so intolerant were the times and so bitter was the opposition Ito everything Catholic by the natives, some of whom were the sons of Catholic parents, who had fallen away from the faith in early years by reason of the paucity of priests to look after their spiritual welfare.
In 1830 the tide of emigration set strongly Camdenward, drawn thither for the building of the Camden and Amboy Railroad, which was begun in that year. Many Catholics lately from Ireland were attracted, in the hope of remunerative employment, though as yet not in sufficient numbers to form a separate parish. Priests from the Cathedral continued to visit the settlement and administer to the people. Many on Sundays crossed the river and heard Mass at St. Joseph's or St. Augustin's.
In 1849 we find Father ·Waldron in charge of the Gloucester Mission, where he erected a small brick church, the cornerstone of which was laid by the celebrated Dr. Cahill, who was then in America on a lecturing tour. Owing to the bigotry of the times, in order to prevent the stone from being stolen, as two others had already been, it was not laid above, as usual, but ten feet under ground. To extract this one it was determined that the thief would have more difficulty. The same year we find Father Waldron engaged in superintending the construction of the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia, and Father Jeremiah Donahue in charge of the Gloucester and Camden missions, but his stay was short. So likewise was that of Father Rev. H. B. Finnegan, who succeeded him.
In 1851 Father Hannegan was appointed first resident pastor of Gloucester, with jurisdiction over Camden district and the adjacent country. Mass was celebrated in Camden every two or three weeks in a private house or in one of the public halls, notably Starr's Hall. During the whole of 1852 no public services were held, the "Hall in which Mass was wont to be celebrated having been burnt, the interruption being caused by Native American hostility," says Father Hannegan in a note appended to the Baptismal Record of that year.
On the reopening of the mission, in 1853, conditions had somewhat changed. The district was no longer under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Philadelphia, though Father Hannegan continued for some time yet to attend to the spiritual needs of the people. With the consent, and doubtless at the request of Bishop Neumann, of Philadelphia, and of Bishop Hughes, of New York, Eastern and Western Jerseys were united into one See, with Newark as the episcopal city, from which the new diocese took its name.
Before bidding farewell to the good Bishop of Philadelphia, who at the time of the separation had jurisdiction over West Jersey, a few lines in "The Messenger" to perpetuate his memory among his former spiritual children to whom he had so often administered the sacraments and fed them on the bread of life through the priests he sent them, seems to be eminently proper.
THE VENERABLE JOHN NEPOMUCENE NEUMANN
The future Bishop of Philadelphia was born on the 28th of March, 1811, in a village of Bohemia. From his earliest years he manifested a vocation to the priesthood, and in 1831 began his theological studies in the city of Prague. After completing his divinity course, but before receiving ordination, he came to America and was admitted into the diocese of New York by Bishop Dubois on June 3, 1836.
Shortly after his ordination he was given charge of a large district in the neighborhood of the city of Buffalo. His flock was extremely poor and widely scattered. There were no parochial residences and frequently the barest necessities of life were possessed by the young priest. He was obliged to undertake long journeys to visit his people and these journeys were usually made on foot-long, weary marches over country roads.
In 1840 he entered the Redemptorist Order, where his ability as Superior became known. He was chosen in 1852 to succeed the Right Rev. Francis Patrick Kendrick as Bishop of Philadelphia.
As Bishop he devoted, all his labors to procure the means of Christian education for the young, to obtain priests for the large territory under his charge and to increase the piety of the faithful. During the first five years of his episcopate he opened over fifty churches for divine worship.
The life of the saintly Bishop came to an abrupt termination on the 5th of January, 1860. On this day, although very unwell, going to an office to have some papers signed, he fell on his way home into a faint before the house, No. 1218 Vine street, and was assisted by a Mr. Quein, a non-catholic, who carried him into his house, where he gave up his soul into the hands of his Creator.
His was an example of a sudden but not unprovided death, for his holy life was one long preparation. His remains rest in the basement chapel of St. Peter's Church, Philadelphia.
The sanctity of Bishop Neumann led many to have recourse to him in prayer after his death, and many favors are attributed to his intercession. On the 17th of December, 1896, Leo XIII signed the commission, as it is called, which gave him the title of Venerable and permitted the cause of his beatification to be introduced.
REV. JAMES ROOSEVELT BAYLEY. D. D .
THE DIOCESE OF NEWARK
At the time of the erection of the diocese of Newark, in 1853, the Reverend James Roosevelt Bayley was a young man, an energetic and zealous priest. Selected by Archbishop Hughes as his secretary, he had opportunities of learning much about the administration of a diocese under the most extraordinary ecclesiastic of the age.
Though most gentle, charitable, and considerate of other needs, he was firm, without appearing so, when duty demanded; a gentleman of the highest culture and the most refined manners, without a spark of effeminacy in his whole makeup. Young Bayley was a marked man. You could not help feeling, though you met him accidentally and without introduction or former knowledge of the man, you were in the presence of a ruler of men. For some years he had filled the honored position of rector of a Protestant Episcopal Congregation in New York City, but Protestantism did not satisfy his ardent desire for the whole truth, and he sought relief in the Old Church that had Apostolic succession as Her claim to authority. Always honest and God-fearing in everything he undertook, he soon found the truth and without hesitation, though he must sacrifice friends, wealth and position, he embraced it. Archbishop Hughes made no mistake when he asked the Holy See to name the Rev. Dr. Bayley Bishop of the New Diocese of Newark. Camden claimed his early attention. Arrangement was made with Bishop Neumann to retain Father Hannegan for a time in the Gloucester parish, as there were very few priests in the New Diocese. At the first ordination held in the Diocese a young man, having finished his course at the seminary, presented himself and asked that apostolic hands be laid upon him, and that he be elevated to the dignity of Priesthood. This person was The Rev. James Moran, the first priest ordained by Bishop Bayley.
FATHER MORAN'S ADMINISTRATION.
Shortly after his elevation to the priesthood he was appointed to the new parish of Camden. "On the eleventh day of November, 1855," he says in a note in the Church Registry, "Camden was erected into an independent Parish, separated from Gloucester, to which it had been hitherto attached as a mission or station and placed under the pastorial charge of the Rev. James Moran," and he adds, "on the above date the reverend gentleman officiated for the first time in the city of Camden, and there announced to his sparse and meager congregation that they must henceforth (until otherwise ordained by the Bishop of the diocese) look to him for the ministration of those great and merciful gifts which Christ instituted for their sanctification."
Between Gloucester and Burlington there was not a single church, and only occasionally had the several settlements along the Delaware received a visit from a priest. Almost the whole of Camden County, therefore, fell under Father Moran's jurisdiction. The old City Hall, or Starr's Hall, had to serve yet for some time as a church. A small organ, the property of Miss Mary Cassidy, which for generations had been an heirloom in her family beyond the Atlantic, was brought into use on Sundays, thereby rendering the services more attractive and churchlike. Miss Cassidy, being an excellent musician and a finely educated lady, with her sister, Mrs. Jenks, undertook the task of organizing a choir, training the children to sing, playing the organ for Mass, and teaching the Sunday School. Another parishioner is especially worthy of mention, Mr. Henry M. Ennis, in whose house the priest frequently stopped and took his meals. In Mr. Ennis the Rector found a true and good man, a man ever ready to serve the church. For many years he acted as clerk of the Church, keeping the books and collecting the pew rent. It would only be just to mention the names of others, not so much to record any special deeds, but to perpetuate the memory of the little band of pioneers who had perhaps little of the world's goods, but whose faith was strong and who gave expression to it in the works of faith that live after them. Of the three or four hundred who assembled in Starr's Hall on Sundays to be present at Holy Mass, after diligent inquiry and frequent searching of the Church books, the following names appear as regular contributors. I may have, and no doubt did, miss some names that deserve mention, but the Recording Angel has a full list which will appear more bright when the Rolls are unfolded in the Valley of Josephat:
OF FIFTY YEARS AGO
William Walsh, George Carroll, Cornelius Coleman, Hugh Reilly, James Ollis, Thomas Campbell, Patrick Dougherty, John Markey, Dr. Thomas Frank Cullen, John Gillman, David Brown, Edward Fitzpatrick, John Fitzpatrick, Patrick Maher, William Hickey, James Miles, Michael Logan, John Gorman, Edward Carey, Michael Hagerty, Andy Smith, John Welsh, John McAdams, Niel McLoughlin, John Morrissey, John Fisher, Bernard Reilly, Albert Smith, Patrick Burke, John Reily, Martin Ryan, Lawrence Mathews, Matthew Lennon, Michael Reilly, Christopher Walsh, James Maloy, Edward Steward, William Britt, Michael Hurley, David Slavin, Matthew McVey, Hugh Greenan, Bernard McLoughlin, Anthony Enkhausen, John Bitner, Anthony Vall, M. Havercamp, Patrick Kennedy, William Donnelly, Patrick Boyle, William Convery, Steven Wallace, Thomas Winters, Francis Winters, Thomas Buttler, Edward Kelly, John Cleary, Henry Lee, Patrick O'Niel, James Stack, Sr., John McKenna, Christopher Connolly, Henry M. Innes, Martin Hambrose, William Duffy, Robert Keefe, Patrick Rogers, John Rogers, Richard Rourke, Edward Rourke, John Doyle, Patrick Gallagher, James McCluskey, Andrew Kean, John Carver, John McHugh, James Hennessy, Patrick Early, John Delaney, Arthur Taney, John Marlow, Sylvester Consodine, Michael Nugent, John Walsh, Michael Gillon, Michael Dodd, Walter Brannin, John Hanlon, John Meany, Martin Maloney, John Mellon, David Creevy, John Murtha, John Barry.
Thomas Boothman, John Campbell, John Hoey, John Farrell, James Farrell, Daniel Farrell, Patrick Heffernan, Thomas Curley, Henry Curley, Michael Byrne, Peter Cunningham, Michael Dalton, Thomas Stanton, Thomas Calanhan, Hugh Fitzpatrick, John Daily, John McLaughlin, John Maher, Michael Butler, Michael Fagan, Mary A. Cassady, Catharine Jenks, Owen Treacy, Miss Weymann, Christy Carey, John McKenna, John McCaffrey, Mary Gray, Mathew McVey, Miss (Shay) Curley, Michael McNally, John Hanley, William McCann, Peter Dalton, Alex. Sweeney, Patrick Walsh, Kiern Daily, Peter Quinn, James Conners, Christopher O'Neill, Henry Kelley, Patrick Noone, Patrick Maloy, Cornelius Evens, H. Klostermann, Andrew Snitzius, Owen Carroll, William Walsh, Joseph Field, Thomas McCarthy, Ann Clark, Thomas O'Brien, John Kempton, Hugh Brady, Thomas Millett, John Bakey, John Ryan, Michael McCooley, Thomas Logan, Martin Hickey, Bernard Reilly, John McCann, John Kelley, Thomas Conway, John Longworth, Peter Verga, Michael Shay, Frank O'Brien, Thomas B. Sweeney, Martin Ryan, John Gallagher, Patrick Mathews, John Kean, James McCooley, John Lyons, Patrick Devlin, Bernard Kelley, James Lee, John Slavin, John Cassidy, Mathew Hart, Patrick Dougherty, Felix Treacy, James Muldoon, Michael Conley, Owen McGuire, John Hurley, James McIlvane, Richard Sheehan, Patrick Fitzpatrick, Ellen Winn..
On the eighth of February, 1857, the new bishop paid his first official visit to Camden and administered the sacrament of Confirmation to forty-five candidates, thirty-two being males and thirteen females, several of whom are still living, but whose hair has become bleached by the additional frosts of forty-eight Winters. The first land the Catholics could call their own was purchased from VV. D. Cooper, Esq., at Fifth Street and Taylor Avenue on the 23rd day of June of the same year. It was only a part of the property needed, but sufficient for the beginning of operations. Ground was broken for a new Church on June 9th, 1859, and, in just four months, the brick building at Fifth Street and Taylor Avenue was erected and open for divine worship October 9th, 1859, when it was blessed by the pastor, and Mass was offered in it for the first time. On the 5th of November the same year the chapel was solemnly dedicated by Bishop Bayley, who on that day paid his second official visit to Camden. Twenty-seven candidates, seven men, ten boys and ten girls, received Confirmation at the hands of the Bishop, thus making the occasion doubly memorable. A parochial house being a necessity, additional land was secured, and on the 22d of June, 1861, its erection was begun. On the 2d of September it was ready for occupancy when the pastor took possession. The church, though built but two years, was found too small for the. rapidly increasing congregation, and to meet the needs a gallery was erected. The building thus completed served as a chapel for several years until the opening of the new Church, Broadway and Market Street, when the old one was sold and is now occupied by Post 5, G. A. R.
The Rev. James Moran remained as pastor until September 1863, eight years, when he resigned and became affiliated with the diocese of Brooklyn, where he continued in the work of ministry until last year, 1904, when he was called by the Master, to, we hope and pray, a better Home. When he came to Camden a young priest in 1855, shortly after his ordination, he found no church, no rectory, no school. The people had been obliged to hear Mass in a public hall, and a priest came only at irregular intervals. The modest church and rectory seem mean compared with the grand edifice of the present day, but we must remember the number of Catholics then in the city was small. The undertaking was deemed amply sufficient for the people and they were more than satisfied. The new Church was a vast improvement over the old hall, besides it was their own and it was the House of God, where regular services could be held and where our Lord would remain in the tabernacle for the sanctification of souls. The Rev. Father Moran was pastor from November, 1855, to September, 1863. We hoped to present a photogravure of the reverend gentleman in this number of the [Parish] Messenger, but the substance had departed before the shadow had been taken and a memory sketch of the first pastor of Camden alone remains to his former parishioners. perhaps some friend may have been more successful elsewhere and will favor us with a copy, which we will be glad to reproduce.
May his soul rest in peace.
REV. PATRICK BYRNE,
FATHER BYRNE'S ADMINISTRATION.
When Father Byrne, who succeeded Father Moran, came to Camden to take charge of the Parish of the Immaculate Conception, June, 1863, the Church at Fifth Street and Taylor Avenue was deemed amply large for the congregation. In addition there were chapels at Snow Hill, Fellowship and Waterford, with small and much scattered congregations, which were attended at intervals by the pastor of Camden. As there was no Catholic Cemetery nearer than Gloucester or Philadelphia, and to provide one seemed
to be a special necessity, to this question therefore did the young pastor give his first attention. At the junction of Westfield Turnpike and Federal Street, just two miles east of the Market Street Ferry, he found a plot of ground containing 8-97/100 acres [8.97 acres -PMC] which he secured for $3,588.00 from William B. Cooper, Esq., a part of which was laid out in plots and consecrated with the prayers of the Church, and, there for forty years, the Catholics of Camden and vicinity have laid to rest the bodies of departed relatives and friends. God and His angels alone know how many lie beneath that consecrated soil, but since a generation and a quarter have sped, the number must be well up in the thousands. The memories of most of them are already blotted out of the present generation, but they live in their works and the magnificent buildings of the Immaculate Conception Parish are standing monuments of their labors and sacrifices. The more I enter into the early history of Catholicity in Camden the more do I find to admire in the first settlers for their sacrifices amid difficulties and trials that sprung, not from their poverty alone, but from a social ostracism, because of their faith and of the country from which most of them came. In the early fifties to insult a Catholic on the public street was not considered by bigots-and there were many of them an unmanly act, and when in 1852 the hall in which Mass had been offered up was burnt by the Native American Party, the act received a scant condemnation from many. In the sixties the conditions had somewhat improved, owing, no doubt, to the better understanding of Catholics and of the influence of their religion on public morals. This was brought about in a great measure by the Giant at the helm, and when it was evident to him that the quarters at Fifth Street and Taylor Avenue were too contracted for the future needs of Camden, he found the Coopers willing to sell him lots at another location. On June, 1864, just one year after his advent into the Parish, he purchased from Abigail Cooper a plot of ground 100 feet on Broadway by 180 feet on Market Street, the price being $7,200. The venture was a pretty bold one and many of the knowing ones shook. their heads, but when the announcement came that every man in the Parish should, on a certain day, bring his pick and shovel and give a hand at the excavation for a new Church at Broadway and Market Street, there were so many willing to respond that the weaker and would-be wiser element either joined the workers or hid in the seclusion of their homes.
CORNER STONE OF NEW CHURCH LAID.
Bishop Bayley visited the Parish October 2, 1864, intending. no doubt, to lay the corner stone of the new Church, but work had not progressed sufficiently and the ceremony was postponed until Sunday, October 23, of the same year, when Dr. McQuaide, Vicar General of the Diocese, now Bishop of Rochester, performed the ceremony in lieu of Bishop Bayley, who had engagements elsewhere.
Plans had been prepared by Mr. Jeremiah O'Rourke, architect of Newark, for a stone church, 60 x 140 feet, with sanctuary of 25 feet added to length. Considering the times (the last year of the Civil War), when material and labor were high, the building contemplated could not have cost under fifty thousand dollars. Connoisseurs tell us it is the finest specimen of Gothic architecture in the United States, and Mr. O'Rourke does not deny that it is the best church. The church, though not yet completed, was opened for divine worship July 1866, a year and nine months after the laying of the corner stone.
The parish was growing, the pastor was a busy man; he needed an assistant and the Bishop, in August 1866, sent him a young priest lately ordained, viz: Rev. P. Cody, a gentleman who of his zeal and eloquence did much during his short stay at Camden to lighten the burden of the pastor.
Father Cody having been transferred to another charge, the Rev. P. L. Connolly, then a young man, was appointed to assist Father Byrne at Camden. He remained about one year. During the temporary absence of Father Byrne, who had been sent by Bishop Bayley to straighten out matters at Dover, the Rev. Father Peter Fitzsimmons lately received in the Diocese, came for a few weeks to assist Father Connolly at Camden, who shortly after was appointed to Perth Amboy. It was about this time the Church was plastered, other necessary improvements made and the parish house erected. The Rev. Father Hogan, now of the Sacred Heart, Trenton, came in January 1871, having temporary charge during Father Byrne's absence in Ireland, remaining until March, 1871, when he was appointed pastor at Mt. Holly, then separated from Burlington, and erected into a new parish, with an auxiliary mission at Moorestown, where a Church had been built by Father Byrne after the destruction by fire of the Chapel at Fellowship. While the Camden parish was being contracted in territory, it was increasing in numbers, and Father Byrne felt the needs of a mission for South Camden.
Lots were secured at Van Hook and Eighth streets, where was erected a small wooden structure, which was dedicated in 1872 by the Rev. Father McNulty, of Paterson, assisted by the Rev. Patrick F. Connolly, who, the October preceding, had been appointed Assistant at Camden. This was the beginning of the Sacred Heart congregation, though not erected into a separate parish until several years after.
In September 1885, the Rt. Rev. Michael Joseph O'Farrell, then Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, perceiving the disadvantages and hardships under which the scattered Catholics in the southern section of the City labored, decided to establish a new parish to supply their spiritual needs. Land was secured at Ferry Avenue and Jasper Street, and the new parish was incorporated October 13, under the title of "The Church of the Sacred Heart," with the Rev. William Lynch, as Pastor, July 5, 1886, the corner stone of the new Church was laid by Bishop O'Farrell in the presence of about seven thousand people. It was dedicated by the Bishop, March 7, 1887. In 1888, Father Lynch was succeeded by Rev. Maurice E. Bric, who took up the burden of the parish with a debt fully $40,000. By prudent management and persevering labors a portiol1 of the burden was lifted year by year, until today it is well within the range of the safety lines, with very bright prospects for the future. In a few years it promises to be the largest parish in the City, so rapid has been the growth of Camden in that direction. Its Mother wishes it every success.
A considerable number of the Catholics of Camden in 1867 being of German' extraction, though attending Mass at the Immaculate Conception, greatly desired to have a church in which they would hear the language of their mother tongue spoken on Sundays. Accordingly a property was secured at Fourth and Division Streets for $4,000, the transfer being from the Second Baptist Church of Camden to the German Roman Catholic Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, May 3, 1867. This was the beginning of the German Catholic congregation of Camden. Being now a separate and distinct parish. its subsequent history will form a separate chapter in the History of Catholicity in Camden and will no doubt be fully recorded by. the future historian. In the meantime the pastor of the Immaculate Conception was not idle. On November 1, 1867, an additional piece of land was purchased, completing the Church lot to Seventh Street, with an extra twenty feet on Broadway back to Seventh Street, thus making the tract 120 feet by 243 feet-the price was $3,000. The lot was growing and so was the parish, but the pastor kept pace with both. The balance of the square, 227 feet on Broadway by 260 feet on Federal Street was adjoining and unoccupied and could be had for $15,000. The sum was a large one to a parish already carrying a heavy debt, but Father Byrne was a man that had faith in the people and the future of Camden. On March I, 1869, the deed was signed by Esther L. Cooper, by which the parish secured the entire square bounded by Broadway, Federal, Seventh and Market Streets. The old Church property at Fifth Street and Taylor Avenue, on August 20, 1868, was sold to Mr. Samuel Croft for $7,600. While the price realized was a very material help to the parochial exchequer, the loss of the old Church opened up the necessity for another school building and a rectory. A house for school purposes was provided on Federal Street near Seventh, and the pastor fitted up the vestry of the new Church for a rectory.
Father Byrne, September, 1873, was called to another and then deemed more important charge, St. John's, Trenton. His ten years in Camden wrought a complete change in the Parish Buildings, in the morality, the sobriety and the business capacity of his flock. To make men sober he organized a Temperance Society, which in numbers and in devotion to their pledge was second to none in the land; but, to hold men in organized sobriety they must be kept busy and they, must be given some safe investment for their surplus earnings. Few of them owned homes, and it required confidence and organization to start and keep them on the road to financial betterment. No one doubted the Pastor's qualifications, and when he proposed to them the advisability of organizing a Building and Loan Society he was met with a generous response. Both organizations have weathered the vicissitudes of a third of a century, and to these under God must be attributed the fact that most of the Catholic families in Camden have their own homes. Will their children continue their interest in religion, in sobriety, in spiritual and material advancement? God alone knows. Is it a wonder that Father Byrne's name is held in benediction by the Catholics of Camden? From defect in data, not half the story of his labors is told, but the Angel of the Parish has them minutely recorded in the Book of Life, and at the last day they will outweigh whatever may have been defective in human frailty.
MOST REV. MICHAEL AUGUSTINE CORRIGAN. D. D.
MOST REV. MICHAEL AUGUSTINE CORRIGAN, D. D.
When the news was rushed across the ocean that Bishop Bayley had been promoted by the Holy See to the Archbishopric of Baltimore the question immediately arose among clergy and people who would be his successor in the See of Newark.
Rev. Dr. Corrigan, as he was universally called, was the President of Seton Hall College and Vicar General of the Diocese. All eyes turned to him. His learning, his prudence and successful administration of the college and seminary especially commended him to Bishop Bayley as the most suitable ecclesiastic in the diocese for his successor. The Bishops of the Province and the Holy See approved of the choice, and the Very Rev. M. A. Corrigan, D. D., was promoted to the Episcopacy and made successor of Archbishop Bayley in the See of Newark. Dr. Corrigan was then tl1e youngest Bishop in the United States, with a single exception in the whole world. The wisdom of the choice, though criticized by many, appeared as the years rolled on. In addition to his duties at the college he threw himself into the work of administering the affairs of the diocese and of building up its institutions. Every corner of the diocese was looked into, every parish visited. When order and good management were manifested he blessed and encouraged the work; where the opposite was apparent, he gently reproved, and if necessary he wielded the Pastoral Staff with the firmness of a St. Charles Borromeo. Being the most gentle of men, where duty demanded, he could be as unyielding as the rock, but his firmness never partook of overbearance. He commanded the respect of all classes, because in his life and conduct towards men he was the model of the true Christian gentleman, an ecclesiastic without reproach, and an example of every priestly virtue. Before departing for his new field of labors he secured the approval of the Holy See for the division of the diocese of Newark into that of Newark and Trenton. The six counties to the Northeast of the State being allotted to Newark, the fourteen to the West and South to Trenton. The populous diocese of Newark was given to Dr. Wigger, of Madison, N. J.; the large, sparse diocese of Trenton to Father O'Farrell, of St. Peter's, New York.
RT. REV. M. J.
O'FARRELL, D. D.
Though brought up in community life, being employed as a professor at a seminary, where he had little contact with the busy world, he proved himself; however, when entrusted with the episcopate office possessed of the true missionary spirit. He was one of the most hard working, most successful as he was perhaps the most learned Bishop of the Catholic Church in the United States. To labor in season and out of season with genuine apostolic zeal seemed to be his motto. Every city, every town, every hamlet felt his touch. In the pulpit he was another Chrysostom, in council with his priests a veritable St. Thomas, in the school with the children another venerable De La Salle, among his people an apostle as gentle as the Beloved DISCIPLE. During his administration an almost new diocese sprang up, his zeal being manifest in the smallest hamlet as in the great and important center of population. After serving God in the diocese for thirteen years he was called to his reward. His body rests in a crypt prepared for it at St. Michael’s Orphan Asylum, where he seems still to say, "Suffer little children to come unto me." A young priest who had his confidence for many years, having been his secretary, Chancellor, Vicar General, was selected by Archbishop Corrigan for administrator of the diocese ad interim. The Bishops of the Province confirmed the choice by naming him to the Holy See for successor of Bishop O’Farrell. The choice was confirmed, and Father McFaul was promoted to the bishopric of Trenton.
REV. JAMES A. McFAUL, D. D., L. L. D.
RT. REV. JAMES A. McFAUL, D. D.
The Rt. Rev. James A. McFaul, D. D., was then in the forty-fourth year of his age, in the fourteenth of his priesthood. Then yet a youth he came with his parents from Ireland to New Jersey and settled near Bound Brook. Believing himself called to the priesthood he went first to St. Vincent's College then to St. Francis Xavier, New York, and finally to Seton Hall, where he was ordained in 1877 by Bishop Corrigan. Assistant successively at St. Patrick's, Jersey City; the Cathedral, Newark; the Cathedral, Trenton; pastor at Long Branch, later at St. Mary's, Trenton, he became a marked man. Always in close touch with current events he is notably aggressive in his ideas while conservative as a churchman. The management of his diocese has been marked by ability, every improvement feeling the touch of his zeal and his businesslike methods. In many respects the diocese is the most peculiar in the country, having thousands flock to it for a few months of the Summer, and then for seven or eight months all is again hushed almost to the whisper of death. Though favorable to demoralization we have a noble and exemplary priesthood united with the Bishop in advancing the spiritual and material prosperity of the Church. That this condition may long continue is the prayer of us all.
The founders of the Parish of the Immaculate Conception, though poor, proved in a practical way their interest in Christian education, even before they had a church of their own in which they might worship. In 1859, when it became known that a Miss Sarah Fields proposed to open a school where Catholic children would be taught without insult to their faith and the nation whence most of their parents came, she was received with every expression of approval by Priest and people. They could not forget the insane bigotry of the Native American Party in the early fifties, when for nearly two years Catholics could not find a public hall in which to hold divine service, nor could they be indifferent to the taunts to which they and their children were subjected at the common school. Miss Fields opened a school in her own residence, at Fifth and Arch. It was a private venture, but it served every purpose, until the new church at Fifth Street and Taylor Avenue was erected, where more ample room on the second floor was provided and fitted up for school use. Thence she removed her pupils and opened the first parochial school in Camden, 1862. She had for a successor a Mr. Britt, dubbed by the boys "Red Andy," because he had red hair. He had only one arm, but the class of youths he taught in those days required, in order to tame their animal spirits, a man with two arms and other intellectual and warlike appendages fully developed. It was scarcely necessary to state that "Andy" longed for other fields more inviting, and after a year and a half he shook the soil of Camden from his virtuous feet and hied himself elsewhere. He was succeeded by Miss Sarah Shortley. The school acknowledged her ability, for she was not only a good disciplinarian, but an excellent teacher. Miss Shortley was assisted by a Miss Ennis, a child of the Parish. Her stay, however, was short. She was succeeded by Miss Mary Cornell and Miss Mary McCartney. It was during their incumbency the classes were divided; Miss McCartney taking charge of the boys, Miss Cornell of the girls. In addition to her school duties, Miss McCartney taught the choir, played the organ and sang in the church, but interpreting the Scriptural injunction, "leave father and mother and cleave to thy wife," to refer also to the woman, she entered into the holy state of matrimony with a Mr. Griffin, and bade farewell to her school in Camden for a home of connubial happiness, with a future residence in Philadelphia. Cornelius Mulaney, shortly after the departure of Miss McCartney, was engaged and remained about a year. He did not deny he had a hard lot of boys to deal with, but with the frequent use of a bit of locust twig and a generous application of hickory oil rubbed in by a strong arm, he kept the school in a fairly healthy condition. It was during his incumbency the school was removed, 1868, to Federal Street above Seventh Street. This became necessary, as the church building at Fifth Street and Taylor Avenue was sold, August 20, 1868, to Mr. Samuel Croft, who needed it for manufacturing purposes. The new church at Broadway and Market Street was already erected, and to have the school near, a house was secured on Federal Street, in which the school was reopened. The educational facilities, it is true, were very limited, and only a small number of children attended, in fact, many could not be accommodated. Patrick O'Neill was the first teacher in the Federal Street school; he was succeeded in 1872 by a Miss Ellen Byrne, of Chicago, who came east after the great fire that destroyed a large portion of that city, but as the air of Camden was not congenial she soon left, to be succeeded by Miss Fagan.
A SCHOOL BUILDING
Suitable to the needs of the growing parish became a necessity if Christian education and all it means to the preservation of faith in a Catholic community was to obtain. No one more than Father Byrne felt the want to his people. It was sufficient for him to know of the need-it must be remedied. The school at Seventh Street was inadequate. The debt, it is true, for the times was heavy, and the people were not enthusiastic. The new church had recently been erected, and the appeals for funds to carryon the work had been frequent and urgent, but Father Byrne was not it man to quail before difficulties. Trusting in Divine Providence to raise the funds for the came, in 1871 the brick school building, Broadway near Market Street, was begun. The work progressed as far as the first tier of beams, but as the financial panic of 1872-3 was approaching, prudent counsel prevailed and the work was discontinued and was not resumed until the advent of his successor. Business began to pick up during the Fall and Winter of 1873, and Father Fitzsimmons, the new Rector, felt he could safely go on with the building. A new permit for a brick school building, 100 x 40, with 40 feet additional for a Sisters' house, was issued April 14th, 1874; the estimated cost being forty thousand dollars- this in addition to a debt of a nearly equal sum already on the Parish was an undertaking that needed a man of energy and strong faith, for it evidently meant hard labor, with much anxiety, for many years, but Camden was a growing city, and a Parochial School was a necessity, if the faith of their fathers was to be perpetuated in the minds and hearts of the children. The work was carried on through the whole Summer and Fall, and the building was ready for occupancy in the following Spring (1875).
SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH
The Sisters of St. Joseph from Chestnut Hill had been invited to Camden to take charge of the school September, 1874. Three Sisters were assigned to teach in the Parochial School.
The Seventh Street School building, having been found inadequate, and the old church at Taylor Avenue and Fifth Street, where the school had been previously held, having been sold, August 20, 1868, to a Mr. Croft, the new church was used for a few months on week days for school purposes.
The Sacristy was converted into an Academy or High School, under one Sister. This department was added at the urgent request of many parents who had been sending their children out of the city to select schools in Philadelphia or elsewhere. After the vacation (September, 1875), when school was again opened, the new brick building was found ready for occupancy, and both the Parochial School and the Academic Department were transferred to that building. The transformation from the one-room school taught by Miss Field in 1859, with perhaps twenty pupils, to the grand imposing brick building on Broadway, with 250 children in attendance in 1875, was so great an event to the Catholic community of Camden, that we at this distant day can scarcely realize its importance or fully comprehend the many sacrifices of priest and people that led up to its realization. From the beginning St. Mary's Parochial School of Camden took its place among the best equipped, the most efficient and the highest from point of merit in the whole Diocese, and that standard it has invariably maintained since. It is unnecessary to say the Sisters of St. Joseph became· extremely popular with children and people, so that their new work in other departments of Parish life to which they had been assigned by the Pastor was equally successful. In the meantime the Diocese of Newark, which then embraced the entire State of New Jersey, was divided, and the Southern and Western Counties were erected into the new See of Trenton. A new order of things began to obtain, and the Sisters of St. Joseph were recalled to their Mother House (1885), much to the regret of the entire Catholic population of the city. Their eleven years in Camden had been fruitful in good results. Not only the children taught by them, but the young ladies they trained in the Sodalities often speak of them with evidences of the most kindly and affectionate feelings of appreciation of their labors, but the school, like the church, depends not on the efforts of particular individuals. Camden's loss, 'tis true, was felt for a time, but the good God always raises up others to continue His work, and the mission of the school went steadily on, training the rising generation in correct principles of science, of faith and morality, thus fitting them to be good citizens as well as good Christians. Wishing to make the school still more efficient for good, the Pastor (September, 1881) called in the Brothers of the Holy Cross.
BROTHERS OF THE HOLY CROSS
The Brothers of the Holy Cross, whose Mother House is at Notre Dame, Indiana, and entrusted to them a special department in the school for boys, leaving to the Sisters the control of the girls. Rooms in St. Mary's School Building were set apart for the Brothers, where for eleven years (until 1892) they devoted all their energies to the work assigned them. It is pleasant to hear the young men who were pupils under Brother Urban, Brother Justine and Brother Benjamin tell of the pranks they played on their fellow pupils, or on the Brothers. The manly art, too, was not slighted, and some of our present prominent business men and city officials, often went home from Berkley Hill contests with the Irish boys of St. Mary's with soiled garments and bloody noses. It was a standing tradition among the boys of St. Mary's never to be found alone or unprepared when nearing Sixth and Berkley. What Sandy Row is to Belfast, Berkley Hill was in those days to the Catholic boys of Camden, and the epithets were as vile, and the battles, though not so bloody, were as earnest on both sides. All are men now, and no doubt they have often met and laughed over their bouts between the orange and the green.
For a time the Brothers lived in rented quarters on Seventh Street, but this was a makeshift which lasted only a year.
On the first of November, 1881, a contract was entered into with Charles Johnson, builder, for the erection of a brick house, 52 x 18 ft., on Seventh Street near Federal, to be occupied by the Brothers for living apartments. The work was hastened and the building made ready for occupancy by the 1st of May (1882) following.
SISTERS OF MERCY
The Diocese of Trenton, lately separated from that of Newark, had few schools, few Sisters, who, for the most part, were borrowed from other dioceses and who might, at any time, be recalled to their Mother House, even against the will of the Bishop or of the pastor in whose school they taught. The Sisters of Mercy, having been affiliated with the diocese and having a Mother Home at Bordentown, were an exception. Already Fathers Moran, of Princeton, and Kelley, of South Amboy, had opened schools and invited the Sisters of Mercy from Bordentown to take charge. Other pastors followed in the same line, and whenever the demand could be supplied the Sisters of Mercy were invariably chosen. Father Fitzsimmons, feeling it to be for the interest of the diocese that its institution should be supported- after the withdrawal of the Sisters of St. Joseph- made application for teachers to Bordentown, and, on the opening of the school, after the vacation of 1885, six Sisters of Mercy came to take charge of the girls' department of St. Mary's. For some years yet it was deemed prudent to entrust to the Brothers the management of the larger boys, who at that time were noted for their warlike propensities, and who still needed the strong arm of a man, fortified with a good rattan, to tame their animal nature. Those were strenuous days. No steam was needed for heating the school or to keep the fighting blood of the young Sarsfields warm, as the circulation was always at fever heat. But in a few years American climatic conditions wrought a change, and the boys, becoming less warlike, it was deemed advisable to rearrange the grades and to entrust to the Sisters the charge of the entire school. The Brothers having done their work, returned to Notre Dame, Indiana, to be sent on other and more needed missions. By absorbing the Academy with the Parochial School the standard of studies was raised, and, by uniting two or more similar grades into one class where lessons were the same, the work of the school was simplified and the efficiency of the teachers' labors increased. The school was regraded, being divided into one sub-primary, two primary, two secondary and two grammar grades. It was the ambition of Father Fitzsimmons to make his school the peer of any in the city or State, and the good Sisters seconded his efforts by throwing their whole soul into the work. Unless appreciation for apostolic work has fled from human breasts and gratitude is no longer a virtue, the congregation of the Immaculate Conception must necessarily hold in blessed memory the name of Dean Fitzsimmons for the almost superhuman work he accomplished in their midst. Monuments of his zeal and labors, 'tis true, tower above his dust and look down silent though eloquent witnesses of the greatness of the man and the priest. Buried in the ground within the touch of all he loved so well, the result of his zeal will endure. Death summoned him hence, and he rested from his labors August 31, 1895.
When the new Pastor, Father Mulligan, came to take charge of the parish, October 23, 1895, his first parochial visit was to the school. He expressed himself much pleased with the reception given him by teachers and children, and then and there promised he would make the school his special care. "If," said he, "there are more Catholic children of school age in the parish, he wanted them brought in, and if there were not enough rooms, more would be opened and more teachers provided." The boys were appointed policemen and the girls an aid society, who would look up all the truants. The pulpit, too, played its part, and Sunday after Sunday the necessity and benefits of a Christian education were proclaimed with no uncertain sound. But the Camden Catholics are practical people; they seemed to be waiting for results. It was hard to draw them away from the gilded halls of public education, as many had got into their heads the erroneous idea that the Parochial School was only teaching prayers and Catechism, which might be attended to at home or in the church. The sentiment was against the Parochial School. The new Pastor understood the feeling, and while he did not deny the high standard of the public schools, he knew their own was equally as good and in some respects better. To prove this, and especially to interest the people in the education of their children and to make them co-operators in the work of the teachers he directed the teachers to have, at the end of the school year, in the Lyceum Building, a free exhibit of school work. Each child, small as well as large, must prepare a specimen of its own class work. From the primer grade to the graduating class every child had a sample on exhibit. It was a revelation to parents and people in general. The carping ceased. Year after year the exhibit is looked forward to; year after year the classes have advanced and presented a finer exhibit for the admiring gaze of the public. Merit had ferreted its way into the avenues of public approval, and the school began to grow in numbers; new rooms had to be opened, new teachers engaged; even the old hall had to be utilized, and from seven rooms with 385 children in 1895 we find fourteen rooms with 1000 children in 1905. The school had to be continually regraded. The disadvantage of having separate rooms for boys and girls of the same grade was evident, as it necessitated a duplication of school work and a multiplication of grades in every room. Boys and girls having the same lessons were, therefore, arranged in the same class under one teacher, and as much as possible a single grade was fixed for a room. It required several years for the process to accomplish the end in view-- one grade in each and every room- but time and perseverance, aided by willing and intelligent teachers, have worked out the problem, and to-day there is no repetition of lessons in any of the rooms of St. Mary's School. The advantages to pupil and teacher are very great, in that it does away with the double work of the teacher and saves the child from continuous distraction, a necessity where there are more grades than one in a room.
One more theme which must interest the friends of the school, especially parents to whom God has given large families and whose wealth in the early years of married life is thereby somewhat retarded- there is no expense to the children for books. These are furnished from the general revenue of the Parish, and are given absolutely free to each child, whether its parents be rich or poor. No growl has ever gone up from the congregation, though not a cent has been contributed from the city or State. At the rate of cost to educate a child in the public schools the Catholics of the Immaculate Conception Parish are saving to the community fully twenty thousand dollars yearly, not to speak of the additional cost of buildings that would be required to house the one thousand children of St. Mary's School. This is paying for an adherence to faith, but it is withal a sad commentary on the justice and fairness of the body politic and little to the credit of our national intelligence, that no plan will or can be devised to relieve from millions of people a burden they must continue to bear for conscience's sake, while religion and God are excluded from the halls of public instruction. Even England, which is far behind us in material prosperity, has found a way to encourage public education without depriving the child of the advantages of Christian training. The seeds of infidelity sown in the schools of the United States are already bearing fruit in the diminished attendance at public worship.
A word of alarm has already arisen, even from pulpits that long fostered in the schools a separation of secular and Christian education, but as yet it is a half-hearted movement. But the day of wakening will come. Will it be, alas! when we are a nation of infidels and our Christian temples are deserted on the Sabbath, and the paganism of wealth is the only worship of the land? Principles work out their destiny in time; the only difference between the United States and other nations is that here movements are more rapid, as education for good or evil is more universal. Will the Parochial Schools fall in the onrush? An over-ruling Providence alone can save them, but there is one thing certain, while they exist and the Church is their preceptor, infidelity will not have entirely gained the upper hand and the State as well as Society will find its strongest defenders in the men and women brought up in the Parochial School- for the Parochial School, like the Church, teaches obedience to rulers as a duty of conscience.
ST. MARY'S SCHOOL
St. Mary's School. since it has been entrusted to the teaching orders of Sisters and Brothers, has had the following school principals:
Sisters of St. Joseph.-Mother M. Xavier, Sister M. Ludovica.
of the Holy Cross.-Brother Urban, Brother Justin, Brother Hillery,
of Mercy -Mother Joseph, Sister M. Genevieve, Mother M. Gabriel,
The following are the graduates, beginning with 1887, shortly after the school had been regraded and special studies had been required as a condition of graduation:
1887- Grace Gallagher.
1888- Annie Walsh (Mrs. Richard Conners), Frances McLaughlin (Sr. M. de Secour).
1889- Nellie McBride (Sr. M. Henrietta).
1891- Agnes Dougherty (Mrs. Daniel Hassett), Alice Wagner (Mrs. Alice Plant), Elizabeth Callinan (Sr. M. Cephas).
1893-Blanche Lowenstein (Sr. M. Immaculata).
1895-Jane O'Hanlon, Mary Long, Patrick Harding.
1896.-Teresa Hartnett (Sr. M. Bernardine), Alice Manning.
1897.-Margaret Mullin, Cecelia Callinan.
1898.-Catharine Lorigan, Ella Fitzgerald, Agnes Powell, Winifred Burke, James Mullane, Edward Clare.
1899- Elizabeth Duval, Raymond Long.
1900- Anna Lorigan, Bertha Krout, Sophia Verga, George Devine.
1901- Mary O'Brien, Ella Murphy, Anna Toomey, Emma Walker.
1902- Elizabeth Burke, Josephine McGovern, Abigail Daley.
1903- Annie Dugan, Catharine Frailey, Marie de La Reintrie, Eva Reiley, Anna Verga, Katie Bobenreith, Veronica Hay, Alice Sullivan, Charles Bechtel, Oliver Holt, Edward Mullane, Raymond Kelly, Regina Roche, Margaret Hanford.
1904- Sarah Fish, Bessie Hunter, Helen Blake, Margaret Clare, Katie Schilp, Katie Toomey, James Ryan, Gerald Roche, Mary Gritton. Marie Sullivan, Alice Parker, Elizabeth Crotty, Margaret Brodey, Margaret Sexton, William O'Neill, William Kelly, Albert Luttenbacher.
1905- Margaret Smith, Mary Toomey, Norah Timmons, Helen Whelan, Mary Flood, Ella Bobenreith, John Welsh, James Mullane, Nicholas Redmond, John O'Neill, Joseph Mulligan, John J. Kelly, Joseph Daley, John Kelly, Timothy O'Neill.
REV. DEAN P. FITZSIMMONS
On the death of Father Mackin, Pastor of St. John's Church, Trenton, March, 1873, all eyes were fixed on Father Byrne, of Camden, as his probable successor. No one in the whole diocese knew Father Byrne better or appreciated his talents more highly than did Bishop Bayley, the Ordinary. Without hesitation and with as little delay as the circumstances would permit, the Bishop named him Rector, and he left Camden to assume his new charge early in June. The Immaculate Conception thereby became vacant. The Camden congregation did not take well to the loss of their Pastor, and petitioned the Bishop to have him remain, pointing out the great works that had been undertaken and carried far towards completion, but which still remained unfinished. The Bishop assured the committee who called upon him that the young man he was about to send them would take up the work where left off by Father Byrne and carry it on with energy, and, with their individual and united co-operation, the Parish would be prosperous and its interests be carefully guarded; that Father Fitzsimmons, the new Pastor, was blessed with good health, and gifted with talents of a high order; that he was not an entire stranger in Camden, having for a short time previously, during Father Byrne's absence, administered to the spiritual wants of the congregation; but a sort of apathy had taken possession of the people, notwithstanding the assurances of the Bishop, and the new pastor seemed powerless to arouse them to a comprehension of their spiritual and temporal necessities. A new church with a heavy debt, and a new school building just begun, necessitating an additional expenditure of perhaps forty thousand dollars in a town where there was not a single wealthy Catholic, and in the midst of a population fully tenfold Protestant, did not present a very favorable lookout to a people with a new, young and inexperienced Pastor, unaccustomed to American methods of church building; besides the panic of 1873, which shook even the strongest foundations, was approaching and the times seemed so ominous and full of uncertainties that no one knew when or where a financial crash would come or what the future would bring forth. The church necessarily felt the shock. Prudent counsel prevailed, and all work on the new school building for the time, at least, was deferred, as many of the people were so disheartened that they positively refused to contribute even what they were able. At a glance the Pastor took in the situation, and instead of attributing the apathy entirely to the fear of bad times, he believed that a spiritual awakening was a necessity, fully realizing that, inasmuch as the people are faithful in their spiritual duties will they be devoted to their Church and its many interests, whereas when they neglect these duties they drift from the secure moorings of Faith into the highways and byways of indifference and passion with attendant evil consequences. One of his first official acts was, therefore, to have a Mission.
For that purpose, October 18, 1873, be called in the Rev. Father Glackmire, S. J., at that time one of the most celebrated preachers of Missions and Spiritual Retreats in the country. He, with two companions, began the work in earnest, thundering in the pulpit against sin and in the confessional receiving the sinner in all gentleness. At the end of two weeks, when the mission terminated, there was such a universal spiritual awakening that it might be truthfully said there was not a person of discerning age in the Parish who had not approached Holy Communion. The effect for good was instantaneous and universal. The Temperance Society, once the pride of the Parish, lately having shown signs of languishing, now took on a new life, and those who had violated their pledge or were indifferent to its obligations became again sober and walked as honorable men in the ranks of the society, and others of the congregation, who had fully convinced themselves on the departure of Father Byrne that all would soon go to smash, began to see they were only making fools of themselves, that if the Parish was in financial straits the cause was in themselves; that, instead of encouraging the new Pastor and helping to relieve him of the burden, they were only adding to the difficulties by their uncharitable criticisms and niggardly contributions. Better attendance at Mass, more numerous and frequent Communions, fewer signs of public intoxication were the immediate and visible effects of the mission. So encouraging had been the collections during the Fall and Winter, that, on the approach of Spring, the Pastor felt justified in resuming work on the new school building, which had been commenced in the Spring of 1871, and raised to the first tier of beams, but which had lain with covered walls for a full year. A new permit for a brick school building 100 x 40 feet, with Sisters' house attached, was issued April 14th, 1874, the estimated cost being forty thousand dollars; this in addition to a debt of a nearly equal sum already on the Parish was an undertaking that needed a man of energy and strong faith, for it evidently meant hard labor with much anxiety for many years, but Camden was a growing city and a Parochial School was a necessity if the faith of their fathers was to be perpetuated in the minds and hearts of their children. The work was carried on through the whole Summer and Fall, and the buildings were ready for occupancy early in the following Spring (1875). A Brothers' House becoming a necessity, ground was broken November 1, 1881, for the erection of the brick building on Seventh Street. The building was finished May 1, 1882, and immediately occupied by the Brothers.
The school being now completed, having ample room for all the children of school age in the Parish, and comfortable living quarters for the teachers, the Pastor turned his attention to other necessary improvements.
With the growth of the city the Parish had slowly but steadily increased in numbers, requiring extra clergy to attend to their spiritual wants. The Rectory, built in the sixties, intended for one priest, was found inadequate for the needs of the clergy twenty years later, besides Father Fitzsimmons always had a welcome for his brother priests, who, from time to time, might emerge into civilization from the Ecclesiastical Siberia of South Jersey, as all south of Camden was then termed. Whenever they wended their way towards the Immaculate Conception they always found a hearty welcome from its hospitable Rector. More room was necessary, the priests' house must be enlarged. The contract was given to Mr. Mahlon H. Harden, building and general contractor, on the 8th of September, 1882, for the sum of $3900. More floor space was to be added to the building and the entire attic story was to be raised so that the rooms on that floor might be more habitable and suitable for the resident clergy and for others who might occupy them. At the same time steam heat was introduced into the building, thus making it one of the most comfortable and spacious Priests' House in the Diocese of Trenton.
THE POWER AND SPIRIT OF THE CHURCH.
Like most buildings of its kind the church was found too costly to be completed by one generation. Beautiful in design and unique in correct proportions, without a spire it lacked completeness, and many a time the present writer heard Father Fitzsimmons declare it pained him to look up to the unfinished buttresses. On the 11th of August, 1887, Emil Sheafer, master stone-mason, cutter and builder, of Newark, N. J., and Charles Johnson, carpenter, of Camden, entered into contract for the sum of $11,805 to erect and finish on the Church of the Immaculate Conception a tower and spire as per drawings and specifications furnished by Mr. Jeremiah O'Rourke, architect, subject to a penalty for every day the spire remained unfinished after the 1st of June, 1888. The work progressed rapidly, but no one whose judgment is worth consideration ever said the structure was not substantial, neat and artistic in every detail. As to the exterior, after twenty-four years, the church was now finished, and it was indeed fortunate the thought of erecting a wooden spire, which was advised by many of the congregation, and, at times, seriously contemplated by the Pastor, was finally rejected and the more solid and lasting one of stone was agreed upon.
FRESCOING AND DECORATING
The first cost, it is true, was a few thousand dollars more, but who now would not regret had the less durable material been selected? How many times in the past fifteen years, were it of wood, repairs and painting would have become necessary? But Father Fitzsimmons was not yet done. The interior needed many improvements to make it a fit habitation for the Blessed Sacrament. In March, 1890, Ferdinando Baraldi, of Philadelphia, received the contract for Frescoing and decorating the church, the price being $3500. The same year the altar, at a cast of $3000, was erected by Theis and Janssen, of New York city, and a new pipe organ, at a cost of $4000, was added. Shortly after new gas fixtures, costing $550, steam apparatus for church and rectory, at an outlay of $1584, and electric wiring and fixtures, costing $1039, were installed. Other improvements looking to the completion of the building and the comfort of the congregation formed the principal feature of the Pastor's solicitude for the following two years.
By prudent management and constant effort all these improvements were paid for and the funded debt which he found on the Parish in 1873, of $32,5000, with $7000 additional for lot on Van Hook Street, where the first Sacred Heart Church stood, was all wiped out, leaving but $5000 to be met in 1893, when the church was consecrated. This debt was transferred to other property and the church itself with other parish buildings was declared free from incumbrance.
a fit preparation for so important an event in the life of the Parish,
the Redemptorist Fathers were called in October, 1892, to give a
For two weeks Father Bohn and two companions labored to awaken the slumbering faith in many and to bring back the wandering sheep who had fallen into a sort of spiritual apathy themselves, with almost entire loss of faith in their children, resulting almost invariably from Camden's curse- Mixed Marriages.
Thence also sprang- for example is contagious- a lack in many of true Catholic simplicity and obedience, resulting in a manifest absence of parish pride and loyalty, its most noticeable form being a sort of indifference, regardless of well-established Parish and Diocesan rules of discipline. The inspiration may have been to look for cheap and easy religion, where the language of the preacher being foreign to them, their conscience would not be disturbed by the sound of truths. They heard but did not understand. The Mission for the time brought many back, but when the enthusiasm had worn off they began again their nomadic habits and like the true Arab, even in the midst of civilization, where law is supposed to rule, their wandering propensity clung to them still, and while they would freely pay two trolley and ferry fares, to Philadelphia, costing sixteen cents, they would feel themselves bankrupt, if finding themselves in their own church, they put five cents in the basket on Sundays. But the good, faithful, loyal Catholic people never try to beat their way into heaven by shifting to others burdens which equally belong to themselves, and when you seek them on Sunday you need but look about the church; you will find them always in the same pew, and there is no card on it "For Rent."
THE CONSECRATION OF THE CHURCH, MAY 27-28, 1893.
These two days will ever be memorable in the history of the Parish. The church though opened for divine worship in 1866 and dedicated with appropriate religious ceremonies, was not consecrated until May 27, 1893. The consecration being classed among the most solemn of religious rites, its execution pertains to the special office of the Bishop of the Diocese, and it is permitted only when the building is of lasting material; of suitable proportions; is free from debt and is provided with the necessaries for the proper celebration of the Holy Sacrifice and far the becoming administration of the Sacraments. The church had been recently decorated, a new organ and a new marble altar replaced the old ones and all the other conditions having been found satisfactory, the Bishop and the Clergy sanctified the building by the sacred rites of the Church which set it apart as God's House. The following account of the services on those two days is taken by permission from an old file of the Public Ledger.
"The consecration of the sacred edifice was performed on Saturday morning by Right Rev. Bishop O'Farrell, who was assisted by Very Rev. Dean Fitzsimmons, and Revs. Fathers John P. Kelley and J. M. O'Leary, Father Fitzsimmons' assistants, and Rev. J. M. McClosky, of Beverly. The ceremonies of the consecration consumed nearly three hours.
"The first part of the consecration was performed at the outer portals of the church, and the Bishop and the assistants passed around the exterior of the building, sprinkling it with holy water and chanting psalms. Arriving at the main entrance Bishop O'Farrell gave three raps with his golden crosier and said 'Lift up your gate, ye princes, and be ye lifted up, ye eternal gates, and the King of Glory will enter.
"The Deacon, from his position within the church, asked: 'Who is the King of Glory?' and the Bishop repeating the words, 'The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle.' closing with the words, 'The Lord of Armies, He is the King of Glory.' The door was then opened and the Bishop entered, followed by the assistant priests, and sprinkled ashes on the floor, inscribing with his crosier the Greek and Latin alphabets, which symbolize the instructions to be given to catechuments in the faith.
"After consecrating the interior the Bishop and clergy proceeded to the sanctuary and anointed the altar with the Holy Oils. In the meantime incense was burned and wax tapers lighted before each of the twelve consecration crosses on the walls. Going three times around the inside of the church he sprinkled the walls as well as the floor of the church with Holy Water to signify every portion of it is dedicated to the worship of the Lord.
The church at 10.30 Sunday morning was again crowded to witness the concluding ceremonies, and shortly after that hour the procession of clergymen and acolytes left the vestry-room, and, walking to the front of the church, entered the main door, led by Rev. Father Kelley, with the Most Rev. P. J. Ryan, Archbishop of Philadelphia; Right Rev. Thomas McGovern, of Harrisburg, Pa., and the Right Rev. M. J. O'Farrell bringing up the rear. The priests took seats within the sanctuary, Archbishop Ryan taking a seat on a throne on the south side of the sanctuary, and Bishop O'Farrell on the north side. Bishop McGovern was robed in the vestments of the Mass, he being the celebrant, and Rev. James A. McFaul, Vicar General of Trenton, being the assistant priest. The Deacons of Honor were the Very Rev. Dean Fitzsimmons and Rev. J. F. Brady, of South Amboy; the Deacon of the Mass was the Rev. Charles Geise, of Millville, and the Sub-Deacon was the Rev. John Murphy, of Moorestown, and Rev. J. M. McClosky, of Beverly, was Master of Ceremonies.
"The Consecration sermon was delivered by his Grace, Archbishop Ryan, of Philadelphia, who preached an eloquent sermon on 'The Divinity and Humanity of Christ.' Previous to his sermon he congratulated the brethren, the Bishop of the Diocese and the friends of the parish, and said it was a day of joy to them. He said the church had been blessed several years ago, and thus in the house built by man, God becomes the guest. The discourse of the Archbishop lasted nearly thirty minutes, and was a very touching one.
"At the conclusion of the singing of the Agnus Dei, Rev. Father Fitzsimmons, Rector of the church, advanced to the sanctuary rail and, addressing the large congregation, said the occasion was a memorable one to him, as it was the twentieth anniversary of his Pastorate, and twenty-nine years had passed since the cornerstone of the church was laid.
"He thanked the old people of the congregation, and the other members, and said they had always listened to the advice of the priests and were always obedient. The consecration of the church to him, he said, was a glorious event, and one he never expected to see under such auspices. He said he was not over-anxious to undertake the clearing of the church property of debt, as his health would not justify such a course, but the Bishop and some of the priests of the Diocese encouraged him to go ahead and payoff the debt and have the church consecrated on the twentieth anniversary of his Pastorate. To Archbishop Ryan he said he owed a lasting debt of gratitude for his kindness in preaching the consecration sermon; to the Bishop of Harrisburg he was thankful for coming to celebrate Pontifical Mass, and he also rejoiced with them now that they owned the church. 'Your church,' said he, 'is consecrated and you have complied with my humble requests, and we now have peace, happiness and prosperity in our possession.'
"At the conclusion of Father Fitzsimmons' remarks, Bishop O'Farrell advanced to the altar steps and accepted the beautiful temple, saying he rejoiced over the gift that comes from the hearts of the people. He congratulated the Pastor, his assistants and the people, and said it was the first church consecrated in the Diocese since he had become its Bishop. At the conclusion of the Mass Bishop O'Farrell pronounced the 'Apostolic benediction, and as the clergymen left the sanctuary the Te Deum was sung.
"The music for the occasion was of high order. A choir of 100 trained voices, under the direction of Professor Jacob Michel, Jr., of Philadelphia, sang Mozart's 'Twelfth Mass.' The Germania Orchestra of fifteen pieces also accompanied the singers.
"The organ was presided over by Mrs. M. A. Cole. The solo parts of the Mass were sung by Miss Jennie McKeone, Miss Rose McKee, Mrs. Anna Watson Longworth, Miss Jessie Taggart, Professor O'Gorman, bass, and Mr. J. McGauley, tenor. At the Offertory 'Alma Virgo' was sung by Miss Jennie McKeone.
THE CLERGYMEN PRESENT
"Among the clergymen in attendance at the services besides those who took an active part, were: Monsignor Doane, of Newark; Monsignor Moran, Princeton; Rev. Thomas McCormick, Gloucester; Rev. P. F. Connelly, Bordentown; Rev. W. J. Brennan, Mount Holly; Rev. Neil McMenniman, Florence; Rev. John J. Griffin, Burlington; Rev. M. Coghlan, Millstone; Rev. James Devine, Woodbridge; Rev. S. Walsh, Gloucester; Rev. Thomas E. Healy, Lakewood; Rev. J. J. Fedigan, O. S. A., Atlantic City; Rev. Theophilus Deegan, Cape May; Rev. P. L. Connelly, Perth Amboy; Rev. B. Brady, New York City; Rev. P. M. Coir, Jersey City; Rev. Thomas Quinn, Jersey City, and Rev. P. Corrigan, Hoboken.
"Rev. P. J. Garvey, D.D., Rev. P. F. Sullivan, Rev. M. C. McEnroe, Rev. H. McGlynn, Rev. J. D. Waldron, O. S. A., Rev. K T. Murphy, O. S. A., Rev. Hugh Lane, Rev. M. P. O'Brien, Very Rev. J. McGill, C. M., Rev. C. McEvoy, Rev. Thomas Barry and Rev. D. P. Egan, all of Philadelphia.
"After the services the visiting prelates were dined in a large room in the school building, which was prettily decorated with bunting, shields and American and Irish flags. At one end of the room a dais was erected, where the three Bishops sat beneath an American flag and a papal shield. At the other end of the room was a silk streamer, with the words, '1864-Lalls Deo1893'.'
"'Among those present at the services as the guest of Father Fitzsimmons, was Mr. J. O'Rourke, who was the Supervising Architect of the United States Treasury. Mr. O'Rourke designed the plans of the church, and it is said it was his best effort in that direction. When Father Fitzsimmons took charge of the church twenty years ago there was a congregation of about 1900. At present (1893) there are about 2400 members, the church being one of the strongest, financially and numerically, in the State.
"Last evening Solemn Pontifical Vespers were sung, and Bishop O'Farrell delivered an address."
During Father Fitzsimmons' pastorate the Church of the Immaculate Conception was raised to the dignity of a Missionary Rectorate, entitling the Rector to the privilege of irremovability, and of certain other defined rights which he had not previously enjoyed. In 1886 he was personally honored by his Bishop, having been appointed Dean of the southern tier of counties, an honor which every clergyman in the Diocese felt he well deserved.
The congregation of the Immaculate Conception owes much to Dean Fitzsimmons. He worked steadily and prudently; whatever he put his hand to that he did thoroughly. Truly were Bishop Bayley's words fulfilled. "He had taken up the work where left off by Father Byrne and carried it on with energy,"-a church beautified and consecrated,-a school building second to none in the Diocese· erected and furnished, other improvements from time to time, and with the exception of a debt of $5000, the improvements were paid for and the entire debt wiped out. For over twenty-two years he served the Parish, always eloquent, genial, big hearted, ever having an eye to the spiritual welfare of his flock, never compromising their rights or allowing others to establish claims by prescription. He passed to his reward August 31, 1895, in the fifty-sixth year of his age. The funeral services, which were held on the 3rd of September, were the most elaborate of the Catholic Church. The Bishop and two hundred clergymen, besides a vast congregation of citizens irrespective of creed, testified by their presence their respect for the man and. the priest. His body lies in a vault directly in front of the church. If a man be judged by his works Dean Fitzsimmons left much behind to commend him, and the people who have profited by his labors among them owe him a large debt of gratitude. A suitable monument of granite has been lately erected to his memory as a tribute of friends arid grateful parishioners. Requiescat in pace.
The following clergymen were Assistants at the Immaculate Conception during Father Fitzsimmons' Pastorate:
Rev. Martin A. V. D. Bogaard, from September, 1873, to Feb. 4th, 1876.
Rev. J. J. Walsh, from Feb. 4th, 1876, to June 13th, 1877.
Rev. James J. Brennan, from June, 1877, to June, 1879.
Rev. James F. Devine, from June, 1879, to January, 1882.
Rev. J. H. Fox, from January, 1882, to November, 1882.
Rev. Dennis J. Duggan, from November, 1882, to March 13th, 1883.
Rev. Daniel F. Curtin, from March, 1883, to June, 1883.
Rev. John M. O'Leary, from August, 1883, to December, 1884.
Rev. Father Tighe.
Rev. Joseph F. Flannigan, from December, 1884, to February, 1886.
Rev. M. E. Bric, from February, 1886, to December, 1888.
Rev. Thomas A. Roche, from July 23, 1888, to October 20, 1890·
Rev. William H. Miller, from July, 1889, to February 1, 1890.
Rev. John Gammell, from February 6, 1890, to May 26, 1890.
Rev. John Murphy, from May, 1890, to September, 1890·
Rev. Michael Coghlan, from September 23, 1890, to January 28, 1893
Rev. J. P. Kelley, from November 27, 1890.
Rev. J. M. O'Leary, from February 1, 1893.
James Hendrick, from May 11, 1895.
REV. STEPHEN M. LYONS
REV. STEPHEN M. LYONS.
On the death of Father Fitzsimmons the management of the Parish, ad interim, until the appointment of a new Rector, was entrusted to the Rev. Stephen M. Lyons, who was assisted in the work or the Parish by Fathers O'Leary and Hendrick. In the short time Father Lyons had charge here, by his eloquence and general affability he captivated the good will of the people of Camden as no priest had ever done before, and he has still many warm friends and sincere admirers in the Parish. He was not at the time a regular priest of the diocese, having been here only a few months, and, of course, could not be appointed Rector of the Church of the Immaculate Conception. The Parish was peculiar in that it was a permanent Rectorate, requiring a priest to be ordained and working in the diocese for at least ten years, three of which he must have been Rector. Other qualifications were also requisite which Father Lyons, no doubt, had, but being a new man in the diocese it was eminently proper that others who had labored longer should be preferred. The choice fell upon Father Mulligan, a priest of twenty years' standing in the diocese, eighteen years of which had been passed as Rector in active work as a church builder. He was, therefore, appointed and took charge of the Parish October 23, 1895.
VERY REV. DEAN B.
J. MULLIGAN, RECTOR
REV. FATHER MULLIGAN'S ADMINISTRATION
"Rev. B. J. Mulligan, the new pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, successor to the late Dean Fitzsimmons," says the Camden Courier, "was warmly welcomed to his charge last night (Oct. 23, 1895) by the parishioners at St. Mary's Hall, Broadway above Federal Street. The hall was handsomely decorated with American flags, bunting, shields and laurel, among which a number of incandescent lamps were interspersed. On the stage was a large number of potted plants and palms, and in front the words "Welcome” blazed brightly forth in electric lights.
"As the new rector, accompanied by the Rev. S. M. Lyons, the temporary pastor, Rev. M. E. Bric and Rev. Mr. Baranski of this city, Rev. Father O'Farrell of Bridgeton, Rev. Father Leahy of Swedesboro, Rev. Fathers O'Leary and Hendrick of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, entered the hall the large assemblage arose, and to the music of an orchestra, sang 'My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.' At the conclusion of the national anthem Mr. J. J. Burleigh, who acted as presiding officer, cordially welcomed the new rector in behalf of the congregation.
“Mr. Thomas Curley, one of the oldest members of the parish, made an address on the early struggles of the congregation in building a church.
“Rev. S. M. Lyons followed with an eloquent address of welcome; the new rector responding, in which he stated that such a demonstration from people who were unknown to him was a revelation. He felt sure that the reception was to him as a priest, and not as an individual, and thanked them for the ovation tendered him.
"He also said that he would acquaint his charge with the policy he desired to be pursued later on- that inasmuch as there was no debt on the church property, the march of improvement must not stop. The concluding speaker of the evening was Mr. William J. Lorigan, who spoke for the young people of the parish, and blandly hinted, not too loud, that the young people would be glad if the new pastor would take into consideration the question of building a Lyceum, the most urgent need of the parish at the present time. At the conclusion of the speaking those present ascended the platform and were introduced to Father Mulligan, whose genial smile and hearty hand grasp made him an immediate favorite with all.
"The Reception Committee consisted of Rev. S. M. Lyons, J. J. Burleigh, F. X. O'Brien, Thomas Curley, Sr., John M. Kelly, John T. Sweeney, William Mullane, Thomas Calanon, John S. O'Hanlon, Edward Hilland, M. J. O'Brien, W. K. Davis, John Daley, Frank Deveraux, Owen McAdams, John Dougherty, Lawrence Matthews, John Hoey, John J. Conlan, James McFeeley, W. J. Lorigan, Jr., George Welsh, John R. Ryan, Michael Burns, Peter Quinn, Michael Quinn, Thomas Boyle, Edward Smith and Patrick Powell."
Dean Mulligan again being called upon to speak, congratulated the people on the magnificent property owned by the Parish, but he also reminded them that large properties required large expenditures; that, while much had been done and well done, all was not yet done; that many improvements and new operations were awaiting execution; that lie did not purpose, therefore, to rest himself or permit the people to fall into an apathetic slumber lulled by a false impression that nothing remained to be done. The Lyceum Association, as Mr. Lorigan stated, was demanding the erection of a Parish Hall and Club Rooms. (In another part of the MESSENGER will be found its execution an accomplished fact. The reader is kindly referred to that very interesting chapter.) Knowing that it is vain for man to labor if the Lord be not with him, the Pastor wished to begin his pastorate by urging all to a spiritual rewaking. Having this end in view, he called in the Redemptorist Fathers, who began a two weeks' mission. Every parishioner was invited to attend and to bring a neighbor with him. He assured them that a Mission was not for sinners alone, but its purpose was especially to rekindle Christian Faith and to encourage its practices. The effect was evident in the return of many, who for years had scarcely known the Church, to a more faithful observance of their religious duties.
Though the building of the Lyceum was begun in the Spring of 1896, involving an expenditure of $40,000, other improvements were not neglected and demanded immediate attention. It had been evident to the Pastor that the school building was too cramped for the classes; that the old furnaces did not properly heat the building. A contract in the sum of $3500 was entered into with "The Mercer Steam Heating Company" for the installing of steam plant to heat both School and Sisters' House. The old hall was converted into school rooms at an expense of $2000.
Though undesirable as a burial place from the fact that the land was low and very sandy, it was, however, the home of our dead and should, therefore, receive fair share of attention. The low places were filled up, the unsightly old buildings torn down, a new iron fence erected to replace the old wooden one, the caretaker's residence was enlarged and improved, all at an expense of fully $2000. A year or two later ominous threats began frequently to circulate that the City, on account of the rapid increase of population in that district, would soon want to run several streets through St. Patrick's, and that it would probably be condemned for burial purposes. It was a risk the Pastor did not wish to take, and he began to look around for a safer and more desirable location where public improvement would not be likely to interfere for perhaps a century. All cemeteries within the city limits, if building operations continue as they have for the past few years, would evidently soon be in the way, and, of course, must go. It would, therefore, be unwise to buy land within the city, besides the boom in real estate made the price of land prohibitive. A farm of 93 acres was secured just outside the city boundary for $9000, a portion of which was laid out for cemetery purposes and is already the home of many of our dead. Several thousand dollars have already been expended on improvements, and it is yet only the beginning, but time, patience and money will, we trust, make it second to none in the vicinity.
Though large and commodious, had always been uncomfortable from the fact that it was ill lighted and badly ventilated. Clerical wags were wont to daub it "The Camden Tombs"- in fact, it looked jail-like, and many a tramp who sought the Priests' House that he might unfold his sad tale and secure a square meal, or his fare to Trenton or Baltimore, shook his head when in the shadow of the Rectory, and passed by. The Parish being in a healthy condition financially, the Rector believed himself justified in undertaking same improvements, and had plans drawn to that end. The contract was given out for alterations and repairs at an outlay of $3700. It was hoped to have the work finished for the Pastor's Silver Jubilee, but nothing is so uncertain as a contractor's promise, and the work dragged along for over a month after that event; but when it was finally finished all were happy again.
correct in architectural lines, had always been dark and gloomy. The
Golden Jubilee of the Parish was nearing, an event which could not well
be passed by in silence. The church needed many repairs. The Sisters had
become a large community and needed a Chapel, that all might attend
public worship together. Additional Sacristy room was also very
desirable. To redecorate without admitting additional light would be a
waste of money, as the finest decoration would be lost in the gloom. The
windows, though common painted glass, had served their day, but now
the congregation is large, the debt small, the times prosperous, the
people fairly well to do. The Pastor, after can suiting with many of the
congregation, felt the time ripe far these and other like improvements.
The work was begun immediately after Easter, and has been continuous
since. Perhaps not less than twenty ($20,000) thousand dollars will be
spent before the finish, but very little will be added to the debt, as
good friends have helped us, and all have given their mite, though no
one was pressed to do anything extraordinary. The clergy are now engaged
in taking an enrollment of the people and find the children and
grandchildren of the pioneers, except where mixed marriages have wrought
their ravages, still devoted to the Church, faithful to their
obligations as Catholics, watchful aver the Christian training of
their children, supporting without murmur the Catholic school and, in
all things, proud of their faith. Their place as a factor in the
community is universally recognized. In learning, in business capacity,
in all that goes to make valued and honorable citizens they are the
peers of any other class. The little congregation of about 300 in 1850
has grown to a community of aver 12,000, and the few poor Irish and
German immigrants who assembled in Starr's Hall have seen congregation
after congregation spring up until ten churches are now filled on
Sundays, and the mother church still counts her awn people in the
thousands. In fifty years there have been only four pastors, and two of
them are yet defying death. May we not say with the Apostle, "Peter
has labored, and Paul has labored, but the Lard has given the
increase,” to Him, therefore, be the honor and glory-Amen.
The following clergymen were assistants at the Church of the Immaculate Conception during Father Mulligan's administration:
J. M. O'Leary, to April 20, 1896.
The Choir is one of the best in the State. The following gentlemen and ladies are members:
Organist and Director- William H. Lorigan.
Sopranos- Miss Flora M. Kieffer, Miss Mary E. Frazier, Miss Mary T. Long. Miss Mary H. Sands, Miss Bertha M. Krout, Miss May R. Manning, Miss Mary P. Walsh. Miss Gertrude E. Britton, Miss Catharine P. McGlynn, Miss Margaret C. Manning, Miss Elizabeth A. Curtis, Miss Catharine C. Dunn, Miss Alice M. Sullivan, Miss Anna M. Dugan, Miss Catharine E. Callahan, Miss Genevieve E. Crosby, Miss Elizabeth A. Hunter, Mrs. Edward J., Kelley, Mrs. Richard A. Conner, Mrs. Jean L. Brown, Mrs. John H. Krout, Mrs. Joseph A. Helm, Mrs. Thomas F. Ryder.
Contraltos- Miss Margaret L. Kauffmann, Miss Stella R. Magee, Miss Bertha E. Fillion, Miss Margaret A. Frazier, Miss Mary J. Manning, Miss Mary G. Dugan, Miss Anna E. Verga, Miss Helen E. Healey, Miss Helen L. deLisle, Mrs. Oscar A. Kieffer.
Bass- Mr. Charles B. Magee, Mr. Maurice J. Long, Mr. Daniel J. Hilland, Mr. Thomas J. Atkinson, Mr. Oscar A. Kieffer, Mr. Clarence H. Walker, Mr. Paul G. Powell, Mr. Michael A. Hartmann, Mr. Thomas M. Fean, Mr. Thomas A. Cahill, Mr. Edward J. Rourke, Mr. Charles C. Buecker, Mr. William T. Burke, Mr. Frederick F. Kauffmann, Mr. Joseph P. Lorigan, Mr. William A. Murphy, Mr. Edward J. Doyle.
Tenor- Mr. Harry J. Weiss, Mr. James F. Lennon, Mr. Charles E. Hurley, Mr. William B. Farlow, Mr. Joseph A. Helm, Mr. John J. Conlen, Mr. Clement P. Wasielewski, Mr. John B. Lorigan, Mr. Joseph T. Bodell.
The faithful Sexton. Everybody knows him, and everybody respects him as an honest man-John Ryan.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
In 1865 the Legislature passed an Act incorporating Religious Societies, enabling them thereby to acquire and dispose of property and to form laws for their own government agreeable to the Act of the Legislature. Under this Act the Church of the Immaculate Conception, was incorporated in 1865, with the following as the first Board of Trustees:
The Rt. Rev. James Roosevelt Bayley, Bishop of the Diocese of Newark, president; the Very Rev. James Moran, Vicar General of the Diocese; Rev. Patrick Byrne, Treasurer; Mr. Lawrence Matthews, Secretary; John Hoey. In every succeeding administration the Bishop, Vicar General and Pastor, with two laymen of the Parish constituted the Board.
Mr. Hoey is still a member of the Board. Mr. Lawrence Matthews, on February 8, 1871, was succeeded by John Doyle. Mr. John Doyle was succeeded on September 30, 1896, by Mr. John Logan, making the present Board the Rt. Rev. James A. McFaul, President, the Very Rev. Mgr. J. H. Fox, V. G., the Very Rev. B. J. Mulligan, Secretary-Treasurer; Mr. John Hoey and Mr. John Logan.
THE LYCEUM ASSOCIATION
For several years before his death Dean Fitzsimmons felt that the young people who went forth from the Parish School needed some center, under the guardianship of the Church, around which they might gather and spend their free evenings in bettering themselves socially, morally and intellectually: The outside world offered many attractions, and, if allowed to drift away from the secure moorings of the Holy Church, they would sooner or later anchor on the shoals of indifference and unite themselves with societies dangerous to faith and Christian morality. The better element of the Parish understood the Pastor's motives and fully agreed with him that an effort should be made, even at considerable sacrifice, to cultivate in our young people a spirit of fraternity and a pride in being members of the Catholic Church. The Lyceum Association, having this end in view, was organized in 1894, and henceforth became a department of regular Parish work. Officers had been elected, a constitution adopted, monthly meetings held and funds to the amount of $3000 collected from dues and other sources, when on October 23, 1895, the new Pastor. Dean Mulligan, took charge of the Parish. The old school hall being the only available place for society meetings, it was the general sentiment that a more suitable building should be erected, as the Parish was in a safe condition financially and the people generally were anxious for such a foundation and seemed willing to contribute to its support. Among the sweet things the new Pastor heard on the night of his reception was a gentle hint from Mr. William J. Lorigan, one of the speakers of the evening, that all, both men and women, of the congregation were very anxious that a Parish building be erected for the use of the many societies of the Parish, especially the Lyceum Association, a Society of young people that had been organized the preceding year, and had already given a good account of itself. The Pastor said he was delighted with the expression of good will manifested on that occasion by the great gathering of people to welcome him, and while weighing the words of the eloquent speaker he would ask time for consideration. At the solicitation of a committee of the parishioners, who afterwards called upon him to urge the erection of the proposed Parish building, a meeting of the pew holders was called for Sunday afternoon, November 17, 1895, when the Dean, in stating the purpose of the call, said he wished to consult with the pew holders, as they represented the stability and strength of the Parish, in regard to the necessity, the prudence and the possibility of erecting such a building. "Being new in the Parish," he said, "I feel an honest, candid expression of opinion by those most interested and who must necessarily be called upon to meet the expenditure for the work, to be a first and essential step before further action be taken." Remarks were made by several of the most prominent members approving of the movement and urging its immediate execution. A vote being taken, all with one voice urged the Pastor to go on with the work, promising their individual and united support, financially and otherwise. A committee was appointed to act in concert with the Pastor in selecting an architect and in devising ways and means for the proposed new building. From four competitive designs Mr. H. D. Dagit's plan was selected, and he was therefore chosen and entrusted with the task of preparing working drawings and specifications for the proposed new Lyceum and Institute. James Baird, of Camden, was given the contract for excavating, and John R. Wiggins for superstructure. On the 20th of May, 1896, ground was broken and the foundation was ready for the corner-stone laying.
On Sunday afternoon, June 28, 1896, "In the presence of an assemblage," says the Catholic Standard and Times "numbering about eight thousand persons, including many Camden county and city officials, medical men, educators and officers of various banking institutions, the corner-stone of the new Lyceum and Institute was laid in accordance with the ritual of the Church by Bishop McFaul, the Ordinary of the Diocese of Trenton."
The Rectory on Market street, the Church of the Immaculate Conception and St. Mary's Parochial School were all tastefully decorated with flags, bannerets and bunting of the National and Papal colors, while a large platform, covered with a canvas awning·, was similarly decked.
The exercises began with a procession of the societies from the school hall to the scene of the ceremony, among those participating being St. Patrick's T. A. B. Society, the Catholic Lyceum Association, Division No. 1, Ancient Order of Hibernians and the several societies of the Catholic Benevolent Union. Hogan's orchestra then rendered the overture "Raymond," after which Very Rev. Bernard J. Mulligan, noticing that it threatened to storm, stepped to the front of the platform and stated, that, while they did not wish to shorten the program, they wanted to get a good collection for the building, which is to be erected "for the people, by the people," and that a number of the clergy would go among them for subscriptions, and that they would cheerfully receive from gold bug, silverite or greenbacker whatever they could afford. "The building," he said, "will be 100 feet square, and $100 will be very acceptable; but if you have not got it, give $50."
A chorus of about three hundred voices, under direction of William H. Lorigan, the organist of the church, rendered "Strike the Harp," after which Bishop McFaul, of Trenton, laid the corner-stone, assisted by Dean Mulligan, Rev. James F. Loughlin, D. D., chancellor of the Archdiocese of Philadephia; Rev. Patrick Byrne, of Irvington. N. J., a former pastor of the Camden Church, and Rev. M. P. O'Connor, of Harrison, N. J. Rev. James Hendrick was master of ceremonies; Harry Davis was cross-bearer, and Francis McLaughlin and M. Fitzpatrick acolytes. The stone, which bore the inscription "A. D. 1896," was laid with a nickel-plated trowel presented by Andrew P. Wilson, the builder.
The box placed in the stone contained copies of the Camden and Philadelphia papers, the Catholic Standard and Times, list of contributors, historical sketch of Parish, of the Lyceum Association, a list of the contemporary public officials of the Nation, State and City of Camden, as also of the names of those governing the Universal Chnrch, the Diocese and the Parish.
After the laying of the stone the orchestra rendered "Ein Marchen," and the chorus followed with "Praise Ye the Father."
REV. MGR. JAMES F. LOUGHLIN
RT. REV. DR. LOUGHLIN'S ADDRESS.
Rt. Rev. Dr. Loughlin then delivered the sermon. He began by saying facetiously that up to the present time he always had a sort of dislike to seeing our young folks go to Camden-they usually came back excommunicated, but he was pleased to have them present at the institution of this great building. A lyceum is an integral and necessary part of every parish. After building the Church for the worship of God and after securing the school for a Christian education, it is necessary that another building be erected in which can be conducted, under the influence of religious surroundings, those things which cannot take place in the church or school. The Church is reserved from these uses by the Sacramental Presence. "My house shall be a house of prayer," says the Lord; and in the school the little children are to be educated in the love and fear of God and in letters that they may grow up to manhood and womanhood good citizens, faithful to God and country.
"After the Church and school have performed their functions, many other things must be attended to things which serve as a bulwark to the Church and school. So, in addition to that of worship, you should gather together for other ends. First, for charity. Christian charity, aroused by faith. In addition to charity there are educational and intellectual needs. The great questions of the day are to be studied in their relations to Christian dogmas. Christianity is an all-embracing fact. It is necessary that our young men and young women devote themselves to the study of living questions in the light of Catholic principles. Hence the lyceums, literary societies and reading circles, where the laity are allowed and expected to join in the discussion. The Church is no place for discussion. The Church is where the immutable truths of Jesus Christ are taught.
"I must congratulate you," he concluded. "on the spirit which urged on this great work. You have not been content to follow others, but have gone ahead of others. I am sorry to say that greater parishes in Philadelphia have not this ad-vantage. I congratulate also your Pastor. This great work is not for himself, but for you- for the good not only of the Parish, but of the city. There could be no greater benefit to your city than your Lyceum, where your young people will be fortified in their faith. Its erection is a pledge of the triumph of Christianity over all of the concerns of life."
The chorus then rendered Rosewig's prize composition, "The Flag That Bears the Stripes and Stars."
BISHOP McFAUL'S REMARKS.
Bishop McFaul then delivered an address, the salient points of which are in this abstract:
"I am sure this is a proud day for this congregation, and I can echo the sentiment of Dr. Loughlin that Philadelphians can see many good things in Camden. They come here forlorn and go away happy, and I hope the last state will continue when they cross into the State of Pennsylvania. I congratulate the Pastor and the people of the Parish, and in fact, the people of Camden.
Here he portrayed the benefits to be derived from the Lyceum and gave a learned exposition of the meaning and origin of the word itself.
He answered the charge that the Church fosters ignorance by a formidable array of names of scientists who were dutiful sons of Mother Church, among them Roger Bacon, Galvani, Volta, Ampere, Copernicus and Pasteur. He outlined the place the Lyceum would take in education. There will be lectures an different subjects, literary and scientific, and over all will be the strong arm of religion, sanctifying all. It will afford innocent recreation and take the young from dangerous amusements, keeping them from the temptations that surround American city life.
"In this place," the Bishop said, "men of sound attainments will address you. Here your grand organization will bring you together and surround you with the best influences. This is emphatically a work of religion, placed under the blessing of God of all knowledge and the source of all truth. You must ever remember the work of Dean Fitzsimmons. Keep his memory green. Remember that he paved the way for this edifice of which the cornerstone is laid today, and which will be your pride when its pinnacle rises to heaven. By the love and veneration you show for the departed will be measured the feelings you have far your present Rector."
The Bishop expressed the hope that every Parish in his diocese might soon have a building of this kind. In conclusion he suggested that the exercises close with some patriotic air, such as the "Red, White and Blue" or "Star Spangled Banner," and said facetiously that he thought some of those present might be able to stand "The Wearing of the Green." He related an anecdote of an Irishman who asked an organ-grinder what tunes he could play. When the Celt found that the first in the repertoire was the "Boyne Water," he requested that the musician start it "easy" to see "haw long he could stand it." The orchestra then rendered "King's Carl's March," and the chorus brought the exercises to a close by singing "America."
Among the singers present were noticed a number of St. Charles' choir, of Philadelphia, with their director, A. H. Rosewig.
The clergymen present not already named included Rev. S. M. Lyons, Mount Holly (acting Rector at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in the interim between Dean Fitzsimmons' death and Dean Mulligan's appointment, and who in that period attained much popularity in Camden) ; Revs. Cornelius Phelan, Florence; James F. Devine, New Brunswick; P. L. Connolly, Perth Amboy; Joseph Farrington, Bordentown; Simon B. Walsh, Beverly; Maurice E. Bric, Camden; Father O'Connor, Newark; John M. O'Leary, Laurel Springs; John 'IN. Murphy, Moorestown; Michael Baranski, Camden; William J. Fitzgerald, Lambertville; Father Francis O. M. C., all of New Jersey, and Rev. Joseph H. O'Neill, of St. Frances de Sales, Philadelphia.
first officers of the Lyceum Association were John
J. Burleigh, president; Michael Byrne, vice president; John M. Kelly,
recording secretary; James Clark, financial secretary; William
L. Hurley, treasurer; Very Rev. Dean Mulligan.
LYCEUM AND PAROCHIAL SCHOOL BUILDINGS.
The Lyceum will have a front of 104 feet on Broadway and a depth of 100 feet on Federal street. It will be of French gothic style of architecture, two and one-half stories high. The material used in the construction of the Broadway, Federal and Seventh Streets fronts will be brown and gray stone, with cut stone trimmings. The first floor front will contain the library, parlors and reception rooms. In the rear will be a large auditorium, with stage and balcony, and will be capable of seating one thousand persons. It will extend the full height of the building. On the second floor of that portion of the building not occupied by the auditorium will be located a well-equipped gymnasium, two large meeting rooms, locker rooms, billiard rooms and lavatories, all of which will be arranged so that they can be thrown into one large hall when the necessity requires it.
The work of erection progressed rapidly throughout the summer and fall. Painting, steam heating apparatus, gas and electric fixtures, auditorium chairs, stage scenery and a hundred and one other necessaries in addition to the original contract for the edifice itself had to be provided and put in place, but, everything came and without unnecessary delay, and no one who presented a just claim had to wait for payment. Contractors having become aware of that fact were anxious to supply the Lyceum with articles required and at bottom figures. The building was ready for occupancy January 28, 1897.
JOHN W. GRIGGS
The opening of the Catholic Lyceum and Institute connected with the Church of the Immaculate Conception was a notable religious and social event. Perhaps the Immaculate Conception Parish had never before witnessed a scene of such interest and enthusiasm as was manifested. Previous to the formal exercises Governor Griggs was welcomed by the clergy and the people, who were anxious to honor the Executive, who had honored the occasion by his presence. The scene was brilliant and inspiring in its sweetness and light-fine costuming, avoiding the decolette, portraits of Bishop McFaul, the late Bishop O'Farrell, the late Dean Fitzsimmons, and of Dean B. J. Mulligan being appropriate accessories.
The Reception Committee of the Lyceum Association was composed of the following ladies and gentlemen: Mrs. John Farrell, chairman; Mrs. M. Regnier, Mrs. J. M. Dougherty, Mrs. John Sweeney, Miss C. O'Brien, Miss A. Convery, Mrs. M. Lennon, Miss Anna McLaughlin, Miss Mary Welsh, Miss Mary McGovern and Mrs. A. Britton; Mr. J. J. Burleigh, chairman; Messrs. J. M. Kelley, M. J. O'Brien, James R. Clark, John F. Hastings and John Conlon.
After the reception and when the auditorium had become filled, the guests were ushered to the stage, which, being too small for the large number of visiting Priests, was surrendered to the local guests, and the Rev. Fathers occupied the first row of the orchestra seats. Among them were Rev. J. F. Hendrick, Rev. M. E. Bric, Rev. F. Lehner, Rev. J. Zulenski, Rev. F. Baranski, all of Camden; Rev. Walter T. Leahy, Swedesboro; Rev. J. M: O'Leary, Laurel Springs; Rev. D. J. Duggan, Salem; Rev. Charles J. Geise, Millville; Rev. W. Deittrick, Vineland; Rev. J. H. Fox, Trenton; Rev. S. T. McCormack, R. S. Hart, Gloucester City; P. Petri, Atlantic City; S. Walsh, Beverly; S. J. Lyons, Mount Holly; Rev. Fathers Lynch, Trenton; J. F. Brady, South Amboy; J. Griffin, Burlington; J. H. Farrington, Bordentown; Father Phelan, Florence; J. W. Murphy, Moorestown; J. and T. Kelly, Trenton; J. H. O'Neill, Philadelphia; Governor John W. Griggs, late Attorney-General Samuel H. Grey, City Solicitor Morgan, Mayor Westcott, Senator H. W. Johnson, Sheriff Baird, Assemblymen Derousse and Scovel, Postmaster H. B. Paul, ex-Judge Armstrong, Architect Henry S. Dagit, J. J. Burleigh, George A. Frey, H. L. Bonsall.
After the guests had been seated on the stage, Rev. B. J. Mulligan, the Rector, made a very few remarks, in which he welcomed all to the Lyceum Building, and said it was an unexpected privilege to have the Governor, clergy and so many other gentlemen present. He said it was a great pleasure to him, after many months of hard work and watchfulness, to see the large gathering in the completed building.
Continuing, he said: "The Lyceum is not a church, as you see, but it is connected with the Church, and its purpose is of a three-fold nature-to develop physical culture, a literary institute, and, a special feature, a public library." He thanked all present for their aid to him in the erection of the building, and concluded his remarks by introducing Governor Griggs.
GOVERNOR GRIGGS' ADDRESS
"You may wonder why I am here. I do myself. I am surely not here to execute laws, and I hardly know what I am here for. I will say, however, if we had a few more institutions of this kind, we would need fewer laws and few police. As I am not here to execute the law I must be here merely as a citizen to address you at the opening of this grand institution. I can truly say that the completeness of the whole building surprises me. We have two such buildings in Paterson, but the two of them placed together would not equal this. Now, since you have erected this grand building, what is it for, what good is it going to do? Anything that elevates the character of citizenship benefits the State, the community and the Church, and that is what this institution does. When I was a boy I had nothing like this. About the only recreation we boys ever got was an opportunity to see the circus occasionally, and we often had to hustle to get the necessary quarter then. If there is anyone thing for which we J1ave all been striving it is toward the creation of a greater opportunity for recreation. If there is anything that distinguishes the age in which we live it is the fact that we have advanced along the line of recreation. By recreation I mean anything that a man elevates himself to that is not a task, the unbending of himself, the amusing of himself. All the inventions of the past century have tended to shorten man's working hours so that he could have more time for recreation, and this magnificent building will furnish you with just the kind of recreation that everyone needs, because everyone needs a certain amount. Why, a man's college education is not complete nowadays unless he plays on the college football team, and the most important persons in this country every year are the full-back of the University of Pennsylvania and the battery of the Baltimore base ball club. What is better than a strong, healthy-looking man with a bright eye? Give us more of these football players, wrestlers and athletes. Different people like different forms of recreation. Some like games. Well, games are all right if you like them, but you must never play for anything except-eh-except money. Then some people like to write. If you had to do it for a living you probably would not like it so well, but if you like to write, write. But don't write poetry. It may be recreation for you, but it is no earthly use to anybody else. I will not keep you any longer, as I understand there are other festivities to follow, but you have done a grand and glorious thing in erecting this institute, and I congratulate you. Now,
On with the dance, Let joy be unconfined. And may God bless you and your grand work."
At the conclusion of his remarks, while the applause was at its height, a little girl in a pink dress presented the Governor with a bunch of pink roses.
ARCHBISHOP RYAN'S MESSAGE:.
was with great regret that Dean Mulligan announced that owing to an
important meeting of the Board of Trustees of the University of which
Archbishop Ryan is a member, he was unable to be present, but sent his
congratulations, good wishes and blessing.
REV. W ALTER T.
REV. WALTER LEAHY'S ADDRESS
Rev. Father Leahy, of Swedesboro, spoke in place of the absent Archbishop and delivered an instructive and logical address on Lyceum building, a report of which we are sorry we have not at hand.
Forming a pretty background to the stage was a chorus of one hundred well-drilled, powerful, yet tuneful voices under direction of Professor Lorigan, who received a fine basket of flowers in appreciation of his efforts, while the Rector, speakers and other participants were likewise remembered.
This closed the formal exercises. In dismissing the audience the Rector invited them to inspect the building and indulge in social diversion. The large and handsome building, which is one of the prettiest structures in the city, is the outgrowth of a movement inaugurated by the late Dean Fitzsimmons, taken up and pushed forward to completion by the present, Rector, Dean Mulligan, and is a monument to the zeal and generosity of the congregation of the Church of the Immaculate Conception.
THE SUBSEQUENT HISTORY OF THE LYCEUM
The subsequent history of the Lyceum is full of interest and would supply ample matter for several issues of THE MESSENGER. The association itself, which includes the Ladies' Auxiliary and the several circles, by its debates, its gymnastic tournaments, its literary contests, its scientific and popular lectures, its night school and its dramatic productions, has already established for itself a most enviable name, that has gone far and wide through the land and has found an echo even in the Court of China. But the Lyceum is also a Parish Building. Within its walls the Parochial School has held its commencements and exhibits of school work, in fact, uses its auditorium and gymnasium almost continually for supplementary school work. Fairs and other entertainments that have added thousands of dollars to the treasury of the Church, have been held from time to time in its spacious rooms, and the several societies that for years met in the ill-lighted, cold hall of the old school building find in the Lyceum warm, clean, well-lighted, comfortable quarters. Nor has the management been selfish, for on occasions when charity or the public demanded it, the Lyceum has thrown open its doors that the citizens, irrespective of creed and without rent or pecuniary compensation, might assemble in its spacious auditorium for the advancement of interests beneficial to our common humanity. All thanks, therefore, to the coterie of progressive men, who, rising above the mass content with the vision of its own circle; have ascended to a higher grade and taken in a more extended vision and have called men of prominence from the widespread nations of the world to this city, and have mingled with them and exchanged ideas with them in the halls of the Catholic Lyceum and Institute. For eight years men of national and world-wide reputation have come to speak to the citizens of Camden from its platform, and if Camden today is known to the cosmopolitan world it owes most of its renown to the Lyceum.
True to its purpose as an educational institution, the Lyceum Association, shortly after the opening, inaugurated for the Fall and Winter months of each year a series of lectures by men the most prominent in Church and State. Many were doubtful whether the high standard set on the night of the opening could be maintained, but it was attained and can be continued if our people are in earnest, are interested, and if they continue to give the institution their united and individual support. But the best in the Parish must become members, not merely nominal, but active. They must be in the hall and bring their neighbors when prominent men favor them by their presence on the lecture platform. If everything is not yet perfection, come and help to make it such. Carping don't buy pins for mother, and indifference is the bane of every society, national or local. No man, the highest in the land, has ever refused to speak from the Lyceum platform when he was properly approached, and other engagements permitted him, and most of them made you feel the Lyceum was conferring an honor on them by the invitation, not they on the Lyceum. A number of gentlemen came to speak in the interest of some society or on some national occasion or for the advancement of some particular interest- to name them would be legion, and would require more space than the Jubilee number of THE MESSENGER will allow. We will, therefore, confine ourselves to giving the titles of the lectures and the names of those who took part in the Lyceum Lecture Course as being more representative of the general interests. The lectures began November l0th, 1897, by Rev. Joseph Vincent O'Connor, "The Church and the American Republic."
following ladies have been presidents of the Ladies' Auxiliary of the
Lyceum Association: Mrs. William
J. Lorigan, Mrs. John Farrell, Mrs. William S. Casselman, Miss Mary
Frazier, Miss Mary Walsh.
JAMES A. McFAUL, D. D., L. L. D.,
DEAN P. F. CONNOLLY
URICE E. BRIC
JAMES J POWERS and REV. JOHN A. SULLIVAN
Evening Services at 7.30 o'clock.
Vespers and Benediction by the................................................ APOSTOLIC DELEGATE
Sermon by the.............................................................................. REV. DR. J. W. NORRIS
J.M. Kelley, Chairman
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