New Jersey Catholicism: An Annotated Bibliography

Article excerpt

Curley, Augustine J. (Comp.). New Jersey Catholicism: An Annotated Bibliography. (South Orange, New Jersey: New Jersey Catholic Historical Records Commission. 1999. Pp. xi, 135. $15.00 paperback.)

The New Jersey Catholic community is the sixth largest among the fifty states and has a recorded history going back a quarter-millennium. Thus New Jersey Catholicism: An Annotated Bibliography published under the auspices of the New Jersey Catholic Historical Records Commission is a welcome scholarly tool as well as a window on a large and diverse local church.

The nearly eleven hundred entries are arranged in helpful groupings including, among others, diocesan histories, internal controversies, religious communities, education, and ethnic groups. The entries are clear, and in most cases two locations are listed for each item. The introduction is helpful in explaining the editorial policy utilized and in directing the reader to wider studies that provide broader background to the New Jersey Catholic experience. As with any work of this scope, there are occasional errors. Thus, the Maronite Diocese of Brooklyn is St. Maron, not St. Sharbel (p. vii), and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Milltown is in Middlesex County rather than Morris County (p. 53). But these are few and far between and do not detract from the overall usefulness of this volume.

In the introduction, the compiler explains that this volume is a "preliminary edition," and solicits the help of the user in adding to and refining the work for subsequent editions. Perhaps one area that might be expanded is the entries on the laity in the section on "Individual and Family Biography." Somewhat peripheral New Jersey Catholics like Will Durant and G. Gordon Liddy made the list, while other individuals who either were reared in Catholic New Jersey or participated more fully in Catholic life from the state-Joyce Kilmer, Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward, Nicola Montani, John Gilmary Shea, Ella Edes, Peter Rodino, and Joseph Tumulty come to mind-are omitted.

The bibliography has been a labor of love undertaken by Father Augustine J. Curley, O.S.B., Benedictine librarian and archivist in Newark. His diligence in searching out sources and shepherding this project from inception to publication is praiseworthy. New Jersey Catholicism is an immensely useful tool both for local historians as well as for those doing research in the larger issues of which the New Jersey Church is a microcosm. …