The Catholic Church in Mississippi, 1911-1984: A History

By Michael V. Namorato | Go to book overview

1
John E. Gunn, 1911-1924

I have nobody who depends on me, nobody who wants anything, nobody who expects anything, and nobody who will get anything, but as my will will become a matter of record and of reading I want it to be at least good reading. 1

In life and in death I am proud of three things: my Irish birth, my Catholic faith and my American citizenship. 2

No words could have expressed the essence of Bishop John E. Gunn any better than these. His will provided more than good reading when it was read publicly at his funeral. It was, indeed, an inspiration to all who heard it that day and all who have read it ever since. 3 Similarly, his statement of what he was proud of truly expressed who and what he was. Throughout his life, he remained a staunchly outspoken Irishman who vigorously proclaimed his Catholic faith and who defended and promoted the ideals of his adopted country. 4 By the end of his life, in fact, many people did depend on him, many did expect much from him, and many did get much that he had to give, despite what he himself may have said or even thought, for that matter.


LIFE BEFORE NATCHEZ

John Edward Gunn was born on March 15, 1863, in Fivemiletown, Tyrone, Ireland. The oldest of 11 children, his father was from County Tyrone, his mother from County Fermanagh, and his ancestors from Caithness, Scotland. His forebears' motto, "aut pax aut bellum," meaning "either peace or war," appropriately depicted the family's pride. While influenced by both parents, young Gunn showed a distinct preference for his mother, who lived well into her 80s, thereby seeing her son as a bishop. 5 Of his siblings, Gunn maintained a close relationship with his brother Edward throughout his life. 6

His education followed the traditional course of his day. Between 1875 and 1880, Gunn was educated at St. Mary's, Dundalk. From there, he went to Paignton,

-29-

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The Catholic Church in Mississippi, 1911-1984: A History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xix
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 18
  • Part I - The Hierarchy 21
  • Notes 25
  • 1 - John E. Gunn, 1911-1924 29
  • 2 - Richard O. Gerow: The Natchez Years, 1924-1948 51
  • Notes 68
  • 3 - Richard O. Gerow: The Jackson Years, 1948-1966 75
  • Notes 93
  • 4 - Joseph Bernard Brunini: A Native Son 101
  • 5: Joseph Bernard Brunini 131
  • Part II - Clergy, Religious, and Laity 153
  • 6 - Clergy and Religious, 1911-1984 157
  • 7: Laity 183
  • 8: Outreach (Evangelization) 211
  • 9: Mississippi and Southern Catholicism 243
  • Epilogue 253
  • Notes 258
  • Appendix 1 Native Priests 259
  • Appendix 2 Priests in the Diocese, 1911-1984 261
  • Appendix 3 Irish Priests 285
  • Appendix 4 Religious Orders 289
  • Appendix 5 PARISHES, 1911-1984 293
  • Appendix 6 Schools 297
  • Selected Bibliography 301
  • Index 307
  • About the Author 315
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