The Eighty-Sixth Annual Meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association

Article excerpt

Report of the Committee on Program

The 2006 annual meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association convened on Thursday afternoon, January 5, at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown hotel. The program consisted of fifteen panels, a tour of two historical Catholic churches, and the presidential luncheon, an event which also allowed members of the Association to celebrate Monsignor Robert Trisco's long years of service as Secretary/Treasurer and editor of The Catholic Historical Review. The program was assembled by a committee that included Thomas Kselman (Chairman, University of Notre Dame), Brad Gregory (University of Notre Dame), John McGreevy (University of Notre Dame), and Margaret McGuinness (Cabrini College). Professor McGuinness was especially helpful in organizing two panels related to the history of Catholicism in Philadelphia, the tour of St. Mary's and St. Joseph's, and a reception at the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia's headquarters. In general, the chairmen of the different panels reported good attendance, even at the sessions on Thursday afternoon and Sunday morning, with the numbers ranging from a dozen to sixty present in the audience. Two of the panels at the meeting were co-sponsored by the American Historical Association, and one by the American Society of Church History.

The meeting began with two panels on Thursday afternoon, January 5, both of which were interrupted by a fire alarm that emptied the building for a few minutes. The first, chaired by Joseph Casino, from the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center, was entitled "The Role of Catholic Philadelphia in World Affairs." John Quinn (Salve Regina University) presented a paper on "The Rise and Fall of Repeal: Slavery and Irish Nationalism in Antebellum Philadelphia." This was followed by Richard Warren's (St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia) paper, "Catholicism in Philadelphia as a Social Nexus for Latin American-U.S. Relations During the Age of Revolution." Sister Mary Louise Sullivan, M.S.C. (Cabrini College) provided the comment.

The second panel, on "Catholic Education in the Twentieth Century," was chaired by Philip Gleason (emeritus, University of Notre Dame), a former president of the Association. One of the participants, Father Richard Gribble, C.S.C. (Stonehill College), was unable to attend because of a meeting of his Congregation. His paper, "Catholic Education in San Francisco in the Early Twentieth Century: Two Pioneering Efforts," was read by Christopher J. Kauffman, Father Gribble's doctoral advisor at the Catholic University of America and a former president of the Association, His paper dealt with the activities of two important clerical leaders concerned with parochial education in San Francisco. Father Peter Yorke was a pedagogical theorist and the author of a number of widely distributed textbooks in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Edward Hanna, Archbishop of San Francisco from 1915 to 1935, fought for tax-exempt status of parochial schools in California, a right not obtained until 1951. Alan Delozier (Seton Hall University) presented a paper reviewing the presidency of Monsignor James F. Kelley, who oversaw the professionalization and expansion of Seton Hall College during his tenure from 1936 to 1949. Helen Ciernick (Santa Clara University) presented a paper on "Catholic Students in Transition: The History of the National Federation of Catholic College Students in the 1950's and 1960's." Dr. Ciernick analyzed the tension between the student organization arid the National Catholic Welfare Conference, interpreted as a sign of increasing lay self-assertiveness. In his comment Professor Gleason noted that tensions between a central bureaucracy and competing peripheral institution could also help explain the difficulties experienced by the National Federation of Catholic College Students. The session was well attended and provoked enough interest that most of the twenty or so members of the audience returned for the discussion after the fire alarm episode. …

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