Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Diocese of Immigrants: The Brooklyn Catholic Experience, 1853-2003

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Diocese of Immigrants: The Brooklyn Catholic Experience, 1853-2003

Article excerpt

Diocese of Immigrants: The Brooklyn Catholic Experience, 1853-2003. (Strasbourg: Éditions du Signe. 2004. Pp. 240. $35.00.)

When the Brooklyn Bridge was opened in 1883, it connected the first and third largest cities in the United States. Today, more residents of New York City live on the Brooklyn side of the bridge than on the Manhattan side, but Manhattan still tends to overshadow its neighbor to the east. The same is true of the archdiocese of New York and the diocese of Brooklyn. When the secretary of education of the archdiocese boasted some years ago about the number of students in parochial schools in New York City, he omitted to mention that the majority of them were in the schools of the diocese of Brooklyn.

Diocese of Immigrants, written to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the diocese, should help to correct such unfortunate misconceptions. Although the smallest American diocese in area, Brooklyn remains one of the half-dozen largest in population even after the loss of its two suburban counties to the diocese of Rockville Centre in 1957. The authors, Joseph W. Coen, Patrick J. McNamara, and Peter I. Vaccari, trace its rich history from its establishment in 1853 to the present day in a lavishly illustrated book that should have a wide appeal.

In a blend of institutional and social history, they follow the traditional pattern of devoting a chapter to each bishop, but they also give ample attention to the ethnic diversity that has long been characteristic of a diocese where Mass is celebrated every Sunday in twenty different languages, including Ebo, Igbo, Twi, and Urdu. …

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