Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

American -- Opporunity Realized: The Greek Catholic Union's First One Hundred Years, 1892-1992 by Cheryl Weller Beck, Michael I. Roman, Frederick M. Petro and Basil Wahal

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

American -- Opporunity Realized: The Greek Catholic Union's First One Hundred Years, 1892-1992 by Cheryl Weller Beck, Michael I. Roman, Frederick M. Petro and Basil Wahal

Article excerpt

Opportunity Realized: The Greek Catholic Union's First One Hundred Years, 1891-1992. By Cheryl Weller Beck, Michael I. Roman, Frederick M. Petro, and Basil Wahal. (Beaver, Pennsylvania: Greek Catholic Union of the U.S.A. 1994. Pp. xi, 286. $28.50.)

This volume is not just another jubilee album or institutional history. Professedly a "historical narrative, a history told through the achievements of its people and the principal events that molded the organization into what it is today" (p. 1), the text contains much newly-translated archival material (mostly from internal documents and the organization's newspaper Amerikansky Risskij Viestnik) and is symbolic of the "arrival" of a new generation of Rusin historical scholars. Every photograph and every illustration in this well-crafted volume provides a clue to the way of life of each generation.

As the primary fraternal organization of this important Catholic immigrant group, the Greek Catholic Union served the needs of its members in a pattern that is consistent with other Catholic and Slavic immigrant groups. The G.C.U. was instrumental in the evolution of a national self-awareness that took its strongest form in the context of American pluralism beyond the restraints of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and later the nascent Czechoslovakia. Its evening schools taught English and civics as well as religion and ethnic traditions. Its insurance program provided some economic relief in time of need for the exhausting and dangerous life of miners. Its support of orphanages and gymnastics and sports showed its members' concern for the health and well-being of its young people.

The group's fate was inextricably woven into the life of the Greek Catholic Church in America and provides the model for what used to be called "lay trusteeism. …

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