On a Sunday afternoon in the month of August, an unusual and possibly first-ever event took place under sunny
skies in Cleveland. Under the auspices of theIrish American Archives Society(www.wrhs.org/collects/irisharchives.htm), a group of Clevelanders had brunch atthe Irish Harp Pub and Restaurant and then
boarded two buses bound for the 2ndCatholic Cemetery founded in Cleveland (1855) -
St. John’s, on Woodland Avenue.
The mission and purpose
of the Irish American Archives Society is to support the collection and
preservation of papers, documents, photographs and memorabilia of individuals
and families of Irish descent, and the records of organizations and
institutions that have influenced the growth and development of the Irish
American community in northeast Ohio. A further goal is to assist with the
development of exhibitions, publications, or other materials documenting the
history of the Irish-Americans in Cleveland.
“It involves spending a
lot of time standing around in cemeteries and looking for dead people.”
That was the comedic response of tour leader Bernie McCafferty when asked about
his newly-formed enterprise,Cleveland Genealogical
“There’s lot of genealogical research at my website related to Cleveland.”
After his mother
passed, who was the family historian, one of McCafferty’saunts’s put a family tree together for a family
reunion. “It ended up being a 350 page book.” Since then he decided to keep
moving with it, try to help other people with their genealogies. “That puts me
McCafferty has been
working with Margaret Lynch, Executive Director of the Irish American
Archives. They wanted to do some
cemetery tours, especially the ones that aren’t easily accessible. “She talked about getting a busload so they
wouldn’t have to drive over to St. John’s Cemetery. She asked me if I would lead the tour so I said
When this piece was originally written, McCafferty had just finished
three weeks in County Mayo, Ireland photographing gravestones and cemeteries.
“We’re putting it into a database and eventually onto a CD-ROM and tying it
together with obituaries and other information that’s available on the
St. John’s was the 2ndCatholic cemetery in Cleveland. The first was actually a burial mound at what is
nowOntario and Prospect. TheErie Street Cemeteryopened in the 1830s. ” St. Joseph’s Cemetery,
which is about a quarter mile down the road, was the first Catholic Cemetery in
Cleveland. The first burial there was in 1850.”
Two ladies who signed on
for the tour were sisters, Colleen Raleigh O’Shaughnessy and Maureen Raleigh
Bihn (http://youtu.be/XmaaX9DUFNc ). “We brought our father here, who will be 80 in September, to pay homage
to our ancestors and to see the tombstone of our Irish-born ancestor Patrick
Raleigh,” said Maureen. Patrick married a
New Orleans resident, Suzanne Dooley. Their aunt believed Patrick was a Federal Civil
War veteran, which would possibly explain how he came to meet Suzanne. He probably was stationed there during or after the Civil War.Other family members however believe their
son, Morris Raleigh, was the veteran. It's also very possible that Raleigh was actually Riley or Rahilly.
Others in the large
group of visitors scurried about to find gravesites of their families. TheIrish Archives Societyprovided a clear map of the Cemetery for
everyone and lot locations for some individuals and/or family plots.
Because of the huge
interest, Lynch and McCafferty are thinking about conducting another touratSt. Joseph’s (1850). Gauging by the popularity of this one, I’m sure there will be at
least two busloads, if not more.
To see additional video of the Callahan family’s tribute at
the cemetery for the re-dedication of Capt. James K. O’Reilly’s final resting
Sullivan is published internationally and is a frequent contributor for Irish American current and historic events. He resides in Northfield Village, Ohio. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org/
In an op-ed published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper, Shaker Heights, Ohio's Louis H. Pumphrey (The Politics of Catholic priest
excommunication, Plain Dealer April 20, 2013) wrote a piece about the Catholic Church, He is either a sour observer
of the Catholic faith or a disgruntled, "fallen away" Catholic.
While he makes some justified observations regarding
pedophile priests and those who sheltered them, I must inform him that the vast
majority of American Catholics, the undersigned included, have not abandoned
their faith . We have retained it
despite many human failings within our Catholic Church.
Thank God there's a difference between faith and religion.
Fr. Paul Scalia, the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, implores Catholics to follow the example of St. Thomas More when defending their rights to religious liberty. The patron saint of the Arlington Diocese is St. Thomas More — a 16th-century writer, philosopher, lawyer, chancellor of England and martyr. This saint of the public square serves as an apt model for our diocese, so close to the nation’s capital, and apt as well for the Church’s current conflict with the administration. The crisis of his times, and his handling of it, are instructive for us in this present crisis.
St. Thomas More served as chancellor of England under King Henry VIII. He served the king well and enjoyed the royal favor until Henry decided to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon. The king’s decision about the marriage precipitated a larger conflict between the king and the Church, a conflict that would ultimately lead to England ’s separation from the Church. The Church opposed the divorce. So, to enforce his will, Henry simply redefined the Church in England . He effectively displaced the pope and made himself and his successors the “head of the Church in England .” Because he could not condone the king’s action, More resigned and retired from public life.
He did not voice his opposition but remained silent. He simply sought to live as a private citizen, not disturbing the king and not wanting to be disturbed. But King Henry’s rebellion against the Church inevitably trampled on the conscience of individuals as well. Thomas More would not be left in peace. He eventually was commanded to take an oath in support of the king’s decisions. For refusing that oath — for refusing, in short, to have his conscience forced — he was imprisoned and, convicted on the spurious charge of treason, was beheaded.
In the years following, to be Catholic in England carried with it certain penalties. If you refused to go to Church of England services because you were of a different faith — most conspicuously, Roman Catholic — you would be fined or imprisoned. We do well to recall this history in light of the unjust Health and Human Services mandate handed down this Jan. 20. The similarities are striking and instructive. Just as in St. Thomas ’s day it was a moral issue that precipitated the larger crisis, so also in our day. The Church’s teaching on contraception is at the core of this crisis. We can — and should — say many thi ngs about this teaching. It is one of the most important, challenging and beautiful of the Church’s doctrines. But the teaching itself — as important as it is — really just occasions another, broader issue.
The crisis now before us between the bishops and the administration turns on the rights of the Church and the rights of man: the Church’s right of self-governance and the rights of individual conscience. Henry VIII redefined the Church in England . It is not too much to say that by the HHS mandate, the administration seeks to do likewise in the United States . Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York , asks the question: Can a government bureau define for us or any faith community what is ministry and how it can be exercised? Of course not. The Church has the right to define herself and not be told by outside authorities what does or does not define her work. And not only that, by certain statements, the administration and some members of Congress have, in effect, lectured the bishops about what the Church should do or think. By so doing, they have inserted themselves into the internal worki ngs of the Church. For example, they have observed that many if not most Catholic women use contraception at some point, and therefore we should not make an issue of the mandate. Unfortunately, their observation has some legitimacy: This has been one of the most neglected teachi ngs of the Church in the past 40 or so years.
Sadly, there has been a great deal of confusion, division and sometimes disobedience regarding it. But these are issues for the Church herself to address. Such internal matters of the Church are certainly not the business of public authorities to lecture us on or, worse, to exploit for political purposes. All we ask is that the Church be allowed to be the Church — without any outside coercion regarding our identity, doctrine and ministry. We do not need government officials to tell us who we are, what we believe or what our ministry is. We know these thi ngs well. There is a second similarity between St. Thomas More’s crisis and our own. Henry VIII’s actions did not end with the Church as an institution. They extended to individuals, beginning with Thomas More in his retirement. So also this present crisis concerns not only the rights of the Church as an institution but also the right of every individual not to have his conscience forced. Since the mandate is imposed not only on Catholic institutions, but on all providers of employee health insurance, the individual Catholic as private citizen will suffer the injustice of this law. Just as Thomas More was not left unoppressed, neither will the individual Catholic be today. He too can be made to violate his conscience by conformity to this ruling.
Finally, there is a third parallel between our crisis and More’s. Just as Catholics were penalized in England , so also — as Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago , has speculated — the Church and individual Catholic employers may have to pay a fine for not obeying the mandate. In effect, a fee to be Catholic. Now, history tends to repeat itself. But it does not inevitably do so. If history is repeating itself in this persecution of the Church, then we must deliberately choose to imitate — to repeat — the witness of St. Thomas More. First, imitate his integrity and holiness of life. More chose not to speak out against the king but to retire as a private citizen. He remained silent. But his silence was deafening because he was — and was known to be — a good man, a man of integrity. His refusal to give vocal support for the king’s decision was, in effect, a condemnation. Now, we who do not have the luxury of remaining silent must nevertheless imitate his integrity and goodness.
If our words do not have the witness of our lives, then they will never gain a hearing. Second, imitate his joy. He was known for his humor and wit, even in the face of martyrdom. As he mounted the scaffold to be beheaded he asked the executioner for help up. “I won’t be needing help down,” he quipped. Perhaps that joy will not always be visible, as we do need to be firm and strong — at times even severe. But interiorly at least we should maintain the joy that comes from knowing that no suffering or persecution in this world can separate us from the love of Christ. Finally, we should imitate what we might call his patriotism. He famously said before his death, “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” So also we show ourselves to be good Americans, good stewards of the First Amendment, by living what that amendment defends — by being devout Catholics first. May our prayers and actions give effective witness to our faith and preserve the rights our nation’s founders desired to defend
With the recent national collective voice that has caused the Obamites to put it the issue into reverse, I note they are now attempting to tell us there is a difference between this and Obamacare. However, discerning voters understand it is all part of their continuing attempt to divide us. They will push and push, forcing us to rise up collectively and continue to smite them.
In a mandate that every U.S. employer must provide birth control, sterilization and abortion-causing drugs to their employees, free of charge, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, like the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, has awakened a sleeping giant – American Catholics. Not since Roe v Wade has there been such a firestorm in the American Catholic community regarding issues core to their moral beliefs and their rights of citizenship. We believe the actions of the Obama administration are both unconstitutional and immoral.
In Rome, Pope Benedict XVI delivered a remarkable address to a group of visiting American bishops. He praised America’s founders for their commitment to religious liberty and their belief that Judeo-Christian moral teachings are essential to shaping citizens and democratic institutions. “The Holy Father warned that our heritage of religious freedom faces “grave threats” from the “radical secularism” of political and cultural opinion leaders who are “increasingly hostile to Christianity,” said Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez.
In a letter to American Catholics, a portion which was obtained byBusiness Insider reads “In so ruling, the Obama Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so).The Obama Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.”
Adding insult to injury, the U.S. Army, obviously under the direction of the Obama White House, has now forbidden Catholic military chaplains from reading letters to parishioners from their respective Bishops. It is reported the Secretary of the Army fears any such letters could be viewed as a call for civil disobedience.
On January, 26, Archbishop for the Military Services Timothy Broglio emailed a letter to Catholic military chaplains with instructions that it was to be mentioned in the Mass announcements and included as an insert in church bulletins that would be distributed from the back of chapels. The very next day chaplains were told by the Army’s Office of the Chief of Chaplains that the letter was NOT to be read from the pulpit. The Archbishop is standing firm, based on legal case law, saying that such a directive from the army is a violation of the Constitution and the right of free speech and exercise of religion.
While the issues won’t be resolved until the U.S. Supreme Court decides, nonetheless, Catholic voters, and others, have been rightfully aroused and angered.