The Museum of the City of New York is hosting an interesting exhibition that has a great deal of relevance to Catholics, writes the Irish Echo (http://www.irishecho.com/newspaper/story.cfm?id=18766). The exhibition examines the history of the Catholic Church in New York City from the establishment of New York as a diocese in 1808 to the GI Bill of the 1940s.
Among other things, it features news articles and photographs of the early Catholic immigrants to the United States. It also shows how the Catholic Church grew from the domain of the immigrant masses to that of mainstream American culture. Ample room is also given to the many Catholic politicians and businessmen that have called New York home.
When I read this article, I started to think about how the Catholic Church in the United States has one of the most extraordinary histories. It started with the martyrdom of the Jesuit martyrs and then continue through countless vicissitudes to the present day. In between, we have had extraordinary saints and beati that have contributed to the growth of Catholicism in our country. To me, the figures of Mother Cabrini, St. Katherine Drexel, and Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher stand out because of the work that they did in the region in which I live.
Yet it never ceases to amaze me how vibrant the Catholic faith is in the United States. Even though countless people will say that the Catholic faith is on the decline, I believe the opposite is actually true. While the last forty years have been a test of our faith and a test for the Church as a whole, I believe things are getting better. I’ve heard that the next generation of priests that is coming from the seminaries is a good one. If God wills, things will turn around, but we need to pray.