Thursday, January 20, 2011

A little history...

I've been asked before how long Ole Miss has had a Catholic student ministry. Well, because I'm the penultimate history dork, I went digging through the archives (the Special Collections at the J.D. Williams Library to be exact) to find out.

Bishop Gerow created St. John's parish in 1942.
Here's a quote from the 1938 Ole Miss (yearbook) that answers your question: "The Catholic Club of the Univ. of Miss. was first organized in October of 1934, under the creative leadership of Father Hugh Taylor. Last year [1937], the Club was reorganized and is now affiliated with the Newman Club, a nationally-known Catholic organization."

Now, of course, there were Catholics at Ole Miss (and in Oxford) before 1934. In fact, there have been Catholic students and faculty members since the University's opening in 1848. Until St. John the Evangelist parish was created in 1942, Catholics at Ole Miss and Oxford usually traveled to St. Patrick's parish in Water Valley (about 30 miles away) for Sunday Mass. For those who are interested, you can find more details on the history of the Catholic Campus Ministry at Ole Miss (and St. John's parish) here.

Our history and our faith united are what make us who we are. We are forever united with those who came before and with the gift of faith that they preserved and passed on to us. It is our Catholic patrimony. Our call is to preserve this 2,000year-old faith and patrimony and to pass it on, in truth and fullness, to the next generation. For, as Bl. Frassati reminds us, "To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth, that is not living, but existing.”