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Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
July 22, 1990     Arkansas Catholic
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July 22, 1990

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5~ By Jane Browning Special to Arkansas Catholic St. Mary's Church was originally built to serve Catholic soldiers stationed at Fort (Logan H.) Roots in North Little Rock, a city formerly known as Baring Cross and Argenta. A tiny building seating about 100 persons was erected in 1897 at 16th and Moss Sts. Mass was celebrated every Sunday by the priest stationed at St. Patrick Church a few miles away. Soon, a school was built to serve the children of about 20 families that joined the new parish. The Religious Sisters of Mercy from St. Patrick came i;:, every day to teach. Some of the first parish families were Zar- noski, Bauman, Joski, Kojeski, Hart, Wortsmith, Goshen and Thirion. The first resident priest, a Rev. Van Ree, came in 1904, but he was unable to stay long. A series of priests came and went over t the next several years. For a time, the little parish was attended by Benedictine priests from St. Edward Church in Little Rock Benedictine nuns from Jonesboro took over the school in 1905. They were St. M. Pin, Superior, Sr. M. Agatha, Sr. Fredolina and St. Edeltrudis. They taught school in a two-room cob rage next to the church. To this small, working-class parish came a zealous, newly-ordained priest, Rev. Peter Bartodziej (Bar-TOE-jay). During the 40 years of his tenure, from 1910-50, he built the parish, acquiring surrounding grounds and erecting needed buildings to house the nuns, Fundamentalism: A Catholic Perspec- tive, Thomas F. O'Meara, OP, Paulist Press, New Jersey, 1990, $5.95, paper, 103 pages. By Deborah Hilliard Directed at the "fundamentalist chal- lenge," this book delivers what Catho- lics need to know about the roots and fruits of fundamentalism. I opened this book with skepticism. Frankly, I didn't think the slim volume would have much to offer in the way of substantive material on a religious movement which has paralyzed so much of religious life in the South. I assumed (rightly, but narrowly) that fundamen- talism was born of fear - fear of think- ing and fear of changing. I knew that fundamentalism is used as a weapon against "Romanists" and other threats to literalism. O'Meara, in a simple (but not sim- the school and the growing congrega- tion. Forty-four eighth graders gradu- ated from St. Mary's in 1925. A major railroad strike in the mid-1920s struck the little parish hard, though, and many families had to relocate to find employ- ment. The resilient congregation recovered, however, and was able to build a new school in 1927. They built a two-story brick rectory the following year. The Benedictine sisters fromJonesboro and F" PAGE 12 ARKANSAS CATHOLIC JULY 22, pA Religious orde buried. The 1950s were prosperous years for the parish. In 1955, 31 children were in the First Holy Communion class. During the pastorate of Rev. Richard J. McCauley, a new church was built just west of the old church site, at 16th and Parker Sts. Bishop Albert L. Fletcher, DD, dedicated the church on May 11, 1958. The curved window frames from the old church were made into rocking chairs, still in service decades later. The second floor of the school was converted into the parish hall. Teachers in the school at this time were Sr. Jerome, principal, Sr. Barbara and Sr. Lucinia. They resided at Mt. St. Mary Academy in Little Rock. In 1962, following McCauley's retirement, Rev. Paul F. Desmond purchased more prop- erty to expand the playground of the school. The present school is located on this site. Desmond was succeeded by Rev. Charles S. Diamond, who served from 1964-73. In 1972, the old brick school was torn down and a new one built. Msgr. Charles F. Kordsmeier served the parish from 1975-79. Those who followed were Rev. FrancisJ.Janesko (1979-81), Rev. St. Mary Church, undated. Jesse c. Cheney (1981-82) and from Fort Smith had taught in the Rev. Richard M. Strock (1982-84). school, and the Religious Sisters of The KordsmeierFamilyCenter, stand- Mercy took the job in 1925. ing alongside the Church, was dedb Rev. Charles F. Stanowski succeeded cated in January, 1988. Rev. Robert A. Bartodziej, serving from 1950-54. Bar- -Tortes was pastor during this period todziej was reassigned to Immaculate The current congregation consists of Heart of Mary in Marche. Shortly there- families, and Rev. Scott Marczuk is after, the priest made several trips to pastor. Poland, where he passed away and is plistic) way, explores those and many more aspects of fundamentalism, in- cluding Catholic fundamentalism. Yep. Rightly and forthrightly, O'Meara says: "Recently Catholic fundamentalists have begun to redefine and control the word "orthodoxy." Orthodoxy means not just the writings of Ambrose or Bonaventure but the piety of this group. Just as Protestant fundamentalists are attempting to make "Christian" mean a follower of a televangelist, so Catholic fundamentalists use "orthodox" to mean someon6 who thinks as they do." It's comforting to see a theologian point out this increasingly abused defi- nition of %rthodox" - used so often as a self-description by people whose strangle-hold beliefs are often techni- cally heretical. O'Meara acknowledges different patterns and courses of thought with- out violence to any group. He doesn't have to be violent- he knows that all that's needed is an accurate description and the reader is left with an accurate By Carl Eifert Washington (CNS) - A trend of gious orders pulling their priests outl parish work apparently is under although its extent has yet to be ured. Franciscan priests are turning parishes back to bishops in four ceses, Redemptorists will leave parishes in three dioceses this and the Benedictines left one last As their members age and working numbers decrease, orders are facing the need to diocesan priests take over parish when that is more appropriate, so own members can help the poor, duct missions and teach. Religious-order priests in the totaled 18,558 last year, according the Official Catholic Directory, do from a high of about 23,000 in the nail C: 1960s. The figures include retireI di I members ol religious orders. . !i " d eJt So7 ~hReerVe s eFra~hlS Gfl~reS sPal .ecl P~:~ was "pressure from bishops upon gious orders" to staff parishes becaOl T of "the shortage of priests." J (! He said the center's study will Co aj lect figures and other information all religious - sisters, brothers and pties - but "we don't have hard data" noV/.| v picture. future...poor immigrants for whom church structures in the land to which they have immigrated are inadequate." Anyone wanting to see this quote in action may visit the immigrant and migrant Hispanic communities dotting southwest and northwest Arkansas, or black communities anywhere in the state. This is a good book. It describes fundamentalism upside-down and front- to-back, but my favorite description is To wit: fundamentalism: I 1 ...fundamentalism flourishes among* God in a thing - the Bible those who amid a constantly changing cannot, as Jimmy Swaggart does, deril I society can find no stable position in foreign policy from the Book of Gerl | society, or who in depressed economic sis"), a phrase ("Jesus as Lord conditions are without prospects for the Savior"), or an evangelist ("the fou d(| i of the faith and church and its s01e[ : leader ). }e[ 1 A direct llne to God - "This aO I,, matic access not only lets me know ' me miraculous interventions at my be l and call .... Those who do not have XX,('XAAA kAAXAAAAA special, identifiable way to outside of God's love." | * A God of miraclea - "...the divi I power frequently intervenes in ways at the command of the elite.... devil is [ also| prominent in fundagae l talism, almost an evil deity...used as | excuse [for sin or scandal]." I went into the book fully expecti l "l'll-neve to pitch it onto my shelf ofd read" books. But it's good, an helpful, and I know more about fund t mentalism now.