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Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
December 20, 1924     Arkansas Catholic
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December 20, 1924
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J THE GUARDIAN, DECEMBER 20, 1924. aL S l'" i exhibited in the origins of the Chr:s- vious opinion by the State Education ] PRBS UNI C. W. (' ;on, As beel on th m of tt re th, ivino c the sc he pel and th, at aw ] in w: ictorial ombs ' itholic '.tant s arches i : ,f the ;th and ' cast ii ifigh i :ft. fret ceram' fly Fat hosts. .at Sizi' irst tin 'eveal,s 'i entel , .. l feet I sixty unbro said t of arc .on pro awe, a he po, he ,pub] lons s a ff Cath mforta s, and .Xlame rsons f, ifJcal J 3onnell the ng con |OWS, Bostor. lg a st myst y co tpostle stratin ornise ST. ANDREW'S CATHEDRAL Little Rock, Ark. The history of the Cathedral parish dates from the beginning of the year 1838. Looking back over the period of the seventy-five years that have elasped since the first priest was stationed in Little Rock as resident pastor, one cannot but marvel at what has been accom- plished by the persistent ef/orts and zeal of the Bishops and priests to whom have been entrusted the work of implanting more firmly the faith in the hearts of those who were of the household of the faith. In the early days, the Catholics were few in number, and scattered, and bigotry was rife; nothing daunted the persistent efforts and zeal of the Bishop, priests and people bore fruit, and little by little progress was accomplished, until t5 day the Cathe- dral parish of St. Andrew's takes its place among the most flour- ishing of the South. The early history of the Cathedral parish is highly interest- ing. What was destined to be the foundation of the Cathedral parish, had its beginning in the coming to Little Rock of priests from the diocese of St. Louis, who made the long journey at in- tervals to minister to the needs of the people. As the numbers of Catholics increased, a resident pastor was installed to care for the spiritual welfare of the people ; in the year 1838, the Reverend Father Donnelly of St. Louis, was sent here. Little Rock was at that time a part of the St. Louis diocese. The first Mass celebrated in Little Rock was offered up by Father Donnelly in the year 1830, in a room over Dugan's store, on Main Street, near Second -the site which is now occupied by the Snodgrass & Bracy Drug Company. It is interesting to nora that in attendance at the Mass were the forefathers of some of the most prominent parishioners of the Cathedral parish, viz.: Jacob Reider, Mrs. Bowman, Mrs. De.mpsey, Mrs. Kinnear, Mrs. DeGursey, Miss Betty Bruder and five members of the Dugan family. As the numbers grew, a building on East Marl(ham near Third, was later used for religious services. In the year 1839, the Reverend Fathers Jos. Richard Bole and Paris, were sent here to erect a permanent structure on a block of ground bounded by what is now Louisiana and Cealter and Sixth and Seventh streets, at present occupied by the Arcade Building, and directly opposite the Cathedral, which property was gener- ously donated by Col. Chester Ashley, with a request that a school be erected thereon. This first church to be erected in Little Rock was a plain but comfortable structure, and in the spring of 1841 it was dedicated by the Right Reverend Bishop Loras of Dubuque, Iowa, and was known as the old "French Church ;" later in the same year a con- vent was built, and the Sisters of Loretta who had a house at St. Mary's, Jefferson County, Arkansas, took possession of it and opened a school for day pupils. In the year 1843 the State of Arkansas was separated from the diocese of St. Louis, and was erected into a diocese by the Holy See as the Diocese of Little Rock, and on March 10, ].844, the Right Reverend Andrew Byrne, D. D., was consecrated as the firs Bishop of Little Rock. Up to this time, although a church had been erected, . no provisions had been made for a home for the clergy, so a house o East Markham street was rented for that purpose. ]:n 1845 Bishop Byrne purchased the ground on the corner of Second and Center Street, and there erected the first St. Andrew's Cathedral, a modest frame structure of which Malacha Abbott was the architect. The first priest to be ordained in the diocese of Little Rock, the Reverend Father McKeown, received Holy Or- ders that same year. The first Mass said in the new Cathedral was offered up in November of that year. Mrs. Jacob Reider and daughter were baptized before the Mass, at which Mrs. Reider received first Communion, and was confirmed by the Right Reverend Bishop on the same day. In 1850 Bishop Byrne ordained the Reverend Reilly, Cochran and Wheeler; Father Reilly was rector of the Cathedral. Bishop Byrne later made a land, and returnin-.,', brought with him three young he later ordained to the Priesthood in the Cathedral; Fathers Patrick Reilly, Behan and Martin. Father appointed rector of the Cathedral, where he labored ly and was beloved and endeared by everyone who After 29 years his health l)eeame seriously impaired, the advice of his physician, he returned to Ireland 1879, hoping that the rest and change might restore h strength, but all to no avail. Ite died on the 29th of at the home of his cousin, Reverend A. Lynch, P. P., County Cavan, Ireland. Father Reilly, during the labor at the Cathedral, served as rector, and later, on Bishop Byrne, in June, 1862, as Administrator of until the consecration of the Right Reverend Edward second Bishop of IAttle Rock, when he was made the Diocese. As a memorial, the bell in the present Little Rock was dedicated in his honor. Realizing the need of co-workers in the cause of Bishop Byrne, accompanied by his chaplain, the Shehann, went to h'eland to secure a community of the Mercy to labor in his diocese, and on November 30, eleven Sisters, sailed for-home. They reached Little Ro ruary 5, 1851, and upon their arrival the Right surrendered his home ad.]oining the church for their and his three students made their home temporarily wit Judge D. W. Carroll. The Cathedral parish at that ed of tweh, e families. The Sisters opened a day school on the property by the Southern Trust Company, with an attendance of pupils, nearly all of whom were non-Catholics. Two pupils of this school are still living and are thedral parish: Mrs. Cassie Reider Newton and Mrs. Butlei. A Sunday School was also opened at that pupils in attendance, Miss Cassie Reider,and Miss The irst named is well known to the citizens of Little widow of the late General Robert Crittendon Newton, latter, the daughter of the late Judge Carroll, passed arly in life. After the completion of the Cathedral on West the Sisters of Mercy took up their residence in the Church," at the corner of Seventl md Louisiana ters of Loretta having gone back to Pine Bluff and small and cramped, it was sufficiently large to meet of the early days, With the growth of,the parish, school was separated from the academy, and a more building was erected on the corner of Sixth and In 1871, Father O'Kean, who had been laborin tas, Arkansas, was maderector of the Cathedral. torate a Benevolent Society and a Young 'Men's formed. Ile was much loved and esteemed by all who and his sudden death, in August, 1875, was a shock to community, tie was succeeded by the Reverend Henneman, who also was Vicar General of the years. Father tIenneman was a man of great piety was born in Munich, September 6, 1838, and died in. home mt Christmas, 188q. The Reverend Doctor Halliman was appointed Father Henneman as rector of the Cathedral and alsO General of. the Diocese, coming here at the solicitation Fitzgerald. For six years he devoted his time and upbuilding of the Cathedral parish. He died at the cousin, the late Col. Patrick Raleigh, in Little Rock, on 12, 1887. The great progress and ever increasing prosperity Catholic Church in Little Rock was strongly I: