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THE IRISH AND THE ITALIANS

New York Tribune April 19, 1908  - In addition to the task of interesting the Italians in the Church there was always the fear of a clash between them and the Irish. September 20, celebrated by the Italians as the consummation of their national glory and marking the occupation of Rome by Victor Emmanuel and the downfall of temporal power, was a day cordially hated by the Irish Catholics, and ever so small a cause would have served to provoke an attack by them upon the annual procession of the Italians. To ask the Irish Catholics of the diocese to welcome these people, whom they hated as whole heartedly as they did the Orangemen, and to recognize them as brother Catholics and help them in their worship in the Catholic faith, was asking much, and probably none but those stout hearted clergymen of the early days of the diocese would have dared to ask it. But they dared, and in the vernacular of the present day they "made good." When they were through the Irish lion and the Italian lamb, or the Italian lion and the Irish lamb — it doesn't matter which — were lying peacefully side by side.

The need of Italian priests was quickly recognized by both Cardinal McCloskey and Archbishop Corrigan, and by both the condition of the Italian people here was brought to the attention of the Pope as well as to the bishops of Italy. Their representations produced results, and by 1902 fifty Italian clergymen had arrived and were working in the diocese. Churches were opened to them, and several missions for Italian people were held. In addition three of the religious societies — the Pious Society of Missions, the Piacenza Fathers and the Salesians — took up the work for the Italians. Meantime the Germans, whose numbers had been increasing steadily, had become a factor of no mean proportions in the affairs of the diocese. Like the Irish, they early entered politics. In the varying issues sometimes they were with the Irish, but oftener they were arrayed against them. However, the two races managed to get along fairly well together.

IMAGE:

Rome by Silvia Mannarelli