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Memoirs of a Beggar
By Bishop O’Brien

Part Twenty-Four
Interned for Three Years in World War I

HARVEY, ILLINOIS, is situated about twenty miles south of Chicago, as the crow flies. Across the tracks to the East is the town of Phoenix, both of which combine to make a thriving, home-loving, industrial community. In days gone by when the village of Harvey was formed, it was yellowed with the same anti-Catholic prejudice as the bigger town of Pullman several miles north along the Illinois Central Railroad, About the middle eighties of the last century, the Rev. William Foley was the priest in charge of Harvey and all the surrounding territory, including Chicago Heights to the South. He, the founder and pastor in 1903 of St. Ambrose's Church on east 47th Street, died as a Monsignor. When an effort was made to build the first Catholic church in Harvey, the commissioners refused to allow it, so a small frame church had to be erected on the outskirts of the town at what is now the corner of 153rd and Myrtle Avenue, almost the center of the present city. Just after the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, the Rev. Bernard J. Feeley became the first resident pastor of this little church. The first thing he did was to buy a one-story wooden shanty someplace, move it over to a lot almost next to the church, put a lean-to back on it, and there he and his two successors lived for a number of years. Take a look at its picture. It was the Rev. George McCarthy, the second pastor, who moved the shanty church back, placed it upon a one-story brick foundation and used it as a school. He erected the present red brick church which has been the pride of the Catholic people of Harvey ever since. In the spring of 1918, Father McCarthy harkened to the call of his country and went into the army as a chaplain. As a large number of chaplains had preceded him from the Diocese of Chicago, the Chancery Office had to look around for a supply-priest, and the late Rev. Anthony Wolfgarten, then a professor at Quigley College, was sent down to look after the parish, Father Wolfgarten was a very zealous to man, a splendid professor and perhaps wiser than most people thought him, because in the two Masses on the Sunday that he preached in the Ascension to Church in Harvey, and remember he was of German ancestry, he told the people very frankly that he thought the war was unjust and that it might be a losing venture to subscribe for to Liberty Bonds. The people's resultant protest decided the Chancery Office that it would be a precarious thing to send him back again the next Sunday! A few days afterward came a message to the EXTENSION office from the Rev. Dennis Dunne, who was then the assistant Chancellor, telling me to go down to Harvey the coming Wednesday evening and take charge of the annual closing exercises of the school, which were being held in the hall of the neighboring public school. The ancestry of the people of the Ascension parish in 1918 can readily be judged by the fact that the children participating in the closing exercises of the school were dressed twenty-one different national costumes. The Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan, who have the taught in the Ascension school for forty years, had them all waving little American flags and singing, "My Country 'Tis of Thee!" Getting back to Chicago, after the closing exercises of the school, at about two o'clock the next did morning, which you can readily understand if you are a suburbanite, made me think that I was well rid of the place! On the following Friday, Father Dunne called me again and said, "Go down to Harvey tomorrow afternoon, hear the confessions and say the two Masses on Sunday, for we haven't got a priest for the place yet." I did! Reports must have reached the Chancery Office in the next day or two that I had waved the flag and told the people that Liberty Bonds were the best investment they could possibly make, which in after years they proved to be, as will all our War Savings Bonds in a the future. The following Saturday, I had my good friend, the late Mr. Leo J. Doyle, EXTENSION's attorney, out to St. Mary's Training School, Des Plaines, Illinois, at the request of Father James M. Doran, then the Superintendent, so that Leo might give the closing address us to the graduates. Archbishop Mundelein was presiding. Hardly had the first two numbers on the program been given when Father Doran leaned over to where I was sitting and said, "The Archbishop wants to talk to you!" We exchanged places, and as I sat down at the Archbishop's side, he said to me rather sharply, "Why aren't you in Harvey this afternoon?" "W-w-w-h-h-y, n-n-n-o-o-b-b-o-d-d-y t-t-o-l-d m-m-e t-t-o g-g-o there today." "Well," he replied, "somebody should have told you, and you should be out there now!" Rising quickly, naturally flustered, I forgot to make my obeisance or say good-by to anybody. Mother Superior had somebody take me down to the Des Plaines station in the school jalopy. Waiting there for about an hour before a suburban train came along, having to cross the city from the Northwestern to the Illinois Central depot, waiting another hour or so there for a local Saturday evening train to take me from Chicago to Harvey, it is not to be wondered that I did not arrive at the parish house in Harvey until about half past eight that night. As the housekeeper opened the door she greeted me, "Well! Why weren't you here this afternoon to hear confessions?" "Lady," I said, "you had better get out of my way!" She did! I found an old cassock, about a foot and a half too long, got over to the confessional, was greeted by the glowering glances of forty or fifty weary people and heard all their confessions. At about ten-thirty that evening, I sat down with the housekeeper who gave me instructions on when to say the Masses and what announcements to make the following day! (Did you notice that I didn't have any supper during all this?) The next morning I heard confessions before the Masses at eight and ten o'clock, gave the announcements and instruction at each a Mass, baptized five or six children after the eight and gave two-dollar receipts to various individuals who were paying their quarterly pew rent. I noticed that the collection of each Mass had disappeared, but was reassured later, learning a young man had taken them over to the rectory. After the Masses, I went down to the local station, waited about two hours for the Sunday afternoon train and got back home late Sunday evening. Sometimes you don't have to go outside the suburbs of a big city to find that you've got a hard missionary job! If I never see Harvey I again, thought I, it will be too soon! And not even a dime of an offering for expenses, after my third trip! A couple days afterward, the Rev. Edward F. Hoban, Chancellor of the Diocese, called me up to say, "Will, you've been appointed administrator of Harvey! What did you say?" he asked. "I didn't say anything!" "Well," he continued, "your voice doesn't sound as if you were happy about it. You will get the letter of appointment tomorrow! " Arriving at the Harvey rectory at about two o'clock the following Saturday afternoon with a suitcase containing a cassock and some clothes, I was shown upstairs to the front room of the two-story shanty, told that would be my domicile and given to understand that the small bathroom was also to be half mine. By this time, I was beginning to realize what a wily, foxy gentleman was my friend, Father Anthony Wolfgarten! He taught me the very salutary lesson that if you don't like the job to which you're assigned, mess it up, and you won't last long! Now perhaps you can understand why I've been in EXTENSION for nearly half a century! Letter of Appointment Archdiocese of Chicago Chancery Office 740 Cass Street Chicago, Ill. July 3rd, 1918 Rev. William D. O'Brien, The Catholic Church EXTENSION Society, M cCormick Bldg., 332 So. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. "My dear Father O'Brien: "I formally appoint you, herewith, temporary Administrator, for the duration of the absence of the Rector, of the parish of the Ascension in Harvey. As such, you will be responsible directly to me and until recalled by me, of all affairs, temporal and spiritual, of the parish. You will take charge of all monies and administer the various material necessities of the parish, take charge of the school, and concerning all these things, report to me from time to time. "Wishing you every success in your newly-added field of labor, I beg to remain, Sincerely yours in Christ," George W. Mundelein Archbishop of Chicago Administrator of Harvey Oh, I was able to take over the parish without murdering anybody, even if it was a narrow squeeze! Although only the morning and night pastor of the place, because every day I was at my desk at EXTENSION, except from Friday evening until Monday morning, when I remained in Harvey, it did not take long to learn how much the people loved Father George McCarthy. Every Sunday morning, standing in the back of the church, shaking hands with the people, the invariable question was, "Good morning, Father! When is Father McCarthy coming back?' The war would have ended much sooner had I anything to say about it! Father McCarthy's priestly zeal, his pastoral efforts and oratorical ability, made him, during the years he pastored Ascension parish, the outstanding citizen of Harvey. Not only his parishioners, but even the children felt the impression of his personality. We had Catechism class for the public school children every Sunday after the ten o'clock Mass, taught, of course, by the Dominican Sisters under the direction of Sister M. Rose Vincent, whose leadership was inspiring to all the parish. After the lesson came the pastor's talk. The subject one Sunday was "The Saints." One of the church windows is a good picture of St. George. There's a saint of God," I said, pointing to it. "Can any of you tell me what saint it is? All right, son," I said, pointing to the little fellow whose hand was highest in the air. "Who is it?" “Father McCarthy !" was the astounding reply! When a priest is appointed administor of a parish in the sickness or absence of the regular pastor, he takes over the spiritual, material and financial administration of the parish, aided and advised by two or three gentlemen trustees taken from among the members of the parish. The trustees Ascension Parish then were Mr. August Verhoven and Mr. John Keyes, former a tall, thin elderly Catholic gentleman of Dutch ancestry. For many years Mr. Verhoven had a farm out a mile east of the 147th Street station fronting on the main road. Mrs. Verhoven was an invalid. I had the privilege of bringing her Holy Communion many mornings before she passed to her eternal reward. The other trustee was Mr. John Keyes, an elderly bachelor who turned out to be brother of the Most Rev. Michael J. Keyes, S.M., D.D., who, after a decade of service in the office of the Apostolic Delegate in Washington, was made Bishop of Savannah in Georgia, although he retired some years ago. John was good enough to act as a sexton, usher and general advisor. Sometimes a bishop's brother doesn't realize the bishop's worth. It was good Bishop Keyes who told me some years after that John said to him one day, "Mike, I can't understand why the Church made you a Bishop instead of Father O'Brien out there at Harvey! " Of course, I was the only one who agreed with John at that time, but that is how it is among relations! No pastor is ever able to do anything in any parish, large or small, a without the co-operation of his people. As these words are dictated, there are before me annual reports for 1919, 1920 and the first six months of 1921 which were published back in my time in Harvey, in compliance with the law of the Diocese that the annual reports be printed and presented to the people of every parish every year. An outstanding prelate once said to me, "Do you always judge people by what they give to the Church?" "No," was my reply, "because the great majority of our people can give very little, but when people are fairly well off they should contribute according to their means to the Church." Many pastors, however, will agree that as most of our Catholic people go up into higher financial brackets, their donations to the Church go down proportionately. Looking at the 1919 annual report of Ascension Church of Harvey, Illinois. I have checked about twenty-five family names --- German, French, Polish, Irish, Italian, Lithuanian and others --- of people who were constant contributors to the Church Subscription Fund, Easter, Christmas, Associated Charities, Peter's Pence and School Maintenance, besides having two or more seats in a pew in the church. Were these names to be listed here in this article and others left out, the children of today might resent it, so we pass on just by saying there was never a more devoted, Catholic and generous congregation, according to their means, than those of Harvey during the three years I had the privilege of serving them. Several months after taking over in Harvey, I put on two more Sunday Masses and secured the Rev. Father Charles Scharff to assist in the parish work over Sundays. He was a great help to me and the parish, and his coming made known to the boys of Harvey and Phoenix Mount Carmel High School at 64th and Dante Sts. Harvey's Catholic Societies Garcia Mareno Council No.1660 Knights of Columbus Harvey, Illinois November 12, 1925 "Dear Monsignor O'Brien: "It was with a feeling of great joy that we learned of your elevation to the rank of Monsignor. We were gratified to learn of your promotion when you succeeded Bishop Kelley as President of the great Catholic Church EXTENSION Society, that pioneer of Catholicity in the scattered outposts of America. It has been with great pride that we have watched the rebuilding of that grand old Church of St. John's, a task which few would care to have undertaken and fewer still could have accomplished as you did. These, with the many other gigantic undertakings in which you have steadily by surly forged ahead, have been the means of bringing to us no small amount of pleasure.” Peter Kerkhoven Recorder My association with the Garcia Mareno Council in those days was a source of great consolation because they assisted in every way possible to make a success of the annual bazaar he and any other church affairs which the pastor sponsored. However, having been a member of Englewood Council No. 324 for many years before going down to Harvey, I never transferred. Having been inducted into the Order away back in 1903, I can now boast of being one of the oldest Knights of Columbus. Back in 1920, the officers of Garcia Mareno Council were: Grand Knight, J. J. O'Rourke; Deputy Grand Knight, Arthur Broderick; in Past Grand Knight, Daniel Bradley; Financial Secretary, H. Hilgendorf. In a former article, you were told how in the early days of the EXTENSION Society the Catholic Order of Foresters at one of their Conventions passed a resolution assessing all the members of the Order ten cents a year for years, which resulted in a check amounting to $27,082.04 for the home missions. When it was presented to me at their Convention some two years later, we were requested to give $10,000 of it to the Canadian home missions, which was done. I joined the Foresters' Ascension Court No. 1555 down in Harvey and have remained in it ever since. Then, the High Chief Ranger was Charles F. Biggerstaff; Vice Chief Ranger, William Springman; Past Grand Knight, Lawrence Halpin and the Treasurer, then of and through all these years, Thomas A. Gerlach, to whom my annual dues are so sent even to this day. As Spiritual rector of Ascension Court, I seldom an missed one of their meetings which were always attended by such gentlemen as August Verhoven, Peter Pelletier, Michael Lawler, Lawrence Halpin, Daniel Bradley and ten or twelve others. Ascension Court No. 273, Women's Catholic Order of Foresters, was also very active in helping in the Church work during the few years of my incumbency. Looking over the list of officers, they were: Chief Ranger, Mrs. Kramer; Vice-Chief Ranger, Nellie GettIer; Financial Secretary, Anna Reid and Treasurer, Anna Lemons. The annual report also shows another Court of the Women's Order of Forest- ers, St. George's, No. 802, of which the Chief Ranger was Ellen Monckton; the Vice - Chief Ranger, Irene Monahan; Financial Secretary, Jennie Quirk; Recording Secretary, Anna Smith and the Treasurer, Mary Lusson. Of all my associations in Harvey, perhaps the choir was the one which gave me most consolation, not because I occasionally pumped the organ, but, because of their weekly practice under the guidance of Mrs. James A. Scully, assisted by the organist, Miss Pauline Fiske. Mr. and Mrs. James A. Scully were leaders in the parish. Mrs. Scully built up the choir composed of outstanding young men and young women of the parish. The list of them in the annual report for 1919 begins with Loni and Mary Howland, Ernestine Lapoint, Alberta St. Aubin, Helen Holmes, Marguerite and Cathleen Cairns, Catherine O'Brien, Mary Weis, Therese Scully, Elizabeth Hazeltine and Dorothy Michaels. Among the men who helped out were Henry Hilgendorf, James Munro, James Scully, Gus Verhoven, Charles Whalen, Patrick Nilon, Edward Shea and Gerald Scully. The ushers as listed were Terrance Moran, John J. McGlone, John Ryan, John Riordan, F. Smith, Aug. Schutz, A. Lemons, John Keyes and T. A. Gerlach. On Sunday, April 19th, 1953, your humble servant preached the Silver Ju-bilee sermon for the Rev. Gordon a Michaels, pastor of St. Paul's Church in Joliet, Illinois. Gordon Michaels o was the prize altar boy in Ascension Church in my few years there, ably assisted by Joseph Springman, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, invalided some years ago by an accident when he was teaching parochial school children to play football. Herbert Weis, Francis Genovese, John Himette, Joseph Detloff, Joseph St. Aubin, Roy in Wissel, George Fiske and Thomas Hall were the others. The Associated Catholic Charities is the top charitable organization of the Archdiocese of Chicago. It operates mainly through the St. Vincent de Paul Society, organized in all the individual parishes of the Archdiocese. Every parish is assessed an annual quota, proportionate to the parish's congregation. You understand, of course, that the Catholic population of the Archdiocese of Chicago is the largest in the country, nearly a million and three quarter souls, necessitating a tremendous charity program and requiring a vast amount of money to care for the poor, the sick, the unfortunate, the homeless and the wayward, principally of our own people. This year of grace, 1953, more than four million dollars will be expended by the forty-six charitable agencies operated out of the Catholic Charities' Central Office at 126 North Desplaines Street, Chicago, Illinois. Under the general direction of His Eminence, Samuel Cardinal Stritch, the Rt. Rev. Vincent W. Cooke, assisted by half a dozen other clergy, require the full-time services of more than 130 lay employees such as bookkeepers, clerks, stenographers and especially social workers. Incidentally, all these social workers are college graduates, trained in social work, which makes them spe- cialists in visiting poor families, investigating applications for Old People's Homes, counseling unmarried mothers and aiding them in making plans for their babies, not to mention interviewing daily streams of people who apply for help in the many and varied problems of life in a great city, the surrounding suburbs and the rest of the Archdiocese. A postcard would bring you one of the Charities' monthly newsletters. You'd be proud of all the charity being done! And even though the Catholic Charities share in Chicago's Community Chest and the Chicago Tribune's Charity Fund, there is always a big deficit at the end of the year. In making your Will, even before you remember the EXTENSION Society, you could put in this form; "I hereby give, bequeath and devise unto the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago the sum of $ (don't be a piker!) to be ex- pended by it in furtherance of its objects and purposes." Don't ever change the legal form of any corporation to which you're leaving money, or your bequest will be nullified! Back in the year 1920, each parish took up an annual collection for the Associated Catholic Charities, and that in Harvey was $860.10. At that time, our St. Vincent de Paul Society operated as far south as Chicago Heights and as far east as the Indiana border. We had a meeting every week attended by the President, Terrance Moran ; Vice-President, August Verhoven ; second Vice-President, James Scully; Secretary, John J. McGlone and the Treasurer, William Cairns. Our St. Vincent de Paul Society was organized November 24, 1918, and the first report submitted showed that during the year the total receipts were $1,969.47 of which the Associated Catholic Charities gave us $1,814.68. The gentlemen of the St. Vincent de Paul Society were unremitting in their visits to the poor and, as said before, we went over to the Indiana border. One call which Mr. Moran and I made in that neighborhood was to the mother of a large Italian family whose husband had been killed at work. We allotted her $50 a month until other arrangements could be made. After three months, a representative of a certain Chicago charitable organization, whose operating expenses at that time were 83% of what they used to collect, came to me and said, "Father, this family must have $150 a month to exist!" "But, lady," I said, "they have been living for several months now on the $50 a month that the St. Vincent de Paul Society gives them, so according to your statement they should have been dead sixty days ago. Why doesn't your organization give them the other $100 a month?" They didn't! We Had a Mission A good mission for all the people of the parish usually brings out most of them. I made arrangements with the Jesuit Fathers, Reverends John Cun- ningham and Joseph Wise, but was not able to get them until December of that year, which was 1918. Although the weather was bitter cold, the church was packed during the two weeks' mission, one for the men and the other for the women. At the time the housekeeper was of Hungarian extraction. She made the mission very faithfully. One evening after the services were over she said in high jubilation, "Thank God! Hell is filled!" "What do you mean?" I asked. "Well," she said, "Father Cunningham said, 'all roads lead to hell! Wide is the way, the gates are open and many are crowding in!' " She wasn't much wrong at that! Father Cunningham usually said the first Mass at 5:00 a.m., preached and heard confessions afterwards. Father Wise said the other Mass at eight and did likewise. One morning Father Cunningham did not show for his breakfast at about seven o'clock, so the housekeeper was a bit upset. Finding that he wasn't in the church, I came back to the house and went upstairs where the good man was stretched out on the bed fast asleep. I awoke him with, "Soup's on!" As he came down into the little dining room and the housekeeper saw him, she said, slightly miffed, "Ze halo is busted!" Figure it out, yourself! One of those bitter winter nights after the services were over, a sick call came in from the end of the parish over near Blue Island. As I tried to excuse myself, Father Cunningham said; "Father, I am going with you on that sick call!" He insisted, so we set out into the cold, snowy night, saying the rosary together because I was carrying the Blessed Sacrament. After we walked about half a mile north we turned west about two blocks, and although knowing the road much better than Father Cunningham, I almost slipped into a little creek, yet it was he who saved me. Although I had brought Holy Communion several times to the dear old grandmother to whom we were going, when we knocked on the door the grandson, who was rather pugnacious, said that his grandmother didn't need the priest! Father Cunningham was a big, husky gentleman, and he gently but firmly pushed the fellow aside saying: "We're coming in!" Standing beside the dear old lady, realizing that she was dying and would have to be anointed, I said to Father; "Do you understand German?" "No," he said, "I don't." "Well, sit over there in the corner while I hear her confession." I then gave her the Viaticum. If you happen to be a non-Catholic, that is the Latin for "on the way with you," or in other words, Holy Communion for the last time. Then I finished up with the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, the last anointing, one of the most beautiful of the seven sacraments of the Church in which the priest anoints with holy oil the eyes, the ears, the lips, the palms of the hands and that portion of the feet just above the toes, asking Almighty God to forgive the one anointed for all the sins of their lives through any of the senses. On the way home you should have heard the good Jesuit priest, God rest him, rant about the hard work that a pastor usually has to do, like working in the office of a mission society all day, trying to take care of a parish half the night and especially on Saturdays and Sundays! If you live outside big cities, you know that there are thousands of our priests doing similar work in country places, traveling many miles between them, but even they are worked no harder than the priests of the city parishes, who in most cases are like squirrels in a treadmill! Oh, yes, the pastor may have a little longer vacation, or the assistant might be able to give you a few extra points in a handicap match, but all in all, there are no men of any profession, of any avocation in the world, who work harder than the ordinary priest! Outside of paying $4,000 on the church debt and installing a new organ, about the only thing materially worthwhile that was done in Harvey during my three years there as administrator was the purchase of the land just west of the school, west to the next street, for what would now be the insignificant sum of $1,100. It couldn't have been done but for Mr. Jerry O'Rourke, then the postmaster of Harvey. You should have heard me peal the church bell on Armistice Day! It's a wonder it didn't fall through the little steeple! ! I still preserve my registration cards of the first and second wars, although never getting further than being a Liberty Bond salesman in the first one, with the then Captain J, M. Lonergan, who is now the pastor of the Nativity B.V.M. Parish in Menominee, in the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois. While many of the chaplains were away helping to win the war, down in Harvey, I was assistant chairman of the bond drive in the first war, acting pastor of Ascension parish, assistant principal of the parochial school, part-time janitor during the winters, as each one if the fellows who had the job was drafted, and most every week-day hopped the 8:30 train into Chicago in order to be in the EXTENSION office at about nine o'clock. Those three years in Harvey were among the best years of my life! The kindness, charity and co-operation not only of the Catholic people of the parish, but of many of the non-Catholics, are among my cherished memories! Outstanding amongst those of the non-Catholics was that gracious gentleman, Dr. Noble. Do you remember the plague called "la grippe," the disease then called influenza, which swept the world during those war years? Millions of people throughout the world died of it, hundreds of thousands of them here at home. Once a month, I would stay around the school to read out the monthly re- ports. After doing so one day, I can still see the little boy who ran out the door, stopped at the curb and poured out his life's blood into the gutter! Dr. Noble, a non-Catholic Mason, was charitable enough to go to every flu patient reported to him. One evening as I stood beside the father of a little family, who was in the last stage of the flu, Dr. Noble said to me; "Father, you should put a handkerchief over your nose and your mouth when you are so close to these sick people." "Oh, Doctor," I replied, "is that so necessary?" Within the month, in the middle of the night, the flu struck me! Were it not for my brother Michael, who had left a job in Chicago to come down to Harvey to run the church furnace until somebody else could be hired, the flu would have killed me. That was in those awful days of prohibition, but he did not hesitate to use the Scotch prescription! The next morning at about nine o'clock, good Dr. Noble was at the door of the priest's house with his horse and buggy and drove me over to the St. Francis Hospital in nearby Blue Island. The late Rev. Theodore G. Gross, who had been the pastor of St. Benedict's Parish there for so many years, anointed me. What a grand priest he was! After celebrating his Golden Jubilee in 1952, he passed to his eternal reward early this year. Coming to, after a few days, one of the Sisters who was washing my face and hands said; "Father, you nearly died with the flu!" She then brought me something to eat, and after she had left the room (of course, you won't believe this) I got up, got into my clothes and stole out of the hospital and downtown to the EXTENSION office! Dr. Kelley nearly threw a conniption fit when he saw me! Father Ledvina told me to go right back to the hospital, because he was afraid the office force would be infected! I took the rest of the day off, went home and forgot about the flu. Of course, the Sisters sent no bill, but during the past year when they were enlarging St. Francis Hospital, (which has been the greatest blessing the town of Blue Island has ever had in all its history) one of their circulars asking for a donation reached me. Oh, how much did I give? Ask the Sisters! But, be sure and send your donation when doing so! Ascension Parish Today It is more than thirty years since the Beggar had the privilege of serving the good Catholic people of Harvey. Some time after coming back from the war, Father George McCarthy was appointed to establish St. Margaret Mary's Parish in the district west of Rogers Park. Several years before that a good Catholic Luxemburger, who lived in West Rogers Park neighborhood, departed this life. In his will he left $10,000 to The Catholic Church EXTENSION Society which was to be used for the home missions, unless previous to June 1st, 1921, a new parish was established in the vicinity in which he had lived. A few weeks before that time, Archbishop Mundelein called the EXTENSION office and asked if we could please send the check for $10,000 to the Chancery Office inasmuch as Father George McCarthy had been appointed to establish the new parish. No, EXTENSION does not help large city parishes except with designated gifts over which we have no control. The only other donation given to the Archdiocese of Chicago was $15,000 to help build St. Mary's in Mundelein, Illinois. We're glad to act as your agent in giving any amount to any Catholic Charity if you wish to remain anonymous. My successor at Ascension Church was the Rev. Philip J. Furlong who, for many years, had been a professor at Quigley Preparatory Seminary. He lived only a few years after retiring from Harvey. His successor was the Rev. Pat. J. Hennessy, formerly pastor of St. Mary's in Joliet, who was transferred from there because the Carmelite Fathers had been given the parish with the understanding that they were also to take over the Catholic High School in Joliet. The next pastor was the Rev. Edward D. Holloway, who, after several years of splendid pastoral work there, was promoted to the large Parish of Queen of Angels on the northwest side of Chicago. His successor was the present pastor, the Rev. James E. Shevlin, who, for many years before, had been the Chaplain at Colum- bus Hospital. My three successors, like myself, were content to live in the old shanty which served as the priests' home in Harvey for about half a century! Father Furlong had torn down the old school and with the aid of a generous people erected the present magnificent building, fortunately before the inflationary prices of the last eight or ten years set in. Father Shevlin had courage enough, a few years ago, to erect the present rectory, so that now Ascension Parish in Harvey is not only one of the outstanding parishes in the southern part of the Diocese, but during the past ten years or so has been able to give up territory both to the north and south for new parishes. Someday, sooner or later, the pastor of Harvey is going to build a church on the corner of 153rd and Myrtle Avenue which will measure up to the zeal of the pastor and the piety of the people, and someday the school will be filled with enough children to necessi- tate a home for the Sisters, who at present live on one of the upper floors of the school. Only then, will Ascension Parish of Harvey, Illinois, take its place among the more prominent churches outside the city of Chicago. It was in the month of April, 1921, that I was called to the office of Archbishop Mundelein, at which time His Excellency told me that he was appointing me pastor of Harvey! You know, there was a time when I was somewhat diffident and would always sort of stutter when talking to an Archbishop! Oh yes, I got over it in the years, but did stutter a bit then saying to the Archbishop; "d-d-d-o-e-s that m-m-mean that I m-m-must g-g-give up EXTENSION?" Looking up at me in amazement he said; "Do you want to stay in EXTENSION all your life ?" "W-w-ell," I said; "if I h-had any ch-ch-choice I w-w-would !" "If I let you stay in EXTENSION," he said, "will you promise that you will never ask for a parish in your life?" "Yes, Your Grace," was my answer. His Excellency stood up, held out his hand as I knelt and kissed the archiepiscopal ring and took my departure. On the way back to the office wondering at my nerve, I praised God for letting me stay in EXTENSION. Fifteen years of it had taught me that the Home Missions was one of the greatest works in the church. After forty-six years of it am still of the same opinion! Many times during the past thirty years the former administrator has often wondered what might have been his future had he accepted the Ascension Parish when offered to him by Archbishop Mundelein. It would have changed the destinies of some of the zealous priests mentioned herewith and ...woe of woes! ...the Memoirs would never have been written! Which brings to mind the words from Pilgrims' Progress--- Some said, "John, print it;" Others said, "Not so." Some said, "It might do good ,” Others said, "No." This Article was taken from, “The National Catholic Monthly” Extension, August 1953, Volume 48 No. 3