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Catholic Pioneers

 

All over the United States you will see the monuments of their passage. The work of the Catholic Church in this land during the country’s early period might be divided in to the following categories: Discoverers, Founders of Colonies, Explorers, Missionaries, and writers. De Soto discovered the Mississippi and named it in honor of the Holy Ghost. Marquette traveled it for a great distance and dedicated it to the Immaculate Conception. Hennepin ascended to the Falls which he named in the Baptist, and bestowed on the Chesapeake the name of St. Mary. New Mexico bears the name given by a Catholic missionary 385 years ago. In a word they were Catholic navigators, who gave Catholic names to rivers, bays, promontories, and capes, from the river St. John in the south to the river St. Lawrence in the north.

In 1776 there were 25,000 Catholics or 1-120 of the entire population. In 1790 there was one bishop, 30 priests and a proportionate number of churches. Today we can count numerous Cardinals, Archbishops, bishops, priests, nuns, and churches.

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