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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Cross and Flag. The Buffalo Eucharistic Congress of 1947

by  Paul Lubienecki, PhD

On November 8, 1946, Bishop John O’Hara of Buffalo announced that a great honor was bestowed upon the diocese and the city. Buffalo was selected to host the Provincial Eucharistic Congress from September 22-25, 1947. This was only the fourth time such an event was held in the United States.[i]  The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo had been chosen in 1947 for two specific reasons. First, established in April 1847, this was to commemorate the diocese’s centenary anniversary and to thank “the Almighty God for the graces and blessings of our first century of Catholic life.” Furthermore, it was a collective expression of faith in “thanksgiving for victory in the World War.” [ii]  It also evolved into a condemnation of anti-Christian (Communist) ideologies. While local in form, the Buffalo event took on an international identity as dignitaries from around the world attended.[iii]  

The significance of a Eucharistic Congress is primarily spiritual, but there is a temporal component. These assemblies, which still occur, are gatherings of clergy and laity to celebrate and venerate the Holy Eucharist and find the best means to spread knowledge of this Sacrament. The main advantage of these Congresses is to promote devotion and theological discussion of this principle dogma of the Catholic faith.


Bishop Gaston de Ségur of Lille, France, created the first Eucharistic Congress that convened in 1881. Initially, this was to be a regional event. However, this movement’s popularity and importance grew, and subsequent gatherings were organized yearly throughout France. The Congress became international in scope in 1893 when it assembled in Jerusalem. Here a dialog about a reunion with the Eastern Churches commenced. Since then, these assemblies became more ecumenical as members of the Eastern Rite and leaders from various non-Roman Catholic denominations participated.


The Eucharistic Congresses were more than just spiritual affairs. Beginning with the Congress at Reims, France, in 1894, discussions about labor problems and solutions to social questions were part of the agenda. As these gatherings expanded over the years, so did the topics, and these conventions expanded into an informal discussion forum. Committee meetings on youth, the family, immigration, and other pertinent matters were nearly as fundamental as the Eucharistic devotions.[iv] This was evident at Buffalo in 1947.

When the International Eucharistic Congress convened in Chicago in 1926, it generated great excitement for America’s Catholics. They proved their patriotism in the First World War and were established leaders in business and government. Their faith and national pride symbolized Catholics’ place in American society, as many now believed that Catholicism in America had achieved parity within society.[v]  After the Second World War, the Catholic Church in the United States began a decade-long expansion and further integration into American culture. This was the era of the “brick and mortar Church” with new parishes, hospitals, schools, and universities. The assembly in Buffalo reflected this new self-assured attitude.

John Chapter 14, Verse 6: An American Idea

The general theme of the Eucharistic Congress centered on the New Testament verse: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” For Bishop O’Hara, this was more than a spiritual matter as the Congress also represented American values in not so subtle terms. On the eve of the Congress, Bishop O’Hara, an avowed anti-Communist who supported industry and government over labor, broadcast a local radio address that detailed Congress’s programs.[vi] However, his statement focused more on Americanism and reflected the anti-Communist sentiment of that time. In his speech, the Bishop’s opening remarks cited FBI director J. Edgar Hoover’s call to loyalty against “all forms of subversive groups working to undermine our Republic.” O’Hara then referred to President Truman’s recent letter to Pope Pius XII where Truman declared “this is a Christian nation” and that “a renewed faith in the dignity and worth of the human person in all lands” was required to protect an individual’s sacred rights “inherent to his relationship to God.”

Bishop O’Hara praised Truman for his strong words. O’Hara claimed that all who believed in God should “thank God for the faith and wisdom that dictated that message of Americanism.” In his radio speech, the Bishop equated being a good Catholic with being a good American. He declared that the state’s civil authority was a divine institution; consequently, Catholics needed to rekindle their faith and become better citizens. O’Hara professed that the mission of the Buffalo Eucharistic Congress was to pray for peace, truth, and “hope that the enemies of God and free men will not prevail.” [vii]  The spiritual and religious theme of the assembly now echoed with the undertones of Americanism and anti-Communist viewpoints.

Planning and Committees

Buffalo’s John O’Hara was designated as the Eucharistic Congress president and auxiliary Bishop Joseph Burke as chairman. The honorary title of Patron for the Congress was bestowed upon Cardinal Francis Spellman of New York.  The planning, technical production, and organization of the programs occurred a year before the event. Bishop O’Hara established an executive committee 

This group consisted of Bishop Burke as chairman, Monsignor John Nash as vice-chairman, Monsignor Eugene Loftus as executive secretary, and Father Leo Smith as treasurer. This group then formed twenty-eight functional committees with a monsignor appointed as an Honorary Chairman and a priest as an Active Chairman. All priests serving in the diocese of Buffalo were obligated to work for a committee.[viii]  However, only a few priests per committee were required to fulfill any of their obligations. Paradoxically, the laity was not invited to participate in any pre-planning production or formally assigned to any committees until after the Congress commenced.

The Executive Committee, having developed the theme of “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” divided the program into three headings. Grouped under the title “Christ our Way” were issues pertaining to the home, family, and “all manner of material interests” such as labor, social duties, and vocations. Schools, education, culture, and professional life were assigned to the caption “Christ our Truth.” Spiritual life, ecclesiastical, and sacramental life were designated as “Christ our Life.” Within each topic, general meetings and sectional gatherings were required. For each conference, three discussion points were suggested: devotion to the Eucharist, specific duties of each group, and a practical discussion forum.[ix]  The Theme and Program Committee further developed the agenda for Congress based on the discussion items.

Every committee was tasked with some facet of logistical, operational, and procedural aspects of the celebration. An initial group was the Arts Committee responsible for designing the seal and logo imprinted on all programs, posters, and badges. This committee consisted of twenty-four priests who requested that women’s various religious orders in the diocese forward drawings for consideration. 

Thirty proposals were submitted and evaluated by three commercial artists. The group selected a drawing by Sister Geraldine Rutkuski of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph in Hamburg, New York. Her design placed the Sacred Heart and chalice set against a red background in a heart’s shape. The words “Buffalo Centennial Eucharistic Congress” were placed on the periphery, and the words “The Way, The Truth and The Life” were placed above the chalice.[x]

Many committees were designated as “minor” as some clergy considered them not part of the Congress’s sacramental aspect.[xi] These included Traffic, Transportation, Public Safety, and Ushers. The purpose of these groups was to coordinate the free flow of the crowds at events, preserve order in public places, direct traffic, and obtain special public transportation buses and trains. However, there was no documentation to indicate the extent of coordination required with local police departments or public transportation companies.[xii]  The Health Committee concerned itself only with first aid stations at the various sites. 

Arrangements were made with the Red Cross and the city health department to respond to major emergencies.[xiii]

Internal notes from the Housing Committee revealed an early concern in finding accommodations for the anticipated gathering of 100,000 visitors attending the Congress. This group canvassed the city and suburbs, seeking lodging in parishes, private residences, schools, and, if necessary, provide cots to institutions for emergencies. Three months before the Congress, Bishop O’Hara sent a pastoral letter to all the parishes asking Catholics to house visitors and guests. Working with the city’s convention bureau, the Housing Committee secured 4000 beds in private homes and 2000 more in hotels.[xiv] There was no shortage of rooms during the Congress.

An essential but mundane group was the Registration Committee. They were responsible for all practical matters, which included managing fifteen information booths throughout the city and at all events. Their duties comprised the registration of attendees, assisted with housing and transportation, offered escorts as required, facilitated postal services for attendants, offer daycare for children, and operated a “lost and found” department. Laywomen, members of the Ladies of Charity auxiliary, performed the more significant part of this committee’s work.[xv]  It was one of the few areas where the laity was actively involved. Buffalo’s mayor Bernard Down regarded their services as vital to the success of the Congress.[xvi]

The more prominent committees were the Sacristy Committee, responsible for the preparation of liturgical equipment at all public and private Masses. The Decorations Committee was charged with the design, construction, and installation of all materials for public events. This included altars, platforms, canopies, and seating. 

Local architect Alfred Baschnagel was hired to assist with the multiple projects, and various contractors were employed in the construction of altars and platforms. The Processions Committee functioned as a quasi-military unit. It was responsible for transporting dignitaries to and from their scheduled events and for all religious processions, which generally included musicians, school children, and clergy. Members of this unit worked closely with the Buffalo police to coordinate activities and maintain a significant transition among all the proceedings.[xvii]


The Radio Committee and the Publicity Committee coordinated their assignments. In the weeks before the Congress, the Radio Committee conducted a series of broadcasts titled “A Novena of Broadcasts” to encourage Congress’s interest. Initially, this was a local affair, but these broadcasts were transmitted throughout much of the eastern United States within a couple of weeks. These programs proved vital in promoting the upcoming Eucharistic Congress. During the four days of the Congress, all services were broadcast over the radio to much of the United States and Canada.[xviii] The Publicity Committee issued daily press briefings. They assisted members of the local religious and public newspapers and the Associated Press and United Press News Services. Representatives from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Paramount Studios were invited to record a motion picture history of the Congress. Unfortunately, these recordings have been lost.[xix]

A Great Demonstration of Faith

With the preparations completed, dignitaries from around the world arrived for the opening ceremonies. On Monday afternoon, September 22, 1947, the train transporting New York’s Cardinal Spellman and Cardinal Motta of Brazil and Cardinal Guevara of Peru arrived at Buffalo’s Central Terminal. Buffalo Bishop O’Hara and an enthusiastic crowd of 70,000 welcomed them.[xx] A motorcade transported the dignitaries to St. Joseph’s New Cathedral, where 4,000 of the faithful prayed with the clergy for the success of the Eucharistic Congress.[xxi] Later that evening at Kleinhan’s Music Hall, the official start of the Congress began with the Civic Reception attended by the clergy and public officials. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra performed accompanied by soloist Jessica Dragonette who sang several selections highlighted by Verdi’s Ava Maria.[xxii]

In his welcoming remarks, Mayor Dowd called the Congress “a great demonstration of faith, a great demonstration of loyalty to God and nation; to the principles of morality and patriotism.” Bishop Burke continued that theme in his speech. He declared that only faith in the Omnipotent God could bring peace to nations that accepted “godless ideology or the imposition of their slavish way of life through force or bloody revolutions.” In their opening remarks, both Bishop O’Hara and Cardinal Spellman spoke of the accomplishments within the Diocese of Buffalo in the last hundred years. They also stressed how the Eucharist was at the center of peace in a war-weary world. [xxiii]


Approximately 15,000 worshippers gathered in Civic Stadium for the opening Pontifical Mass on Tuesday morning September 23. The celebrant was Archbishop Cicognani, the Apostolic Delegate to the United States. The homilist, Cardinal Spellman, referred to the Eucharist as the Sacrament of Peace and urged all Catholics to be “faithful in love and service to God and each other.” [xxiv]  Spellman warned that in the pursuit of peace and liberty, we must “rededicated ourselves to the service of God and following Christ for only then will there be a rebirth of freedom and democracy throughout the world. For he who loves God loves right-right, which is the might of any true republic, the basis of her liberties and foundation of her peace.” [xxv]  The afternoon and early evening programs consisted of sectional meetings focused on specific topics. These conferences addressed issues pertinent for teachers, nurses, press and radio, office workers, and social workers. Local clergy chaired each group, and individuals knowledgeable in that particular area conducted lectures. The venues for these meetings were at various hotels and parishes in the city.[xxvi] The day’s events concluded with the General Assembly held at Memorial Auditorium attended by 20,000 faithful. Several preeminent clergymen presented speeches to the enthusiastic crowd. 

Boston’s Cardinal Cushing praised Buffalo’s first bishop, John Timon, for his leadership. The Cardinal then described how the diocese’s bishops, and those throughout history, were the shepherds of the flock who must be vigilant against those who try to divide priests and people.[xxvii]


Renowned radio preacher Msgr. Fulton Sheen delivered the most anticipated speech of the night.[xxviii] His lengthy talk concentrated on several subjects germane to the time: faith, morals, and the American way. Sheen began his address disgusted that “politics has become the new theology” and that the “passion and zeal, once associated with the cause of God, has now been transformed into fanaticism for Caesar.” He lamented that now, in Christian history, atheism has a political form and social substance, while the “separation of Church and State finally became the separation of religion and State.” Sheen then continued with a condemnation of divorce, stating that society lost its “hold on the natural law”. Consequently, the “family, which is the unit of society,” felt dispensed from its moral obligations. He equated divorce, like a traitor in the home, with traitors among the nation’s citizens.


Sheen referenced the twin twentieth-century evils of the Nazis and the Communists as modern man “has lost his way; he has thrown away the map.” 

The Monsignor condemned those secular attitudes and economic movements as indifferent to the Church and civilization. Only the Cross of Christ had the power to unite the “friends of Christ and also His enemies.” The Eucharist was Sheen’s solution to the evils of the world. In a world of suffering, it was the Eucharist where “the forces of religion will rally” and only the Eucharist can feed men's starved souls. He concluded his discourse with the declaration that “we shall prove to be the greatest revolutionists of our revolutionary times” through a proactive devotion to the Eucharist in atonement for the world’s sins.[xxix]  The following day the Buffalo Courier-Express reported that the crowd responded with “devoted enthusiasm and applause in renewing their faith” at the words of Msgr. Sheen.[xxx]  


Three Pontifical Masses were celebrated on the morning of Wednesday, September 24, at various sites. The official opening Mass of the Congress was the Children’s Pontifical Low Mass conducted at Civic Stadium where a special altar and canopy, modeled after the altar at St. Ambrose in Milan, Italy, was constructed.[xxxi]  Cardinal Spellman’s sermon stressed that the Eucharist was a Sacrament of Peace. Yet his remarks were more of a warning: “the atomic age seems to have brought but a grim interlude in our decade of despair.” The Cardinal urged the faithful to pledge their faith in Christ, “for even God cannot make a peaceful world without peace-loving men to help Him.” [xxxii]


At St. Joseph’s New Cathedral, the Oriental Pontifical Mass was celebrated. The liturgy was lead in the Byzantine Slavonic Rite, and the attending priests belonged to the various churches of the Eastern Rite in union with Rome. Bishop Daniel Evancho, coadjutor Bishop of Pittsburgh Greek Rite, delivered the homily. He emphasized that Congress was truly an ecumenical event since the Church was “neither Latin nor Greek nor Slav: it is Catholic.” The Bishop, in his appeal for unity, talked about the history of the Eastern and Western churches describing how they were more similar than different. Ivancho asked the faithful to pray for the churches in Eastern Europe because of its bishops and priests' death and imprisonment by Communists. He reminded the crowd that as Americans, they should be thankful for their freedom and liberties. With the conversion of Russia, the “Providence of God will again be open to Catholic influence.” [xxxiii]


The third Mass of that day occurred at Hyde Park Stadium in Niagara Falls, New York, where another impressive altar and canopy was erected. The homilist, Cardinal Bernard Griffin Archbishop of Westminster, England, declared the Eucharist as a Sacrament of Unity. The Cardinal preached how the Eucharist was an expression of fellowship with Catholics throughout the world that brought all the faithful together. However, the homily explicitly addressed the persecution of Catholics in the first half of the twentieth century in Spain, Yugoslavia, Germany, and Russia. Griffin viewed the Mass and the Eucharist as the “Sacrament of Unity that will keep Catholics together during these terrible days of persecution.” [xxxiv]  The Cardinal urged Catholics to “unite against the common enemy of Communism and materialism. It is the Mass that will unite us.” [xxxv]  He advocated for abolishing the barriers of race and nation to unite the Catholics of the world in true spiritual unity. The diocese’s newspaper described the reaction to the Cardinal’s sermon as a “clear call for self-sacrifice in promotion of peace and unity that is enjoyed in our blessed nation.” [xxxvi]


Sectional meetings occupied the remainder of the day’s schedule.[xxxvii]  The Sectional Meeting for Mothers reflected the perspective of that time. The main address, presented by Mrs. William Berry of Greensboro, North Carolina, concentrated on the “evils threatening the Christian home.” She asserted that adherence to Christian ideas was the “surest guarantee to living a moral life.” The proper venue to learn about God and the Church was in the home. However, she chastised those children who lost their respect and esteem for the home. Her main concern was with young girls who were no longer “attracted to the domestic arts” and raised a family because “they prefer to be businesswomen, secretaries, sales girls or join the women’s military forces-anything that will take them away from home.” She believed it resulted in juvenile delinquency and a higher divorce rate. Mrs. Berry believed that the solution was a Christian society “when the political order will be in conformity with Christian ideas” but until then, “we must be heroic.” [xxxviii]


Similar ideas permeated other Sectional Meetings. At the assembly for nurses, Msgr. Albert Rung of Buffalo briefly praised nurses for their selfless dedication to healing the infirmed. The remainder of his speech was preoccupied with ensuring that Christian values were evident in nurses and nursing care. The Monsignor affirmed that “nurses must be morally good and spiritually zealous to work good in others” failure to do so allowed for mediocrity. He also placed a substantial responsibility upon them. Rung regarded nurses as combatants on the front line in the battle against atheism and un-Christian systems: “Religion in nursing is the antidote to the false ideologies now seeking recognition, the cure for aversion to the Church, your part in the struggle of the Church against evil.” [xxxix]   


At the Holy Hour for Youth, Bishop George Leach of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, spoke to young Catholic girls and boys about finding their place in life. Leach affirmed that the One True Church was the “teacher where you know the true value and meaning and purpose of your life.” It was the Church that provided the moral and spiritual control to America’s youth. The Bishop told the youths that “you are America’s strongest guarantee of liberty” and “true liberty is an ordered liberty.” [xl]  There was no record of the audience’s reaction to the sermon.


The speeches in each sectional meeting, presented by either laity or clergy, reflected three fundamentals. There was a moral decline in society, and only faithful adherence and devotion to the Eucharist could reverse this trend. The Catholic family was the nexus to a moral revival. Next, atheistic political and economic forces besieged the Church. In many of the lectures and sermons where the words Communist or Communism did not appear, the implied meaning was obvious. Finally, words such as freedom, unity, liberty, American traditions, Christian principles, and Catholic family life found their place in nearly every address. These themes tacitly engulfed the Congress, which, at times, appeared to be a religious-political rally.


The final event of the day was the Holy Hour at Civic Stadium. A crowd of over 50,000 attended this solemn prayer service.[xli] In his homily, Cardinal Samuel Stritch of Chicago reminded the crowd that the kingdom of God would arrive when “all men’s hearts open to the love of Christ the King.” He stated that the Greek and Roman cultures failed because they lived in a condition of slavery. Christ’s cross redeemed lives and gave dignity to the individual. The Cardinal explained that Christian thought was opposed to secularism and when men open their souls to Christ the King: “we do bring religion into our economic and social life. It is impossible for us to preserve and expand our democracy without bringing religion into public life. Washington and Jefferson saw this truth.” [xlii] The Buffalo Evening News reported that the crowd interrupted Stritch’s homily several times with applause and standing ovations.[xliii]


The final day of the Eucharistic Congress, Thursday, September 25, began with a Pontifical High Mass at Civic Stadium. The crowd of 42,000 worshippers prayed for peace and unity as they listened intently to the sermon of Archbishop Alexandré Vachon of Ottawa, Canada. He characterized the family as the “cell of human society” where the Lord entered the home through religion and the spiritual life. Vachon stated, “God will enter that home where there is love and peace,” and to find God’s love and peace, each person “must live with a clear conscience, in peace with God, with our neighbor and ourselves.” [xliv]


The Eucharistic Congress came to a formal end with the Eucharistic adoration and procession at Delaware Park in the afternoon. An estimated crowd of 200,000 pilgrims attended the benediction, having gathered in the park throughout the day.[xlv] Escorted by the Knights of Columbus and other honorary guards, hundreds of clergy and bishops walked through the crowd toward the specially constructed altar. Behind them marched the laity and representatives of the various Sectional groups and diocesan organizations accompanied by seven bands and choirs from various parishes who sang traditional Catholic hymns.[xlvi] At the altar, Cardinal Spellman placed the monstrance on the altar table where he venerated the Eucharist as the choir sang O Salutarius Hostia.[xlvii] He then lifted the monstrance, turned to face the crowd, and made the sign of the Cross with it. The Cardinal began his homily and the final prayer of the Congress, and with that, the Buffalo Eucharistic Congress concluded.[xlviii] 


Catholics and the community deemed Congress a success.[xlix]  The attendance for the four-day Congress was estimated at 557,000 pilgrims from all over the world. The weather was sunny and warm, and this contributed to the overflow of outdoor crowds at various venues.[l] Buffalo was praised for its facilities and welcoming disposition that enabled the “tens of thousands of hearts to thank God for His blessings to this favored land.” [li]   However, the economic impact on the city and region was unknown as there were no records related to the costs of hosting the Congress or what visitors spent on accommodations, meals, or travel.


The Congress was both ecumenical and international. Cardinals and bishops from Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, India, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Uganda, and Ukraine participated, as did the Apostolic Delegate and Papal Legate. Clergy from the Eastern Orthodox rite was also present. Most of the bishops and auxiliary bishops from New York State and the Eastern and Midwestern sections of the United States were present. In total sixty-three members of the hierarchy and 1,400 priests attended the Congress.[lii]


The theme of the Eucharistic Congress was I am the way, the truth, and the life, but there was an underlying concept at work also. The horrors of the Second World War were still fresh, and the waves of Communist oppression in Russia and Eastern Europe were of serious concern for Catholics and Americans. Consequently, this Eucharistic Congress became a demonstration of faith in God and in the American way of life, as evidenced in virtually all homilies and speeches by clergy and laity. Prominent throughout the four-day event were the crucifix and the red, white, and blue of the American flag joined with the Vatican standard's white and yellow. At this particular moment, there would be no hyphen in the words American Catholic because, in Buffalo, the Cross and the flag symbolized this melding of Catholic faith and values with the beliefs and values of Americanism.

About the author: Paul E. Lubienecki, Ph.D., is a historian writing on local western New York history. Currently, he is completing his manuscript on the history of the Catholic labor schools in Buffalo and their influence on organized labor.

 [i]Previous Eucharistic congresses in the United States occurred at St. Louis (1901), New York (1905), Pittsburgh (1907), and Chicago (1926).

[ii] Bishop John O’Hara’s letter to the Diocese of Buffalo, The Union and Echo, August 8, 1947, 1. This was the official newspaper for the Diocese of Buffalo published weekly.

[iii] The Union and Echo, August 1, 1947, 1.

[iv] Program, The 41st International Eucharistic Congress, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, 1976.

[v] Jay P. Dolan, The American Catholic Experience, (New York: Doubleday & Co., 1985), 350.

[vi] James F. Connelly, ed., The History of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. (Philadelphia: Archdiocese of Philadelphia, 1976), 427-428.

[vii] Bishop John O’Hara untitled radio address. Buffalo radio station WBEN, Sunday, September 21, 1947. Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Bishop O’Hara Folder, Archives Diocese of Buffalo (ADB).

[viii] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Executive Committee Folder, ADB.

[ix] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Executive Committee Folder, and notes of Fr. Joseph O’Connor, ADB.

[x] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Historical Committee Folder, ADB.

[xi] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, notes of Msgr. Eugene Loftus, Executive Committee Folder, ADB.

[xii] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, various committee folders, ADB.

[xiii] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Health Committee Folder, ADB.

[xiv] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Housing Committee Folder, and notes from Msgr. John Carr, ADB.

[xv] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Registration Committee Folder, ADB.

[xvi] Buffalo Evening News, “Mayor Praises Success of Eucharistic Congress,” September 26, 1947.

[xvii] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, various committee folders, ADB.

[xviii] Buffalo Courier-Express, “Buffalo Congress to Attract People from Empire State,” September 21, 1947, 1.

[xix] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Radio Committee Folder; Publicity Committee Folder and Official Program Buffalo Centennial Eucharistic Congress, ADB. Other minor committees: Music, Seminarians, Exhibits, Schools and Records, and History. The Lay Men and Lay Women committees were tasked with serving as ushers or information guides for visitors and guests. Of course, the chairmen of those two committees were clergy, not the laity.

[xx] The Union and Echo, September 26, 1947, 1.  Buffalo Evening News estimated the crowd at approximately “several hundred.” September 23, 1947, 2.

[xxi] The Union and Echo, September 26, 1947, 1. 

[xxii] Buffalo Courier-Express, September 23, 1947, 1.

[xxiii] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Speeches Folder, ADB.

[xxiv] The Union and Echo, September 26, 1947, 2.

[xxv] Buffalo Courier-Express, “Cardinal Speaks at Opening Mass,” September 24, 1947, 1.

[xxvi] Official Program, Buffalo Centennial Eucharist Congress, 19-20, ADB. The Statler Hotel and Hotel Lafayette were utilized for these conferences.

[xxvii] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Speeches Folder, ADB.

[xxviii] Dolan, The American Catholic Experience, 392-393. Msgr. Sheen was highly regarded for his national NBC radio program “The Catholic Hour” and by his dramatic and persuasive preaching style. His program was a blend of Catholic theology, moral values, and patriotic American ideas. 

[xxix] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Speeches Folder-General Assembly, ADB.

[xxx] Buffalo Courier-Express, September 24, 1947, 1.

[xxxi] Official Program, Buffalo Centennial Eucharist Congress, 22, ADB. Civic Stadium was centrally located in the city and used for professional baseball and football. The structure was demolished in 1988.

[xxxii] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Speeches Folder, Cardinal Spellman, ADB.

[xxxiii] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Speeches Folder, Oriental Pontifical Mass, ADB.

[xxxiv] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Speeches Folder, Pontifical Mass, ADB.

[xxxv] Buffalo Evening News, “Fight Communism Through the Mass Catholics Are Told,” September 24, 1947, 2. 

[xxxvi] The Union and Echo, September 26, 1947, 2.

[xxxvii] Sectional Meetings were organized for: Businessmen and Bankers, College Students, Dentists, Farmers, Lawyers, Mothers, Youth, Teachers, Social Workers, Press and Radio, Workingmen, Religious Women, Nurses, and Public Service Personnel. Official Program Buffalo Centennial Eucharistic Congress, ADB.

[xxxviii] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Speeches Folder, Sectional Meetings, ADB.

[xxxix] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Speeches Folder, Sectional Meetings, ADB.

[xl] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Holy Hour Folder, ADB.

[xli] The Union and Echo, September 26, 1947, 3, published that 50,000 attended. The Buffalo Courier-Express, September 25, 1947, 1, stated that “over 33,000” attended the event.

[xlii] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Holy Hour Folder, ADB.

[xliii] Buffalo Evening News, “Cardinal’s Speech Welcomed by Faithful,” September 25, 1947, 1.

[xliv] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, Speeches Folder, Pontifical Mass, ADB.

[xlv] Buffalo Courier-Express, September 26, 1947, “Largest Crowd in Buffalo Gather for Eucharistic Congress,” 1.

[xlvi] Buffalo Evening News, September 26, 1947, “Eucharistic Congress Ends with Great Procession,” 1 and Buffalo Courier-Express, September 26, 1947, “Largest Crowd in Buffalo Gather for Eucharistic Congress,” 1.

[xlvii] A monstrance is an elaborately decorated receptacle in which the consecrated Host is displayed for veneration.

[xlviii] The Union and Echo, September 26, 1947, 1.

[xlix] Buffalo Courier-Express, “Eucharistic Congress Closes to Great Applause,” September 26, 1947; Buffalo Evening News, “Mayor Praises Success of Eucharistic Congress,” September 26, 19471 and The Union and Echo, “Cardinal Praises the Faithful,” September 26, 1947, 1.

[l] Buffalo Courier-Express, September 27, 1947, 1.

[li] The Catholic News, September 27, 1947.

[lii] Buffalo Eucharistic Congress, “Facts of Importance,” ADB; of the clergy, nearly all of Buffalo’s 800 priests participated in the Congress.

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