1950s: Activities of Catholic Life

Highlights of Catholic life in the 1950s were often found in parish religious events, forming a social bond for parishioners that was perhaps more intense than in parish life today. There were Missions and Forty Hour Devotions and other religious ceremonies which were often made into impressive productions. For example, the Forty Hour Devotion at St. Patrick’s was held with ceremony. The children sang the Litany of the Saints for the opening. Girls in white and boys in white shirts and dark trousers marched before the Blessed Sacrament at the opening and closing. Such events were well attended and are fondly remembered by many.

Another special event in the life of St. Patrick parish (and generally in most parishes across the nation at the time) was May Crowning. One girl, usually an eighth grader at St. Patrick, would crown the Blessed Mother, attended by several girls. The Sisters’ Chronicle for 1951 says that, “Jolene Brown crowned our Blessed Mother, attended by Joan McCleery, Mary Lee, and Dolores Mutchie, all who wore formals. In 1954, the Chronicle reports that “during the procession, the children sang the Litany of the Blessed Virgin in Latin.” Times change, and for some time, May Crowning was not part of the year’s liturgical events. St. Patrick’s has begun to celebrate the event again, though with less pageantry, perhaps.