Followup on Catholic Curiosa Found


Followup on Catholic Curiosa

Found this article about Catholicism in Virginia. Excerpt follows:

Bloody Beginning for Catholics in Virginia Clare MacDonnell

It was a bloody beginning for the Roman Catholic Church in the colonies at the end of the 16th century. In 1570, Jesuit Father John Baptist Sequia and companions were brutally killed after they were betrayed by their guide in the Virginia wilderness, near what is now Fredericksburg.

Although the Jesuit expeditions had ended, Catholicism in Virginia was revived when Gov. Giles Brent of Maryland and his sister, Margaret, arrived in 1647. They settled in Aquia Harbor, near the Spanish missionariesí settlement. The Brents had been forced out of Maryland because of their religion and politics, so they maintained Aquia as the first Catholic settlement in Virginia, embracing religious tolerance in the community.

It was not until Thomas Jeffersonís Act for Establishing Religious Freedom in 1785, which decreed that Catholics were free to worship openly in the Old Dominion, that the Church began to flourish in the area.

Gen. George Washington was a key figure in establishing the first Catholic Church in the colony ó St. Mary Church in Alexandria built in 1795. Col. John Fitzgerald, a Catholic and aide to Washington, spurred the fund raising campaign for the church. St. Mary Cemetery, the stateís oldest Catholic cemetery, is where the original church stood.

A few years later, in 1789, the Archdiocese of Baltimore was founded as the nationís first diocese with John Carroll as its first archbishop. Archbishop Carroll, who has been called the founding father of the American Catholic Church, was the grandson of Charles Carroll who emigrated to Maryland from Ireland and served as Lord Baltimoreís attorney general. His son, Charles, founded the Baltimore Iron Works and his grandson Daniel signed both the Articles of Confederation and the federal Constitution and helped frame the First Amendment. Charles Carroll, Johnís cousin, was the only Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on December 4, 2002 3:35 PM.

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