Tag Archives: bishop mullock

Lady Day Fish

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

August 15, 1864

The fishing season began with the blessing of the boats by the clergy.

 In Newfoundland and Labrador, August 15 is better known as Lady Day.  On August 15 there is a long established tradition that the “catch of fish” on this day was to be given over to the church.

‘Lady Day,’ the fifteenth of August,   in some parts of the province signaled the end of the fishing season.  It  was not unusual for some fishermen to ‘give it up’  for the remainder of the summer.

On August 14, 1864 Bishop John Thomas Mullock, the Roman Catholic Bishop of St. John’s   “called on the people of the St. John’s  area  to fish for St. Patrick’s Church tomorrow”  Bishop Mullock was so determined to get the fishermen up and out fishing at an early hour that he put on a special mass in the Cathedral (now the Basilica) at 4:00 a.m. “for the people going to fish…”

August 15, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, was one of the great feast days in the calendar of the Catholic Church. So important was this day that it was considered a Holy Day of Obligation, a day to  refrain  from work, a day demanding that the faithful attend Mass.

“LADY DAY” IN NEWFOUNDLAND

When the Roman Catholic Cathedral (now Basilica) was being constructed Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming of Newfoundland received in 1834 from Pope Gregory XVI,  the faculty to dispense the fishermen subject to his spiritual jurisdiction from the obligation of fasting on the vigils of saints.  This allowed Bishop Fleming to give permission to the fishermen to fish for the church on holy days, like Lady Day.  Bishop Fleming referred to himself as “the prelate of a congregation of impoverished fishermen.” 

Father Kyran Walsh (the priest in charge of the construction of the R.C. Cathedral (now Basilica) would collect Lady Day fish in the summer, and so raised the thousands of pounds that were needful to complete the Cathedral.

Lady Day in many communities became a day of celebration – at the end of the “fishing day” in some communities (especially in Placentia Bay) dinner and dances were held in the parish halls.

On August 19, 1944 one writer for the Western Star newspaper in Corner Brook, lamented that:

“The 15th of August passed by rather uneventfully. However, many sadly recalled the big celebrations it occasioned in days gone by, and would like to see it return to its former festivity.”

 

A tiff over fashion, what to wear to church on Sunday?

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

July 23, 1854

What will I wear to mass?

Edward Morris, the Manager of the Newfoundland Savings Bank in St. John’s, Newfoundland in his diary for July 23, 1854 wrote that he had a wee tiff with his wife  (Katherine Howley) it appears she was not happy with him, she was in fact so displeased with him that she refused to go to church with him.

Edward wrote in his dairy:

“Mrs Morris went to 8 o’clock mass at the Cathedral (now Basilica) giving as a reason for going early that she had no decent dress to appear in at a more fashionable hour.”

The 8 o’clock mass tended to be the mass that the kitchen maids, scullery cooks, chamber maids, house maids, sewing maids  and  the other servants attended.  The staff would all  get up early,  attend the mass, and be home before their employers and their families got up.

There was no compromise, Edward insisted that he was going to the regular 10 o’clock mass, he was not concerned about the latest clothing fashions.

Edward was quite pleased that he did attend this particular mass and no doubt delighted in reminding his wife  that  during the celebration he was  witness to a great deal of history.

THE CATHEDRAL BELLS

He wrote:

 Went to mass myself where the Bishop  (Mullock) consecrated two Bells part of the intended chime one the largest dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The other & smaller to St Patrick the Patron Saint of Ireland …The Bishop having consecrated the Bells ascended the pulpit and explained the ceremony.”

A PLACE FOR THE EVANGELISTS

Edward also observed that:

“Today (July 23, 1854) the figures of the four evangelists were all fixed up in their places.”   

The statues of the four evangelists, St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke andSt. John are located some thirty feet above the floor  of  the Cathedral. These are of Italian workmanship. They are of marble and are slightly larger than life-size. Each evangelist is shown with his appropriate symbol: St. Matthew with a child; St. Mark with a lion; St. Luke with an ox; and St. John with an eagle.

A PLACE FOR THE NUNS

It was not only the evangelists that found their place in the Cathedral on July 23, 1854. Mr. Morris also noted:

“And the nuns (Presentation Sisters)  for the first time occupied the gallery appropriated to them behind the high altar.”

The  gallery is now  situated  behind a grilled window set in the east wall of the apse. From the small room behind this window, the Sisters of the Presentation can participate in the Parish Masses.

Recommenced Reading; Biographical Sketch on Edward Morris:  http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?BioId=39843

Recommended Archival Collection:   At the Archives of the R.C. Archdiocese: The Edward Morris Diaries:  Edward Morris was a businessman, politician, and office-holder; born in 1813 in Waterford (Republic of Ireland), son of Simon Morris. In  1852  Edward married Katherine Howley ofSt  John’s.

Recommended Virtual Exhibit: From Cornerstone to Cathedral- History of the Basilica Cathedral, St. John’s.  http://www.museevirtuel-virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/expositions-exhibitions/basilique-basilica/en/index.html

“Unite the old world and the new”

Subscribers to the St. John’s newspaper, The Courier on  (November 8, 1850) read about the feasibility of an underwater electric cable running from Ireland to Newfoundland. The letter to the Editor read:

“I hope the day is not far distant when St. John’s will be the first link in the electric chain which will unite the Old World and the New.”

Previous to this proposal all discussion about this new form of communication “telegraphic communication” had suggested Halifax as the terminus.

The writer of the letter Bishop John Thomas Mullock, the Catholic Bishop of Newfoundland in making the proposal was the first to suggest Newfoundland as the terminus rather that Nova Scotia. Mullock wrote:

“Now would it not be well to call the attention of England and America to the extraordinary capabilities of St. John’s, as the nearest telegraphic point? It is an Atlantic port, lying, I may say, in the track of the ocean steamers, and by establishing it as the American telegraphic station, news could be communicated to the whole American continent forty-eight hours, at least, sooner than by any other route.”

Prior to penning the letter Mullock had done his home work. Critics had for example argued that an underwater electric cable would not be safe from icebergs. Mullock had read extensively on the subject collecting a number of books on the electric telegraph. He also subscribed to a number of geological publications and collected geological maps and surveys. Based on his research he argued in the letter that the electric cable will be perfectly safe from icebergs. These book and maps now form part of the collection in the Basilica Museum Library in St. John’s.

In 1854, Frederick Gisborne secured financial backers, including American capitalist Cyrus Field and British telegraph engineer, John Brett. The New York, Newfoundland and London Telegraph Company was incorporated in 1854; the Newfoundland legislature granted the company exclusive rights to the submarine telegraph for 50 years and a government subsidy. The company successfully installed the transatlantic cable between Heart’s Content and Ireland (1866); and Heart’s Content and Valentia (Ireland) (1873-1874).

Recommended Archival Collection: Take some time to explore MG 570 at the Rooms Provincial Archives. MG 570 are the records of the Anglo-American Telegraph Company (Harbour Grace) fonds. The collection consists of letter books received, outgoing correspondence, general orders, rules, and regulations and service messages sent and received.

Recommended Book: Atlantic Sentinel by D.R. Tarrant, Fkanker Press. Atlantic Sentinel is illustrated with sixty vintage photographs and maps. The illustrations range from sketches of the early transatlantic attempts in the 1850s and 1860s to photographs of cable station staff in the twentieth century

Recommended Reading: Frederic Gisborne, Cyrus Field and the Atlantic Cable of 1858  By Ted Rowe Newfoundland Quarterly: Fall 2008, Volume 101 Number 2 .

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Grand Organ for the Cathedral of St. John’s, Newfoundland

An organ built by Thomas J. Robson organ builder to her majesty. Likely like the first organ in the Basilica Cathedral, St. John’s.

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

August 12, 1852

On  August 12, 1852 the local newspaper The Newfoundlander copied an article from a London newspaper The Sun that made reference to a grand organ that was destined for Newfoundland

The article reads:

 “A magnificent organ, destined for the above Cathedral, (the R.C. Cathedral) as just been completed by Mssers Robsons of St. Martin’s Lane, where, prior to its transmission across the Atlantic, a numerous and fashionable assemblage of ladies and gentlemen, including many amateurs and professors, have for several days past  attended to hear the merits tested by Messer’s, Rea, Noble, Pritchard, Nottingham, and other eminent artists. The whole cost, amounting to 1500 has been defrayed by the Right Reverend Dr. (Bishop John  Mullock),  who presents this stupendous and brilliant instrument to the Cathedral in St. John’s, Newfoundland.”   – Sun

Thomas J. Robson  was no ordinary organ builder,  he carried the title “organ  builder to her majesty.”

Upon the arrival of the fine instrument in St. John’sthe first organist appointed to the R.C. Cathedral and to the care of the organ was Thomas Mullock an accomplished organist in Limerick, Ireland, he came toSt. John’s at the invitation of his brother (the bishop). He stayed inSt. John’s and remained as organist for about fifteen years.

For much of his life, Thomas remained in the shadow of his brother. He lived quietly supplementing his income by teaching music and raising his young family. In December 1854 he was devastated when his only child Charlotte Mary died at the age of 2 years,10 months.

Upon returning toIrelandhe was employed as the organist at St. Mary’s,Irish Town, Main Street, Clonmel. He knew the town well as he was married to Charlotte Frances O’Brien daughter of Daniel O’Brien of Clonmel.

Due to deterioration this “Grand Organ” over the years, it was dismantled in 1938 under the direction of (Sir) Charles Hutton and was replaced by a Hammond electronic organ.

This, in turn, was replaced in 1954-55 by the organ that is presently used in the Cathedral Basilica. The new organ has 66 stops and a total of 4050 pipes.

The installation actually comprises two organs; the main organ of 51 stops located in the organ gallery, and the sanctuary organ of 15 stops arranged behind the main altar. Each organ may be played from the main organ gallery either separately, or, if desired, simultaneously with the main organ. The organ was built and installed by Casavant Freres Limited ofSt. Hyacinthe,Quebec.

Recommended Archival Collection:  Take some time to explore MG 590 at The Rooms Provincial Archives; MG590 is the Charles Hutton and Sons fonds. It consists of textual records relating to the business interests of Charles Hutton & Sons in St. John’s 1930-1938.  The collection consists of correspondence between the company and patrons inNewfoundland andCanada, requesting songs, musical instruments and other enquiries.

Recommended Reading: An introduction to the Pipe Organs in Newfoundland and Labrador by Dr. David Peter’s, 2012 (unpublished)

Recommended Reading: The British Invasion Lives on! Pipe Organs of Newfoundland and Labrador Canada by Lester Goulding and William Vineer : The Diapason, July 2013.

Internationally Celebrated Artist has work in St. John’s

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

December 8, 1854

THE STATUES OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION  AT THE BASILICA

Immaculate Conception Statue by John Edward Carew.

In the centre of the piazza (the square) of the Basilica Cathedral stands a marble statue of the Immaculate Conception, ten feet high, on a granite pedestal of about the same height. The statue was erected in 1858 by Bishop John Thomas Mullock. It is the work of the Irish sculptor, John Edward Carew.

The statue is reputed to be the first  in the world  to be commissioned to celebrate the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception that was proclaimed as infallible by Pope Pius IX in the bull (formal proclamation) Ineffabilis Deus in 1854, and thus is an important article of faith for Roman Catholics.

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated by Catholics on December 8th each year.

NEWFOUNDLAND CONNECTION TO THE PROCLAMATION OF THE DOCTRINE

Before proclaiming the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception  the Pope took steps to see whether the Church as a whole agreed by asking 603 bishops whether he should proclaim the  doctrine of Immaculate Conception; 546 (90%) said that he should.

Bishop John Thomas Mullock of St. John’s was intending to be in Rome for the Proclamation but stayed in St. John’s to oversee the completion of the R.C. Cathedral (now Basilica) that was under construction.

The young priest John Thomas Power, the future bishop of Newfoundland was present at the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

There is in addition to the statue of the Immaculate Conception in the courtyard of the Basilica Cathedral also the life-size statue of the Immaculate Conception which stands to the left of the main altar in the Basilica Cathedral by Filippio Ghersi. It was installed on September 1, 1864.

Recommended Archives: For more information on this contact the Archives of the R.C. Archdiocese.  www.stjohnsarchdiocese.nf.ca

On Line Article: Marian Devotion in Newfoundland:  http://www.umanitoba.ca/colleges/st_pauls/ccha/Back%20Issues/CCHA1954/Kennedy.htm

Geology of the Roman Catholic Cathedral in St. John’s:  http://journals.hil.unb.ca/index.php/gc/article/view/2739/3186

Newfoundland Politicians, Bishops and Cardinals – International Connections

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

May 4, 1864

Sketch of Philip Little, published in Centenary Volume, Benevolent Irish Society (BIS) 1906.

On this day May 4, 1864 Judge Philip F.Little of St. John’s was married (Mary Jane Holdright) from a wealthy Anglo – Irish family at Dublin, Ireland by Cardinal Paul Cullen.

He became Newfoundland’s first Premier (Prime Minister)  in 1855. He remained in office until 1858. In that time, he managed to secure Newfoundland’s autonomy, in making sure Newfoundland had a say over its own destiny. He resigned in 1858 saying “I go now before the milk of human kindness goes sour for me”.

Soon after his marriage, Little moved to Ireland permanently. He lived the rest of his life in Ireland, near the farms of relatives; managing properties owned by his wife’s family as well as those he acquired himself. He was prominent as a lawyer and became active in the Irish Home Rule movement.

In 1883 the Sisters of Mercy in Newfoundland  purchased Littledale, the former estate of Philip Francis Little, on Waterford Bridge Road, St. John’s. At that time the Sisters converted the three-storey house and with the addition of a classroom and dormitory, the school opened as St. Bride’s (College) Academy on August 20, 1884 as a Catholic girls’ boarding school run by them.

Little died at the age of 73 in 1897 in Ireland.

Having the very busy Cardinal Archbishop Paul Cullen perform the marriage was no small feat and was no doubt arranged by Bishop John Thomas Mullock, a friend of Cardinal Cullen’s. Cullen was the first Irish Cardinal in the church. He is best known for his crafting of the formula for papal infallibility at the First Vatican Council. He was considered one of the most influential Roman Catholics in the world.

Recommended Archival Collection:  At the Rooms Provincial Archives Division – MG 212 –consists of microfilmed records relating to the political and legal career of Philip F. Little during 1840-1890.  The collection is composed of correspondence, letters of introduction, addresses, certificates and commissions.

“The present generation in Newfoundland . . . leaves a mighty inheritance”

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

March 29, 1869

The Mullock Episcopal Library (now the Basilica Museum) is home to some of the oldest books in the province.

On this day (29 March 1869) the talk in the town was all about the death of the Catholic Bishop of St. John’s, John Thomas Mullock.
John Thomas Mullock was born in 1807 at Limerick, Ireland.  In July, 1850, he became the Catholic Bishop of Newfoundland.

 He is celebrated for much that he did for the local church, he completed the splendid Cathedral (now Basilica) of St. John’s, built the Episcopal Library now the home for the Basilica Museum, founded St. Michael’s Orphanage, and established St. Bonaventure’s College.  All buildings designated in 2010 as part of the Ecclesiastical District of St. John’s by Parks Canada.

He would have likely celebrated the building of The Rooms in the neighborhood of his Basilica Cathedral.  He had hoped that the neighborhood around the Basilica would become the academic and cultural centre of the town.

He was also keen to make Newfoundland a hub of activity in the emerging communications industry.  Long before the first attempts to lay a submarine cable across the Atlantic he was (1857), the first to publicly propose the feasibility of connecting Europe with America by means of submarine telegraph.

In a series of two lectures on Newfoundland given in St John’s in 1860 he revealed his hope in his adopted land:

“The present generation in Newfoundland . . . leaves a mighty inheritance to their children, and we are forming the character of a future nation.”

 

Recommended Reading: Ecclesiastical History ofNewfoundland, volume II / by Archbishop Michael F. Howley, edited by Brother Joseph B. Darcy, associate editor, John F. O’Mara.