ACHA Newsletter: Winter 2018

American Catholic Historical Association
Quarterly Newsletter
Volume I: Issue 1 (Winter 2018)

Greetings to all members of the American Catholic Historical Association during these last days of February in the year of our Lord 2018. With this newsletter, I am inaugurating what I hope will be a permanent fixture with our Association, namely a quarterly update on the news and events that will hopefully be of interest and importance to all our members. Some of these newsletters will, like this first one, have lots of news; others, I suspect, will be shorter, but in both cases, the objective is to keep members informed of the Association’s affairs. This first issue of the first volume is sent to you with my own personal greeting, that of our Vice President, Katie Holscher, our Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Father Bentley Anderson, S.J and that of all the members of the Executive Council with whom we serve. We all hope that this beautiful season of Lent provides ample opportunity for a deeper and more reflective response to the call of the Lord in each of our lives, allowing us to be properly prepared to celebrate the Paschal Mystery during Holy Week.

Our annual conference, held this past January in Washington, D. C. was, as I indicated in my January greeting to all of you, a great success. While it was, to say the least, extremely cold, nevertheless there were many warm feelings expressed during the numerous panels, our Saturday vigil Mass, the social after Mass, and certainly many individual and group conversations amongst colleagues and friends, many of whom we only see infrequently. One of the highlights of our conference included a decision made by the Executive Council to increase the graduate-level research stipends annually awarded to $2500, from $1000, believing this move, especially in today’s environment and economy, to be necessary in order to actually achieve the end for which the stipend is awarded. At the annual luncheon, three of our colleagues were honored with specific prices for their past achievements, both in the classroom and through publications. Professor Anne Klejment was given the Distinguished Teaching Award; Fr. Gerry Fogarty, S.J. was presented the Distinguished Scholarship Award.  The archives staff at The Catholic University of America was presented the Award for Distinguished Service to American Catholic History.  The luncheon concluded with the presidential address of Professor Kathy Cummings, ACHA President 2017.  She explored in detail some of the important aspects of the life and ministry of St. Frances Cabrini.  At the conference, as well, conversations were held between representatives of the ACHA and the American Society of Church History (ASCH), discussing possible collaboration with joint panels and roundtable sessions at our annual conference in Chicago next January. Conversations along this line are continuing. We are indeed blessed and grateful to have a good working relationship with the ASCH. With respect to our Washington meeting, I want to publicly thank the Program Committee, chaired by Maria Mazzenga, for their great work in organizing such a great conference.

The annual conference was just passing from recent memory when we all received the sad news of the death of Professor Christopher Kauffman, who served as President of the ACHA in 2004 and was a regular contributor to the Association’s meetings through the papers he presented, the panels on which he served as chair and/or commentator, and his friendship to many. Certainly his legacy will live on through his many publications, most especially his award-winning six-volume Bicentennial History of the Catholic Church in America (1989) authorized by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB), his nine-volume American Catholic Identities: A Documentary History (1999-2003), and his long tenure as editor of the U.S Catholic Historian. His funeral, held in Baltimore, was attended by many of our members. While in initial stages of discussion, a small group of Association members are working to inaugurate “The Christopher Kauffman Book Prize in U.S. Catholic History.” Once all the proper procedures and necessary legal matters have been satisfactorily met, and working with the Executive Council and our Executive Secretary-Treasurer, we hope that this project will become a reality. The spring and summer newsletters will, hopefully, have more information pertinent to this matter.

While the death of Christopher Kauffman was certainly a blow to our Association, we know that much progress in scholarship continues to be presented, as we will see in our spring conference, to be held April 12-14 at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Charles Strauss and Owen Phalen will be our hosts when we gather for this event. Some highlights include a plenary lecture by Catherine O’Donnell, a luncheon address by Father Michael Roach, and a roundtable discussion to honor the memory and scholarship of Christopher Kauffman. Additionally, some special side trips to historical sites in the area are planned.  We hope that many of you will be able to attend. I would like to personally thank the Program Committee and its present chair, Professor Jim Carroll, for their hard work, along with Charles and Owen, in organizing this conference.

The spring meeting is always a prelude to our annual conference, which in 2019 will be held in Chicago. As I mentioned in my original January greeting to the Association, the ACHA is celebrating its centenary. Founded by Peter Guilday in 1919, the American Catholic Historical Association has done much good to advance the study of Catholic history. Working with the Executive Council, we are exploring various ways to appropriately celebrate this significant anniversary for our Association. Over the next several months, many ideas now in gestation will hopefully blossom into a great conference. Plan on attending; I am sure you will not be disappointed.

In closing, let me again thank the Executive Council members for their service. Working as a team we hope to serve the ACHA well this year. May the Lenten journey we have begun be a time of great blessing for all of you.  See you at Emmitsburg!

Rick Gribble, CSC
ACHA President 2018