Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cardinal Pacelli in America...

Can somebody do the research and write a book about Cardinal Pacelli's '36 trip to the United States? Now is the time. Visit the chancery archives, interview the high school kids who saw him and read the old newspaper accounts - it's not too late.

As a kid I heard about his two-day visit to St. Paul in Minnesota. He arrived on a chartered plane from Chicago on his "un-official" visit and landed at Holman Field across the river from downtown St. Paul. It was the late afternoon of Monday, October 26, 1936.

The motorcade brought him up the hill to the archepiscopal manse (torn down in the sixties) where he had dinner and spent the night (the bed still exists in the cathedral rectory across the street).

He was the Papal Secretary of State and the highest ranking Vatican dignitary to visit the continent. With him was the Papal Duchess Mrs. Nicholas Brady of N.Y. and among others, Frank Spellman.

Tuesday morning Low Mass was celebrated at 8 a.m. by the Cardinal at the main altar of the Cathedral with two priest servers. The Cardinal preached from the pulpit and the Catholic high school kids filled the church.

Somebody please tell this story before it's too late!


Anonymous said...

My Mom and Dad both saw Cardinal Pacelli when he visited Philadelphia in 1936.
These were in the days when to be Roman Catholic, and especially to be a Cardinal meant something.
Apparently he was treated almost like royalty.
He visited West Catholic Higihschool for Boys and Girls while in Philadelphia (where my parents were Sophomores), the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital in the suburban Philly borough of Darby.

In the Chapel of Fitzgerald Mercy, there still is a plaque on a kneeler commemorating where Cardinal Pacelli....within 3 years the great Pope Pius XII, knelt in prayer.

Geoffrey said...

That would be an excellent idea. I'm an editor/publisher... perhaps one day I will take up the task of writing!

Was Pius XII the first (future) Pope to ever visit the USA? Possible title... "Pius XII: First Pope in America"?

Anonymous said...

The Car and Carriage Caravan Museum at Luray Caverns, Virginia, has a 1928 Packard on display that they say may have been used by Pacelli - they say Pope Pius XII - on his trip. No details on its provenance.

For a picture, go to
and search for "1928 Packard", 4 rows from the bottom.

ssoldie said...

I was born June, 1936 in Minneapolis, Mn and would very much like to know more on Cardinal Pacelli visit to Mn.

ssoldie said...

I was born June 1936 in Minneapolis, Mn and would very much like to find out more on Cardinal Pacelli later the wonderful and 'Holy Pope Pius XII, visit to Minneapolis.

Jack said...

I've been researching his visit to Connecticut on Oct. 13, 1936, and am preparing an article for the October 2011 issue of The Catholic Transcript, the newspaper of the Hartford Archdiocese. The Bishop O'Brien Library in the St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, CT, has an ornate wooden chair with a plaque identifying it as the chair Cardinal Pacelli sat in when he visited there. Anyone with details of his visit especially to St. Thomas Seminary, Mount St. Joseph Academy in West Hartford and St. Joseph College in West Hartford, please write me at jsheedy@catholictranscript.org.