Friday, February 29, 2008

St. Severin Catholic, Drifting, PA, Marriage location of Bertha Hohnke and George Haas

Image: St. Severin Catholic Church, near Drifting in northeast Clearfield Co, Cooper Twp, PA. Bertha Hohnke and George Haas were married here on 30 Aug 1887. The log-built St. Severin's was established in 1851, and is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. A graveyard next to the church contains tombstones of the Gable family (Mrs. Bertha Hohnke Haas' daughter, Ottilia Haas, married Clarence Gable). Bishop John NEUMANN, who was America's first saint, was said to have come from Philadelphia to dedicate and bless St. Severin's church. St. John Neuman, also called the immigrant shepherd, was born in Bohemia, Germany

Do not confuse this Bishop John Neumann with his contemporary, the English-born, Cardinal John Henry NEWMAN. The latter never came to America and was better known, probably because of his prolific writings. Cardinal John H. Newman converted from The Anglican Church to Catholicism and wrote several books defending the Roman Catholic Church. He has been on the path to sainthood and in 2007, his "sainthood was imminent". The Cause lacked further proof of miracles which he was purported to have performed. I don't know the criteria for sainthood, but at least one them is the power to perform miracles. Another criterion, though perhaps not official, is that there is little deterioration or decay of the body after death.

The Wikipedia (Feb 2008) states: "[John Henry Newman] held that, apart from an interior and unreasoned conviction [in other words, faith], there is no cogent proof of the existence of God; and in Tract 85 he dealt with the difficulties of the Creed and of the canon of Scripture, with the apparent implication that they are insurmountable unless overridden by the authority of an infallible Church. [JHN had once implied an opposition to the Catholic Church's policy that the Pope is Infallible]. In his own case, these views did not lead to skepticism, because he had always possessed the necessary interior conviction; and in writing Tract 85 his only doubt would have been where the true Church is to be found. But, so far as the rest of the world is concerned, his teaching amounts to this: that the man who has not this interior conviction has no choice but to remain an agnostic, while the man who has it is bound sooner or later to become a Catholic." [For non-Catholics, I imagine this would be hard to swallow]

"The University he founded, the Catholic University of Ireland, has since evolved into University College Dublin, Ireland's largest University which has contributed significantly to Ireland's development over the last 150 years."

On Xmas, 2007, my mother's first cousin, Henry J. Gailliot, sent me a card in which his family is pictured on the steps of "The Gailliot Center for Newman Studies"- a library founded by Henry at his Alma mater, Carnegie University, in Pittsburgh. The library will contain many of the writings by Cardinal John Henry Newman and apartments for visiting scholars. My family tree, both branches, seems to becoming entwined with these holy men of the Catholic Church. For more on the John Newman Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, go here and here.

Incidentally, the Catholic Newman centers and clubs at various universities across the county are named after Cardinal John Henry Newman, including my Alma Mater, the University of Maryland.

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