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Remember when...? for June 2018

Some of what happened in June over the course of 60 years of archdiocesan history





MIAMI | Editor’s note: The following feature highlights a month in archdiocesan history, as the Miami archdiocese continues its 60th anniversary celebration. A “White Gala to Honor the White Collar” will take place Oct. 20, 2018, with proceeds benefiting the two local seminaries. Here are some of the historical highlights for June. (Click on the image to see a digital copy of the newspaper.)



  • Bishop Coleman Carroll breaks ground for the St. Thomas Catholic Student Center at the University of Miami, located on Miller Road and San Amaro Drive. Two Dominican priests will take up fulltime duties at the center, which when built will feature a chapel seating 500 for Mass as well as lecture rooms “where students will pursue credit courses in ethics and allied subjects.” (This is now known as St. Augustine Church and Catholic Student Center in Coral Gables.)
  • Bishop Carroll announces the creation of three new parishes, bringing to 10 the number of new parishes created since the founding of the diocese less than six months earlier. The parishes are: St. Thomas the Apostle, Miami, St. Hugh, Coconut Grove, and Annunciation, West Hollywood.



  • A Dade County Circuit Court upholds the right of the diocese to build a church and school —  St. Thomas the Apostle —- on a tract of land west of Hardee Road near S.W. 74th Avenue in Miami. C. Clyde Atkins (future federal judge) represents the archdiocese as legal counsel.
  • Construction begins on a retreat house to serve women “in the southern half of the Diocese of Miami.” Staffed by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de Ricci of Albany, New York, it will become known as the Dominican Retreat House and later, MorningStar Renewal Center.
  • At the invitation of Bishop Carroll, the Augustinian Fathers of Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, announce they will establish the first college for men in the Miami Diocese, to open in September 1962 on a 50-acre tract of land in North Dade County. Augustinian Father Edward McCarthy, until recently rector of Villanueva University in Cuba, will serve as rector of the new college, which “will be conducted as a day school, designed especially for young men of ordinary means, including those who might have to have part-time employment to further their scholastic training.” The institution will later be named Biscayne College, and later still become St. Thomas University.



  • The diocese announces plans to intensify its program of providing for the religious, cultural and social needs of the “Cuban refugee colony” in Miami. The article in The Voice states: “At the present time, there are approximately 219,000 Spanish-speaking men, women and children in Dade County, 90 percent of whom are Catholic. Many of them, by choice or by necessity, will never return to Cuba and gradually will be absorbed into the community of the Miami area, despite the tremendous efforts to resettle large numbers in other parts of the U.S. It is the great responsibility of the Diocese of Miami to make certain that these residents, now numbering more than all other Catholics in Dade County, retain and become stronger in the Faith of their fathers while being assimilated into the American way of life without loss of their exceptionally native culture.”



  • Bishop Carroll blesses the first building of the Marian Center for Exceptional Children, the “first center for [Down’s syndrome] children under Catholic auspices in the southeast United States.” It will be staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo of Turin, Italy.



  • June 15: Mother Teresa of Calcutta visits Miami to open a shelter for women at 724 N.W. 17 Street, staffed by five Missionaries of Charity. It fulfills a promise made by the future saint and Nobel Peace Prize recipient to Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll in 1974, to establish a house in this area.



  • The official Kenedy Directory reports that the Archdiocese of Miami had the fourth largest increase in membership in the nation, now totaling one million Catholics in eight South Florida counties.



  • Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, a community that has served in Key West since 1868, announce that due to a shortage of personnel, they can no longer staff St. Mary Star of the Sea parochial school and Mary Immaculate High School.



  • Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo visits Miami on route from Rome to Nicaragua and celebrates Mass for a larger than capacity crowd atSt. Michael the Archangel Church, Miami.



  • In a ceremony at St. Jerome Church in Fort Lauderdale, Archbishop McCarthy welcomes into the Church Father Walter Mitchell, 66, the first married Episcopalian priest to serve in the archdiocese. Father Mitchell was an Episcopalian priest for 37 years, and joined the Catholic faith after four years of study and formal analysis of his case by the Vatican. He is the 51st Episcopalian priest to join the U.S. Catholic Church under a special Vatican provision that permits them to remain married.
  • Archbishop McCarthy receives the Pope Paul VI Award for leadership in evangelization, bestowed by the National Council for Catholic Evangelization.



  • June S. McNally, a grandmother and member of Epiphany Parish in South Miami, becomes the first woman to graduate from St. John Vianney College Seminary. She receives a Bachelor of Philosophy degree, summa cum laude, which she hopes to put to use in lay ministry.



  • The Vatican announces June 24 that Pope John Paul II has appointed two new auxiliary bishops for Miami: Bishop-elect Gilberto Fernandez, a longtime pastor and most recently spiritual director of St. John Vianney Seminary; and Bishop-elect Thomas G. Wenski, long known for his ministry to the Haitian community. Installation date is set for Sept. 3.



  • Archbishop Varkey Vithayathil, apostolic administrator of the Syro-Malabar Church, visits South Florida and celebrates Mass for members of the Indian Catholic Association gathered at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in Pembroke Pines. The association numbers about 350 families, most from the state of Kerala, India, who gather monthly for Mass in their native Syro-Malabar rite.



  • Former Miami priest and auxiliary bishop, and more recently Orlando Bishop Thomas Wenski, is installed June 1 as the fourth archbishop of Miami. He exhorts local Catholics to “start afresh from Christ” and begins a “whirlwind of welcome,” celebrating 10 Masses in nine days with Catholics from Key West to Fort Lauderdale. 

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