Pete Hlabse joined Cushwa in September as the Center’s administrative coordinator. He coordinates Center-sponsored events and research grants and provides administrative support. Hlabse (pronounced “Lab-see”) holds a master’s degree in higher education from Boston College and a bachelor’s degree in theology from Notre Dame. His graduate research focused on the development of American universities, particularly American Catholic universities, in the context of Modernity. Prior to joining the Cushwa Center, Hlabse worked in the Mission Engagement and Church Affairs office at Notre Dame.

Shane Ulbrich was promoted to assistant director of the Cushwa Center in August. In his new role he oversees the development of the Center’s events, manages logistics for special projects and grants, and facilitates Center partnerships.

Herbie Miller (2013 Research Travel Grant recipient) graduated with his Ph.D. in theology from the University of Dayton in August. In May, he defended his dissertation, titled “Enacting Theology, Americanism, and Friendship: The 1837 Debate on Roman Catholicism Between Alexander Campbell and Bishop John Purcell.” His director was William Trollinger; committee members were Brad Kallenberg, Vince Miller, and two Cushwa friends: Bill Portier and Mark Noll.

Urban Trinity: The Story of Catholic Philadelphia is a 75-minute documentary film that tells the history of successive waves of immigrants whose common bond was their Catholicism and who came to the city seeking religious freedom, survival, and a better life. Produced by History Making Productions, a Philadelphia documentary film house, Urban Trinity aired in three parts on Philadelphia’s ABC 6 in September before and immediately after the papal visit. The film’s principal scholars include Cushwa Center director Kathleen Sprows Cummings and founding director Jay Dolan, as well as Cushwa friends John McGreevy (University of Notre Dame), Margaret McGuinness (LaSalle University), Robert Orsi (Northwestern University), Thomas Rzeznik (Seton Hall University), Kate Oxx (St. Joseph’s University), and Rodger Van Allen (Villanova University). Participating scholars include Cushwa friends Michael Carter (University of Dayton), Sarah Dwyer-McNulty (Marist College), Monica Mercado (Bryn Mawr College), Nicholas Rademacher (Cabrini College), John Seitz (Fordham University), and Barbra Mann Wall (University of Virginia). The documentary can be viewed here.

Sister Catherine Bitzer, archivist of the Diocese of St. Augustine, writes to let our readers know that the diocese’s earliest sacramental records have been digitized and are available online at Once you enter the site, click on “Spanish Florida” to access the records, which include nearly 4,900 images as well as transcriptions and descriptions. From the Vanderbilt University website: “These are the oldest serial records for persons of African descent in what is today the United States (1594-1882). The diocesan records also document European and Indian Catholics from the 16th to the late 19th century and capture the multi-racial and multi-ethnic history of Florida. They reveal marriage practices, miscegenation, and the extensions of kinship through god-parentage. St. Augustine’s first black baptism, for example, was recorded in 1606.”

Sarah L. Patterson, archivist for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, reports that after a two-and-a-half year renovation project during which the archdiocese’s archives was closed to the public, it has officially reopened at a new location. Visit for more information.

Chris Doan was appointed archivist for the Archdiocese of San Francisco in July. The Archives is located at Saint Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, and researchers are welcome by appointment. Several collections pertain to the history of California prior to its admission to the United States, making the Archives one of the most important repositories in the state of California for Catholic and California history. These collections include the Alexander Taylor Papers, a collection of 2,400 documents from 1776 to 1849; the Libro Borrador (1840–1850), a record of official diocesan business of Alta and Baja California; and the mission registers for Missions San Jose and San Rafael. Doan succeeds Jeffrey Burns, who created a lasting legacy during his 30 years at the archives by conducting almost 200 oral history interviews and soliciting over 100 individual special collections that serve as a historical record of the Bay Area’s richly diverse Catholic heritage. Burns recently moved to Oceanside, California, with the Franciscan School of Theology.


Alan Delozier, executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission (NJCHC), reports that NJCHC has published The Catholic Historian’s Handbook: Researching and Writing Your First Catholic History Project by Carl Ganz, Jr. This book, intended for the amateur historian compiling a history of local Catholic events and institutions, is available as a free ebook by emailing Delozier. The printed edition is available for purchase at Amazon. Researchers who are studying topics in New Jersey Catholic history specifically are entitled to a free print copy. As Ganz notes: “The Catholic Historian’s Handbook was written based on input from members of both the New Jersey Catholic Historical Commission and the Diocese of Metuchen Historical Records Commission. The goal was to gather in one place the collective experience of the 200-plus combined years of academic service of the members of these commissions.”

The NJCHC also recently resurrected its newsletter, The Recorder, to share personal accomplishments, institutional news, archival and library resource information, research projects, upcoming events, and other items that touch upon the religious history of New Jersey. Visit to learn more.

The Diocese of Baton Rouge Department of Archives is pleased to announce the launch of its new website, In addition to policies and general information, the site includes information about the genealogical and historic collections that are available to researchers. Email the staff with any questions or comments.

The Texas Catholic Historical Society (TCHS) has presented its Laurence J. FitzSimon Award to three long-serving archivists of Texas dioceses: Lisa May, director of archives and records for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston; Brother Edward J. Loch, S.M., archivist for the archdiocesan Catholic Archives at San Antonio (CASA); and Steven T. Landregan, historian of the Diocese of Dallas and longtime archivist and director of the Diocesan Museum. The award is named for the late Laurence J. FitzSimon, third bishop of Amarillo, who preserved the Catholic Archives of Texas when it was threatened by a period of neglect. It recognizes “extraordinary pastoral service and professional excellence as an archivist of the Catholic Church in the State of Texas.” Created in the late 1980s, it had not been awarded since 1990. “We are so delighted to be able to honor these three outstanding archivists,” said Marian J. Barber, director of the Catholic Archives of Texas, speaking on behalf of the society’s officers, including Brother Richard Daly, C.S.C., president. “In addition to their contributions to their own diocesan communities, they have served as mentors and inspirations to diocesan archivists in Texas and nationally.”


TCHS also presented its Paul J. Foik, C.S.C. Award to John C. Pinheiro, professor of history and director of Catholic studies at Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, for his 2014 book, Missionaries of Republicanism: A Religious History of the Mexican-American War (Oxford University Press). The Foik Award honors the book-length publication judged to be the most important contribution to Texas Catholic history during the previous year. It is named for Father Paul J. Foik, C.S.C., who served as librarian at the University of Notre Dame and at St. Edward’s University. He was the founding chair of the Texas Knights of Columbus Historical Commission and editor of the acclaimed series Our Catholic Heritage in Texas.

Kelly Gonzalez is the new secretary/registrar for the Diocese of Brooklyn Archives, replacing Cecelia Etheridge. Requests for student or sacramental records should be addressed via email or phone (718-965-7300 ext. 1002). Anyone doing scholarly research should contact Joseph Coen, archivist for the Diocese of Brooklyn by email or phone (718-965-7300 ext. 1001).

Cindy Plummer writes that Catholic East Texas, the redesigned publication of the Diocese of Tyler (Texas) is available at The April 2015 issue includes the article “Prisoner 22689: The Story of Father John Przydacz and the Dachau Rosary Ring” by Ben Fisher.


These announcements appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of the American Catholic Studies Newsletter