st patrick day why do we drink It was not uncommon at the time for virulent attacks against Catholicism to appear in American newspapers. The pugnacious Father Hughes would respond with forcefully written essays. Fiery theological debates that played out in print became a trademark of his later career.
st patrick day why do we drink
In 1838 Hughes was appointed to the Archdiocese of New York, and he soon began consolidating his power, becoming bishop in 1842 and archbishop in 1850. The Catholic Church in New York City was growing, thanks to immigrants arriving from Ireland. The Irish-born Hughes seemed an instinctive leader and organizer. Under his direction, many churches were built in New York and the Catholic school system began.
A Raucous Period in New York City
In 1844, anti-Catholic mobs marched through Irish neighborhoods in Manhattan. Hughes cautioned his followers not to respond to the provocation. A biography of Hughes published in 1892 by Rev. Henry Brann, a priest who had known Hughes, recounted a legendary incident set at the original St. Patrick’s Cathedral in lower Manhattan in the mid-1840s:
“Although the Bishop was patient, he was not a coward. He would not permit his Church or his person to be attacked with impunity. His armor was always on, and his lance always couched for a foe. He was a natural born soldier.
“When, therefore, he heard that a threat had been made to burn down his cathedral, he caused three or four thousand of the most intelligent and prominent Catholics to arm themselves, and to take possession of the churchyard in Mott Street, and defend the building. When the ‘Natives’ heard of these preparations, they were afraid to attack, and no more was heard of the threat.”