From a South Chicago Boyhood to Claretian Missionary

As a grade school boy in South Chicago on the cusp of the Depression, Severino Lopez was a newsboy for the Chicago Herald Examiner.  For a three-cent ticket, he enjoyed the Western movies at the Petes Theater.  So inspired, he played cowboys with brother, “slapping the sides of our corduroy pants to imitate the sound …

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A Summer’s Evening at the Kermesse

Fiesta. Carnival. Kermesse. Jamaica. All of these titles describe the annual fundraising fairs at Latino parishes across the country. Since the 1910s the Claretian Missionaries and lay leaders in the US have organized these community-based events and they continue to do so today. St. John the Evangelist Church, a former Claretian parish in San Marcos, …

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Remembering Fr. Wenceslao Fernández CMF

When the Claretian Missionaries celebrated Mass in Assembly on June 2, 2022, they heard the day’s necrology: the names and places of death of confreres from that date over the past century. These included Wenceslao Fernández who died in Sweetwater, Texas, in 1927. This young priest’s tragic death shook the congregation at the time and …

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Breaking Ground

Three months later, on a sunny November day in 1936, the Claretians broke ground for the new seminary. As the St. Jude community recorded that day: “The ground was blessed and broken by his Excellency Bishop Preciado. Several pictures were taken both right after their arrival by the Grotto of St. Jude, and on the …

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Buying El Rancho

Two transplants from Spain, dressed in black clerical suits and collars, walked through Chicago’s bustling Loop on August 10, 1936. Fr. Aloysius Ellacuria, CMF, rector of the fledgling St. Jude Seminary, walked alongside Fr. Antonio Catalina, CMF, pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. They chatted, en castellano, about the business at hand: the purchase …

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Holy Week Remembered: Martindale Texas

In the 1980s, Catholics in rural Martindale, Texas, recalled how their elders had regularly walked to their “second home”: Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. The Claretians erected the first Catholic Church there in 1908, with a school two years later. After fire destroyed the wooden structure in 1916, the Claretians raised the brick and stone …

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Un Librito/ A Very Small Book

Conducting research in the Claretian Missionaries Archive, I noticed two tall bookcases filled with hundreds of old books. Just the colors and leather bindings suggested these volumes dated back to the nineteenth century, maybe earlier. Now curious, I randomly pulled out a small book, a bit larger than a deck of playing cards. The soft …

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