Sunday, October 2, 2016

Church steeples and mill chimneys

From Pittsburgh-

When I was growing up as a kid in Ambridge, two kinds of towers embraced our town: church steeples and mill chimneys.

For us Catholics, they were intertwined. When strong arms and backs were needed to stoke fires, ladle molten ore or mend pipes, the steel mills sought workers from Central and Eastern Europe. Many were Catholic. As they settled around the mills, the mines and the railroads, they built churches in which to thank God for their lives and livelihood, and to seek His strength as they raised families. My Dzedo (my Slovak grandfather) and my uncles were among them.

Religious communities of Sisters and Brothers stepped up to the plate to care for these often-disregarded immigrants. They opened schools, built hospitals and even started one of the first major health insurance systems. Our priests stood at the forefront of advocacy for workers’ rights.

More here-

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