On this page we will look back at life in the city during the war years. Here we will provide the visitor with the stories making the news, what was happening in sports and entertainment, city politics, the social scene and the prominent people at the time. So, check back often for new editions. To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com
TODAY IN PHILADELPHIA – TUESDAY, MARCH 5, 1918
A light but steady rain fell on the city today. The showers are expected to continue overnight and into tomorrow. Today’s high will reach 57° with a low tonight of 31°.
The Most Reverend Edmond Prendergast, Archbishop of Philadelphia and Metropolitan of the province of Pennsylvania, was buried today after a High Mass at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. The Archbishop was placed in a space beside Archbishop Ryan along the north side of the Cathedral’s crypt. The others on that side are Bishops Henry Conwell and Michael Egan and Archbishop James Wood. The full ceremony and dignity of the Catholic Church was on display and yet done in keeping with Archbishop Prendergast’s wishes that the services be conducted with the utmost simplicity.
In attendance were Cardinals Farley of New York and Gibbons of Baltimore. They were joined by archbishops, bishops, monsignors and priests for all parts of North America. And with the clergy the Catholic faithful came. Thousands filled the great Cathedral and overflowed onto 18th Street and across into Logan Square. Four hundred policemen were on hand to help control the crowd. But their presence was not needed, for this crowd had gathered only to pray. Police estimate that over 50,000 people stood in the falling rain outside the edifice taking part in this farewell to their beloved prelate.
During the Archbishop’s term the Catholic population of this city increased from 525,000 to 710,000. The number of priests rose from 582 to 779. Thirty new churches were built raising the number to 327. One new high school for boys and one for girls were built. Forty five new parochial schools were opened bringing that number to 180 with 82,064 pupils. And two new hospitals and three new orphan asylums were constructed bringing those facilities to 7 and 15 respectively.
Services began at 9:45am with a procession of the honorary pallbearers, 250 seminarians and representatives of Catholic fraternal organizations. Next entered the clergy of the Greek-Ruthenian branch of the church. They were followed by the faculty of Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Finally the priests, bishops, archbishops and Cardinals entered in the Catholic tradition that “the first shall be last and the last shall be first”. Bishop McCort, who is rumored to be the man named as Archbishop Prendergast’s replacement, led the faldstool pontifical High Mass. At the conclusion of the Mass the Archbishop’s body was borne to the crypt beneath the main altar. Another brief service was performed and then a slab of stone was placed over the aperture containing the coffin and sealed.
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