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Toledo (Ohio)

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(Toletana in America)

A diocese in Ohio, U.S.A. formed out of the Diocese of Cleveland and erected into a separate jurisdiction, 15 April, 1910. It includes the Counties of Lucas (Toledo), Allen, Crawford, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnum, Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Williams, Wood, and Wyandot; an area of 6969 sq. miles. The principal towns are Lima, Tiffin, Fremont, Defiance, and Delphos. Estimated Catholic population, 125,000.

There are 86 parishes with resident priests and 25 missions, 95 diocesan priests and 31 of the regular clergy. The number of parish schools is 65, with an enrolment of 13,500. One college ( Jesuit ) and three academy-colleges provide the departments for higher education.

The work of charity and reform is supplied by three orphanages, two hospitals, on home for the aged poor, and one house of the Good Shepherd.


The country bordering on Lake Erie was in the path of missioners and trading explorers, who, in the seventeenth century, made their way from Quebec to the upper Great Lakes. French settlers ventured down from Detroit, and a French fort was established on the Maumee in 1680. Traders followed this river to its source in Indiana, whence it was not difficult to reach the more important posts about Vincennes. The lake shore would also have been the natural route for the Jesuit Fathers, who, in the latter half of the eighteenth century, journeyed from Detroit to visit the Hurons, and Father Pierre-Joseph de Bonnécamps, returned to the north with Céloron's company from the expedition to the Ohio, entered Lake Erie on the way to Detroit, at the mouth of the Maumee (Miami of the Lake), 5 Oct., 1749.

Bishop Fenwick, writing to Father Badin in August, 1823 (" Catholic Church in Ohio " in "U.S. Catholic Magazine"), speaks of Catholic Indians along the Seneca River who crossed to Malden and Sandwich in Canada for marriage and baptism. Father Edmund Burke, who signs himself, "Vicaire général du Haut Canada ", and was stationed near the present Monroe (Frenchtown), Michigan, in 1794, visited, not Fort Meigs, as has been asserted, but Fort Miami, at the rapids of the Maumee; and in 1825 Bishop Fenwick's vicar-general, Father Gabriel Richard, who as early as 1806 had attended Monroe from Detroit, indicated that the district "de la Bai Miamy" was considered as one with that of St-Antoine on the River Raisin. This can be more easily understood, if we remember that the territory of Michigan for a long time laid claim to lands in which Toledo is now located.

Even after Detroit had become a separate diocese, the Rev. P. Carabin, pastor at Monroe, enumerates many on his lists as "inhabitants of Toledo" (1837).

The building of water-ways along the line of the Maumee River from the Ohio and the Wabash to Lake Erie did much to open up the country to German and Irish immigrants invited by Bishops Fenwick and Purcell, of Cincinnati, to avail themselves of the opportunities of labour and farming.

After 1830 organized congregations began to take the place of scattered missions, and a resident pastor was placed at St. Mary's, Tiffin, in 1831.

In 1841 Rev. Amadeus Rappe organized St. Francis De Sale's Parish, Toledo, of which he was pastor until his appointment as first Bishop of Cleveland in 1847. Associated with him and succeeding him in this pastorate was Rev. Louis de Goesbriand, first Bishop of Burlington, Vermont. Among the pioneer priests of this section were Fathers Badin, Ignatius Mullon, Edward T. Collins, Projectus J. Macheboeuf. (afterwards Bishop of Denver ), E. Thienpont, and Henry Damien Juncker (later Bishop of Alton ), men eminent for learning as well as piety ; and these had the co-operation of the Redemptorist and Sanguinist Fathers, under the leadership respectively of Father Tschenhens (1832) and Father Francis de Sales Brunner (1844). Members of the latter congregation (C.PP.S.), which was introduced by Father Brunner, are still (1912) in charge of parishes and missions in the Diocese of Toledo.

The growth of Catholicism was particularly noticeable in the city of Toledo. At the date of its erection into an episcopal see there were within the city twenty parishes. This rapid increase had been greatly promoted by a steady influx after 1870 of Poles and Hungarians, employed largely in factories, quarries, and public works.

Among the priests prominent in Toledo in this period of development were: the Rt. Rev. F. M. Boff (1859), who in 1872 was made Vicar-General of Cleveland and held the unique distinction of having served as administrator of that diocese not less than six times in a period of forty years (d. 22 March, 1912); Father Edward Hannin (1863), who was administrator of the Diocese of Cleveland from the resignation of the Bishop Rappe to the appointment of Bishop Gilmour, and who when over seventy years of age undertook the building of one of the finest church edifices in the Middle West; and Rev. Patrick F. Quigley, whose widely-noticed action against state interference in parish schools, in the matter of reports and truancy, gave occasion for much hostile demonstration, especially on the part of members of the A.P.A. This priest's contention before the several courts was ably if not successfully maintained by the Hon. Frank H. Hurd, a convert to Catholicism, and a congressman, celebrated for his convincing advocacy of free trade.

The commercial advantages of the city and the numerical strength of Catholics had long drawn attention to Toledo; and on the death of Bishop Horstmann (1908) the bishops of the Province of Cincinnati recommended to the Holy See the division of the Diocese of Cleveland. The request was favourably considered, and Toledo was named as the seat of the new diocese, with St. Francis de Sales's designated as its cathedral church. Rt. Rev. John P. Farrelly, D.D., who had been consecrated Bishop of Cleveland, 1 May, 1909, was appointed temporary administrator. Rt. Rev. Joseph Schrembs, D.D., first bishop, was born at Wuzelhofen, near Ratisbon, Bavaria, 12 March, 1866. Following his elder brother, Rudesind, who had become a Benedictine monk at St. Vincent's, Pennsylvania, he came to the United States in 1877.

He completed his course of humanities when but 16 years of age at St. Vincent's college, near Pittsburg. After a few years spent in teaching, he was accepted by Bishop Richter as a student for the Diocese of Grand Rapids, and entered the Seminary of Montreal in 1884. On 29 June, 1889, Rev. Mr. Schrembs was ordained priest in the cathedral at Grand Rapids. He was successively assistant and pastor at St. Mary's Church, Grand Rapids, Oct., 1900. In 1903 he was appointed vicar-general on the diocese, and was named domestic prelate, Jan., 1906. Meantime he had brought about the establishment of a high school in Grand Rapids , thus demonstrating the feasibility of intermediate grades for the Catholic Common school. On 22 Feb., 1911, he was consecrated titular Bishop of Sophene and auxiliary to the Bishop of Grand Rapids . He at once espoused the cause of workman in their difficulties with the employers in the furniture factories, skilfully averted a panic, and contributed much to bring about and agreement. On 11 Aug., 1911, he was transferred to the See of Toledo. A notable demonstration marked his entry into the city on Sunday, 1 Oct., and on 4 Oct. he was enthroned in his cathedral church.

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