Pioneer Priests and Makeshift Altars

A History of Catholicism in the Thirteen Colonies

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Listen to an interview with Fr. Connor discussing this book: Play

In this comprehensive history, Fr. Charles Connor details the life of Catholics in the American Colonies. It’s a tale that begins with the flight of English Catholics to religious freedom in Maryland in 1634, and continues through the post-Revolutionary period, by which time the constitutions of all but four of the first 13 states contained harsh anti-Catholic provisions.

Catholic readers will be proud to learn from that despite almost two centuries of ever-more-intense religious persecutions and even harsher legal prohibitions, American Catholics in the colonies simply refused to abandon the Catholic Faith.

This is an indispensable reading for souls interested in the deep roots of Catholicism in America, and in the holy courage of scores of Catholics who kept remorseless forces from driving Catholicism out of America. Among other things, you’ll learn:

  • The tale of The Ark and The Dove that carried the first settlers to Maryland
  • The surprisingly harsh anti-Catholic sentiments of most of the Founding Fathers
  • The Quaker/Catholic alliance that promoted both religions
  • The role of persecuted Catholics in the Revolutionary War
  • Why, in that War, many Catholics favored the anti-Catholic British
  • The French Jesuits who evangelized New York and its frontier areas, and the saints who were martyred there
  • The years in which, throughout the colonies, Catholics became an endangered species

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Editorial Reviews

Cardinal Timothy Dolan photo

"This is a work of impressive scope and historical insight."

Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Archdiocese of New York
Rev. Msgr. Andrew Baker, S.T.D. photo

"I highly recommend this refreshing and insightful story of the beginning of the Catholic Church in America."

Rev. Msgr. Andrew Baker, S.T.D.
Rector, Mount St. Mary's Seminary
Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. photo

"Father Charles Connor has written a wonderfully absorbing, skillful — in fact, an invaluable —  history of the Catholic experience in the early American colonies."

Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia
Cardinal Donald Wuerl photo

"Father Connor unfolds the story of the Church in the early United States with erudition, skill, understanding and clarity."

Cardinal Donald Wuerl
Archbishop of Washington
Archbishop Bernard Anthony Hebda photo

"A natural storyteller, Fr. Connor brings to life an important period of American Church history in a way that continues to shed light on the ecclesial realities of the 21st century."

Archbishop Bernard Anthony Hebda
Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Product Details

  • Pages: 272
  • Format(s): Paperback, eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-68278-032-9
  • Product Code: Q80329
  • Availability: In Stock
Pioneer Priests set bundle

Pioneer Priests set

This is the largely untold story of American Catholicism: the colonial roots of what started as an outpost and became one of the most important and influential places in the modern Church.

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