Priest’s Ingenuity Aided Immigrants

Father Pietro Bandini, born in Italy in 1852, spent most of his priesthood addressing the needs of immigrants to the United States. Ordained in 1877, he went as a missionary to the Montana Territory, there learning the languages of local Native Americans.

In 1897, he moved to Sunnyside, Arkansas, in the Little Rock diocese, and began his extraordinary apostolate for immigrants from Italy whom he urged to adapt to American life but also to cherish their identity and closeness to the Church and to use their proven talents. Popes and Italian royalty acclaimed him. He died in Little Rock in 1917.

Seminary Head Has Special Interest in Newman Studies

Benedictine Father Denis Robinson, of St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana, ordained in 1993, is a busy man, serving as president-rector, and associate professor of systematic theology, at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, one of the nation’s most respected institutions for formation of candidates for the priesthood.

With Louvain doctorates in philosophy and in theology, he is an academic specialist in the life and thought of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, the English Anglican priest who converted to Roman Catholicism in the 19th century, was ordained a priest and was named a cardinal, widely regarded for his theological scholarship and personal piety.


President James K. Polk, a Presbyterian, who served from 1845 to 1849, created the first American military chaplains corps. He specifically included Catholic chaplains, knowing that many Catholic immigrants had enlisted. To calm church-state separation worries and anti-Catholicism, Polk hired priests as “contractors” but ordered officers to respect the priests and to allow Catholics access to the priests.

Fifty Years Ago

In The Priest, May 1964, an article discussed the dilemma of providing breakfast to parochial school children after they attended morning Mass. (Then required to fast after midnight, they would not have had breakfast at home.) Another article recalled the efforts by Sts. Cyril and Methodius in the ninth century to assure that the liturgies in the lands that they missionized always would be celebrated in the vernacular. A Minneapolis, Minn., advertiser offered a “Mass kit” for $32.50.

‘Go in Peace’

“Keep me safe, O God, you are my hope.”