The Catholic Church has been in the news lately because of some internal fighting between politically left and right factions. So I figured now would be a good time to show a piece of history from a time when it appears the church was much more united. That would have been in 1954, which was a Marian Year that had been ushered in by Pope Pius XII.
A Marian Year, as set by the Vatican, is a year of extra devotion and celebration towards the Virgin Mary. The Pope had ordered this Marian Year as a form of celebrating the centennial of the Immaculate Conception being proclaimed as part of the official dogma of the Catholic Church. Before 1854 the Immaculate Conception had been in essence only part of the story and not an official tenet of the Church. So Pope Pius IX basically took a survey of more than 200 Bishops to see what their views were on the matter. Apparently it was favorable and thus the Pope set the Immaculate Conception as part of the foundation of the Catholic Church. So, in honor of that centennial the current Pope had proclaimed 1954 as the first ever Marian Year. This included setting up special alters, working in various manners of charity and social justice, and in this particular instance holding one extremely large mass. That was the reason behind holding this mass at Soldier Field, which according to newspaper accounts, was attended by over 260,000, two of which were my Grandparents (and most likely both sets of Grandparents).
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