“We shall have to build the schoolhouse first and the church afterward. In our age, the question of education is the question of the church.” – Archbishop “Dagger John” Hughes
John Joseph Hughes was a feisty Irish immigrant who became the first Catholic Archbishop of New York. If you have seen the film “Gangs of New York,” you have a sense of the city in which he charted a course for the Catholic church, with the explicit purpose of helping immigrants find their way in their new home.
I say “feisty” because, like many of the scrappy Catholic school teachers and leaders we work with today, he was exactly that. One account described Dagger John as: “Unsystematic, disorganized, impulsively charitable, unable to keep his checkbook balanced, vain enough to wear a toupee over his baldness, and combative.” He became “the best known, if not exactly the best loved, Catholic bishop in the country.”