Catholic Association, The
Perpetuates in Great Britain the name of an organization instituted in Ireland by Daniel O'Connell at the time he was preparing the way for the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829.
When founded in London with the approbation of Cardinal Manning, 1891, the prime movers were Edward Lucas (chairman) and Charles Munich (secretary), while the committee of management included among others Lord Archibald Douglas, Monsignor Nugent, Lord Godolphin Osborne, and James Britten.
In those days the association had some political significance, and its main object was "to organize Catholics into a compact body for the protection and advancement of Catholic interests" with view to securing the return of Catholics as poor law guardians, members of the then existing vestries, school boards, and other non-party local-governing bodies.
In the course of years the association's work has been modified as some of the former official bodies have ceased to function, and by the advent of fresh Catholic societies which specialize more directly on its original main purpose.
At the present time its principal object is to promote unity and good fellowship among Catholics by means of pilgrimages, social gatherings, and lectures.
Lord Denbigh was elected president, 1894, and continues to hold this office (1929).
During the Holy Year, 1900, the association organized what was at that date the largest pilgrimage which had ever left the shores of England for Rome, over 1,000 pilgrims taking part in what was a great manifestation of Catholic faith in England.
Since then pilgrimages have been organized in increasing numbers to Antwerp, Bruges, the Holy Land, Lourdes, Spain, Rome, and other places of special Catholic interest in Europe, as well as to many of the homeland shrines.
During the Jubilee year, 1925, seven different pilgrimages were conducted to Rome, the numbers participating being about 3,500.
As many as 5,000 pilgrims yearly have been taken to Lourdes since the World War.
The Catholic Association is directed by an honorary board, and charges are kept as low as is consistent with efficiency.
Any profits accruing from the activities of the association are distributed among Catholic charities.
It publishes a monthly organ, "The Pilgrim's Scrip."
New Catholic Dictionary