Two archbishops led the archdiocese during this period - Joseph Francis Rummel (1935-1962) and John Patrick Cody (1962-1965). In 1961, the latter was named Coadjutor Archbishop of New Orleans. The following year, he was placed in charge of archdiocesan administration.
The archdiocesan boundaries were redrawn in 1961 with the establishment of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. The new diocese included eleven civil parishes.
The post-war years were a time of great demographic growth and change. The area's Catholic population almost doubled to 762,000 in two decades. Forty-four new parishes were established between 1947 and 1965 in New Orleans, in rural areas, and particularly in the new suburban areas. Thirteen new parishes were established in East Jefferson alone. The number of parishes in St. Bernard Civil Parish tripled from two to six. Three new parishes were established in both St. Tammany and St. John the Baptist Civil Parishes. By 1965, more than 92,600 students were attending 197 Catholic elementary and secondary schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the recently established Diocese of Baton Rouge.
Archbishop Rummel was the first Southern Catholic bishop to accept African American students into his minor and major seminaries. His March, 1953, pastoral letter, "Blessed Are the Peacemakers," decreed the end to all forms of parish segregation. He supported the May 17, 1954, Supreme Court decision ending segregation in public schools. On February 11, 1956, he declared compulsory racial segregation morally wrong and sinful. He believed, however, that the process of integration had to proceed slowly to be successful.
On March 27, 1962, at the insistence of newly-appointed apostolic administrator, Archbishop John Cody, the desegregation of all Catholic schools, elementary and secondary, parochial and private, for the 1962-1963 school year was announced. The desegregation order unleashed a storm of protest that even the international press noted. Although some parents initially withdrew their children, Catholic school enrollment steadily increased in the first three years after desegregation.
The election of Pope (now Blessed) John XXIII in 1958 marked a turning point in twentieth-century Catholicism. The centerpiece for needed change was Vatican Council II which met in Rome between 1962 and 1965. The full impact of the council was first felt in parishes late in 1964 when the major changes in the Mass began to be implemented: English readings, dialogue Masses, lay commentators, new music, communal participation. Other changes followed, including new ecumenical outreaches; a more participative style of leadership with archdiocesan and parish councils, active clerical and religious associations, growing lay involvement; new social outreaches with particular attention to the roots of social ills such as racism and consumerism.
Toward the end of this period, a growing ministry professionalism was evident. New archdiocesan offices were established to assist the increasingly complex demands of ministry: the Vocation Office, the Family Life Office, the Cemetery Office, and the Building Commission.
Other Significant Dates
||U.S. enters World War II: Archbishop Rummel issues "A Nation at War"
||Archdiocesan Sesquicentennial Celebration takes place quietly; special issue of Catholic Action of the South portrays early history
||St. Augustine High School is established - first archdiocesan high school for African American males
||Archbishop Rummel issues "Blessed are the Peacemakers," a pastoral ordering desegregation of all Catholic parish activities and organizations
||Catholic Family Movement is established in archdiocese
||Jesuit Bend incident occurs; Catholic services are suspended for three years
1. St. Stephen School children