November 22, 2013

What was in the news on Nov. 29, 1963?

National and local coverage of the shocking assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Cover of The Criterion from November 29, 1963By Brandon A. Evans

This week, we are forgoing our traditional way of sharing this article.

Instead of presenting the Nov. 22, 1963 edition of The Criterion—which contained its normal coverage of the Second Vatican Council and other events of the day—we are presenting the issue from the following week, which covered a life-changing event that occurred 50 years ago this week: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

As such, we will not publish a “50 Years Ago” column next week. Those who want to see the headlines from the Nov. 22 issue from “50 Years Ago” may do so by clicking here.

Here are some of the items found in the Nov. 29, 1963, issue of The Criterion:

  • A world is in mourning: Cardinal officiates at President’s rites
    • “WASHINGTON—Requiem Mass for John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States and the first Catholic to occupy the Presidency, was offered while the nation and world mourned. Hundreds of dignitaries of Church and State filled St. Matthew’s Cathedral here to pray for and honor the 46-year-old Chief Executive who was slain by an assassin’s bullet in Dallas, Tex. Twenty-seven chiefs of state or heads of government were among the 1,200 persons at the low Mass. Other delegates brought the number of countries represented to 53. And throughout the country, Americans joined in prayer for Mr. Kennedy in response to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s proclamation of a ‘nation day of mourning.’ ”
  • Pope Paul cables his condolences
    • “ ‘We are deeply grieved by this execrable crime, for the grief which has struck the great and civilized country and for the suffering which Mrs. Kennedy, her children and her relations suffer. We deplore this event with our whole heart. We express the hope that the death of this great statesman will not bring damage to the American people, but will strengthen its moral and civil sense and sentiments of nobility and concord. We pray God that the sacrifice of John Kennedy may help the cause promoted and defended by him of the liberty of peoples and of peace in the world.’ ”
  • American Cardinals express their grief
    • “ ‘I am terribly shocked, disgusted and depressed at the assassination of President Kennedy,’ said [Cardinal Francis Spellman,] the Archbishop of New York. ‘His death is a tremendous loss to the world. My sympathy goes to his wife, to his father and mother, and to his family. It is a family of heroes.’ Cardinal James Francis McIntyre of Los Angeles and Cardinal Joseph Ritter of St. Louis received word at the North American College in Rome. ‘We were having dinner together when we received the terrible news,’ the two Cardinals said in a joint statement. ‘It grieved our hearts and shocked us deeply. We immediately called together the students and offered prayers together for the repose of the President’s soul and the comfort of his wife and children.’ ”
  • Special rites are held in Archdiocese
    • “Special requiem Masses were offered in all deaneries of the Archdiocese for the repose of the soul of President John F. Kennedy. Parishes held memorial services morning, noon and night as thousands of Catholics paid tribute to the assassinated President. The Apostolic Delegation in Washington granted special permission for the celebration of Requiem Mass on Sunday evening in parish churches. In nearly all churches the National Anthem was played and sung by the congregations at the close of services.”
  • President Johnson asks God’s help
  • Editorial: Seeds of hate
    • “ ‘The crime of assassination was so abhorrent to the genius of Anglo-Saxon civilization, so foreign to the spirit and practice of our republican institutions, that little danger was apprehended.’ Thus commented a friend of Abraham Lincoln shortly after John Wilkes Booth had fired the fatal shot in Washington’s Ford Theatre that has echoed through the ages. It was a comment that bespoke the skeptical mood of 1865. Against the often dark history of the Presidency, and of our very own days, this was probably the complacent feeling of all of us in the early afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963. Now and for a long time, the echo of muffled drums and the staccato hoofbeats of a riderless horse will remind us of how wrong we were.”
  • Audience of priests, nuns give Billy Graham ovation
  • Asks all-out effort for racial justice
  • Recalls JFK’s surprise visit to CYO convention
  • Administered Last Rites to stricken President

(Read all of these stories from our Nov. 29, 1963, issue by logging on to our special archives.)

(Related: A nation still remembers: 50 years later, local Catholics reflect on President Kennedy’s assassination)

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