The first Josephite seminary was located in Baltimore. Construction crews began work on renovating the Western Maryland Hotel on the corner of St. Mary’s Street and Pennsylvania Avenue when the infamous “Blizzard of ’88” turned Charm City into an icebox. The work crews welcomed the sweltering summer months during the renovation.
The first Josephites were trained as foreign missionaries in England before taking up their ministry in African American communities. When their training was complete, the Josephite missionaries were sent to London, England, to the U.S.
Father Charles R. Uncles, the first black U.S. seminarian to be ordained, made the Baltimore seminary the first integrated house of formation in American history.
In 1893, a large brick building next door on Pennsylvania Avenue was dedicated and housed the Josephite seminary until 1930. Today, the second installment of the seminary building honors the first black Josephite priest. The Charles R. Uncles Senior Plaza offers affordable housing for the elderly.
St. Joseph Seminary Washington DCThe student body grew to around 56 in the late 1920’s, and the seminary moved 35 miles south where it relocated to Varnum Street in Washington, D.C. in 1930. The latest installment of St. Joseph’s seminary was a stark contrast to the original Western Maryland Hotel, as it was built rock-solid, prepared to hold the challenging task of training future Josephites.
A member of the very first group of Josephite seminarians was Father Joseph St. Lauret, SSJ. He spoke at the dedication of the new St. Joseph’s Seminary in Washington, D.C. in November 1930 about its importance.
“To those who have been witness from the beginning, it is clear and manifest that some power, above that of man, has protected this institution with a strong hand,” Father Lauret said. “It is not easy to explain, on any other grounds, its persistence through discouraging vexations, its survival amidst crushing trials. I recall, not without emotion, those early days when all but two seminarians failed to return. As may be imagined, the air was charged with misgivings. There was serious talk of closing the establishment. But times have changed.”
The current seminary rector, Bishop John Ricard, SSJ, said, “The building was built out of steel and was state of the art. Many other communities of men and women were building around the same time in the area around Catholic University. They wanted to take advantage of the resources of the university, in terms of theology and philosophy, and they wanted to share the rich educational resources with each other.”
Apart from electrical and wire renovations in the late 1990’s, the building has remained structurally sound and has just needed general maintenance, as would any 84-year-old building, Bishop Ricard said.
Today, the Josephite seminarians attend the Dominican House of Studies, but the building on Varnum Street remains their home. The back field is used for recreational and organized sports within the community.
Although it has seen renovations and relocations, the Josephite Seminary continues to be the epicenter of young men discerning a life of service to God and to the African-American communities nationwide.
Parishioners of Our Mother of Mercy Parish in Pass Christian surprised their pastor, Josephite Father Bartholomew Endslow, with a musical tribute on Sept. 7. Father Endslow, 93, is retiring this year after 65 years of active ministry. Bishop Roger Morin is pictured offering hearty congratulations to Father Endslow.
The viewing and the funeral mass will be held at St. Luke Catholic Church, 4925 East Capitol Street, S.E. in Washington, D.C. on August 18, 2014. The viewing will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will be followed by the funeral mass at 11:00 a.m. The Most Revered John H. Ricard, SSJ, Bishop Emeritus of Pensacola – Tallahassee will officiate. The Rite of Christian Burial will immediately follow the funeral mass at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 13801 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Stewart Funeral Home in Washington, D.C.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 16,1936, Deacon Conrad graduated from Xavier University Preparatory High School and received a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Xavier University of Louisiana. He continued his studies at many institutions in Washington, D.C. including economics at George Washington University; management at the Brookings Institute; and theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary. He also studied urban planning at MIT in Boston, Massachusetts through a Community Fellow Program.
Joseph Conrad was married to Bernadine Ann Barard on July 28,1962. They were married 52 years and renewed their vows on their 50th wedding anniversary at St. Luke Church.
Deacon Conrad’s professional career spanned more than 40 years in the federal government working in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, Louisiana with the majority of his federal service being with the Small Business Administration (SBA). In 1978 SBA chose Deacon Conrad to lead its Louisiana office, making him the SBA’s first African-American District Director in the South. He also held several management positions in SBA’s headquarters promoting minority business development throughout his career. During his tenure at the SBA, he developed and implemented several new SBA programs promoting the development of minority-owned businesses and received the SBA Silver Medal for Meritorious Service and many other awards. Prior to working at SBA, Deacon Conrad worked at the Department of Labor, Civil Service Commission and the Department of Commerce. He also served in the Army for 3½ years. He retired from federal service in 1995.
In addition to being a civil servant, Deacon Conrad was also a servant of God. He and 22 other married men, after studying for two years, were ordained on September 11, 1971, in the first class of permanent deacons in the United States. His first assignment as a permanent deacon was at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Washington, D.C. Additional assignments included St. Joseph’s Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and St. Gabriel the Archangel Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. His last assignment was at St. Luke Church under the Josephite Order, which was instrumental in ensuring that the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a permanent deaconate program. In 2011 Deacon Conrad celebrated his 40th year serving as a permanent deacon.
Deacon Conrad’s involvement in the Catholic Church began well before he was ordained as a permanent deacon. He was the assistant director of the choir at St. Luke when the choir sang in Latin and more recently he served as the spiritual advisor for the church’s Holy Name Society. He was also a longtime altar server in elementary and high school in New Orleans at Corpus Christi Church.
Deacon Conrad is survived by his wife Bernadine; children Joseph M.Conrad III, Monique Conrad O’Grady, and Melinda Conrad Brown; daughter-in-law Lynette Seraile Conrad, son-in-laws Michael O’Grady and Andre Brown; grandchildren Andreas Brown, Sandaa Brown, Caitlin O’Grady, Brittany O’Grady, Michael O’Grady Jr., Emmanuel Conrad and Raphael Conrad; siblings Shirley Conrad and Fritz Conrad; a host of nieces and nephews other family and friends.
Deacon Conrad is preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Manuella Conrad; sister Anne Conrad, twin sister Joanna Conrad and brother Melvin Conrad.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be sent to the St. Joseph Society of the Sacred Heart, a congregation of priests and brothers whose exclusive mission is to serve the African-American community, located at 1130 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202 or at http://www.josephites.org.
Photo by Christine Borderlon, CLARION HERALD
Father Oswald Pierre-Jules, pastor of St. David’s parish joins New Orleans’ Archbishop Gregory Aymond and Holy Faith Sister Teresa Rooney, pastoral associate, in the ribbon cutting of the parish’s new facility.
Almost nine years after the destruction of St. David’s School building by the forces of Hurricane Katrina, a new school and gym on the same site was dedicated on June 29th. Although it will not presently house the former thriving parochial school, it will provide an up-to-date site for parish CCD classes, youth programs and church related meetings and events. It will also house a full-day Total Community Action Head Start program fro young children and family health resources in what was one of the hardest-hit areas of the city.
The building will also provide needed space for community activities. There is also the dream of the parish with, a recently renovated church, to see more families returning to the Lower Ninth Ward and able to support a parish school, a proviso of the FEMA building commitment. Meanwhile the Josephites and St. David’s parishioners rejoice in the beautiful realization of a long effort to recover what was lost.