This issue marks a significant milestone for the journal. With it, we begin our 125th volume, a remarkable record of publication. We are honored to be the oldest, continuously published Catholic scholarly journal in the United States.
Our lead article comes to us from Catherine R. Osborne (Franklin & Marshall College). Through a case study of the work of Reverend Robert G. Howes in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, it traces the origins of pastoral planning to efforts among church leaders in the 1960s to respond to the concerns of inner city parishes and the needs of their communities. Howes's work culminated in the "Baltimore Urban Parish Study," a path-breaking report that reflected the hopes and challenges of the era.
Our second article sheds new light on a familiar topic, the saga of Maria Monk. William S. Cossen (Pennsylvania State University) demonstrates how Monk's story, long-known for inciting anti-Catholic animus, also provided Catholics with a tool to use against their critics. He further argues that it forged a distinctive anti-Protestantism among Catholics that helped them position themselves in American society.
Next we have a piece by Emilie Leumas, archivist for Archdiocese of New Orleans, who offers an introduction to the collections under her care and their role in recording the unique and vibrant history of Louisiana Catholicism. She also provides some reflections on how sacramental records reveal much more than one might initially suspect.
We also feature in this issue an extended book review section. The past year has brought us a bumper crop of new works that represent the diversity of subjects and methodologies that comprise American Catholic Studies. That same diversity is also reflected in our semiannual listing of dissertation abstracts.
Finally, our cover essay by Tom Cornell (Peter Maurin Catholic Worker Farm) discusses and clarifies Dorothy Day's relationship with the Communist Party. Bringing an insider's perspective to bear on the question, he describes how friendships emerged despite fundamental differences of belief. [End Page v]