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He was incensed that a luxurious heated railroad car with bedrooms and a kitchen would be used by a ‘church for the poor’ reaching out to converts. Pope Pius liked the idea and not only gave it his blessing but also knighted the chapel car’s donor, Ambrose Petry, as a Knight Commander of the Order of St. The original purpose of the chapel cars was to travel to areas throughout the United States that had no churches. The Russian Orthodox Church also had five such chapel cars in the 1880s – which were probably the first – traveling the Trans-Siberian Railway in Czarist Russia.According to Wilma and Norman Thomas, in their book Kelly who was still Father Kelley at the time, took a cross country rail and lecture trip in 1893 and was shocked by how few Catholic Church steeples he saw. But the Episcopalians were the first to put a chapel car on tracks in North America in November 1890.Prior to the war railroad companies pulled and sided the chapel cars of all religious denominations free of charge.But once the war broke out the government railroad administration decided that chapel cars were private cars that would impede the war effort.Two small sleeping rooms, for a chaplain and an attendant, a kitchen, and a dining room completed the car’s interior layout.
In one instance he wrote “I saw an [unnamed] hamlet of thirty or forty log houses…several stores…little children playing in the streets…a saloon…[but no] church.” The obvious purpose of these chapel cars was to spread religion throughout America, then still a predominantly rural-agrarian country.Not everything over there is fully functional yet, and the internal links still point to this blog, and will for the indefinite future.So all the old material will be left here for archival purposes, with comments turned off.In such instances, the crowds were usually rerouted to some nearby hall were the chaplain would say Mass, hear confessions, perform marriages, and administer other sacraments. Mc Kernan recalled summer days when having Vespers and a full crowd “[the body heat] together with [oil] lamps and candles…made it rather uncomfortable for the priest in charge.” Another Chaplain William D.In an age without air conditioning, the car’s chaplain and attendant often suffered with temperatures reaching up to 106º. O’Brien (later Chicago archbishop) remembered “cockroaches, swarms of bed bugs and hungry mosquitoes…I remember a maintenance man using a blow torch to burn up bed bugs around our berths.” The chaplain’s job was not without some small perks, however.