Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - Updated: 2:43 pm
Seventy-five years ago this week the Pittsburgh Catholic announced the Allied invasion of Europe on D-Day.
“Nation Turns to Prayer As Invasion Day Brings Opening of War’s Crisis” blared the headline of the front-page story in the June 8, 1944, issue. It was followed with a subhead of “Long-Awaited News Sends People to Churches; Public Officials, Newspapers Ask All To Implore God’s Help, Blessing.”
The story reported that the Pittsburgh region and the rest of the United States had received word two days earlier that the invasion of continental Europe by American and Allied national forces had begun, with what was described as “an instinctive turning to prayer.”
When news of the invasion came June 6, it said, many Catholics assisted at Mass in their parish churches. Others went during the day to pray, as did non-Catholics, who went to their own churches. Many others prayed at work or on the streets.
It described how Pittsburgh Mayor Cornelius Scully arranged a prayer service for city employees in the lobby of the City-County Building that afternoon. It included a priest, minister and rabbi. It also noted that Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Martin had issued a proclamation declaring the day one of prayer and work.
President Franklin Roosevelt, it continued, had prepared a special prayer that he read to the people over a nationwide network of radio stations. Its closing line was “Thy will be done.”
It also noted how newspapers throughout the country appealed for prayers and published prayers prepared by Catholic, Protestant and Jewish clergy. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, it said, had authored an “editorial prayer” that included the paragraph, “Some of these farm lads and city boys may be frightened today. Give them Thy courage. Some of them will be wounded today. Give them Thy mercy. Some of them will be killed today. Give them — and those who are dear to them — Thy peace, which passeth understanding.”