Seton Hall University

Digitized Catholic Advocate Provides a Window to Newark's Past During Vatican II  

Archival issues of the Catholic Advocate during Vatican II were recently digitized for online use worldwide.A notable era of local Catholic history has been preserved through a cooperative effort between Seton Hall University's Special Collections and the Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA). Archival issues of the Catholic Advocate, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Newark, were recently digitized from their original format and made available online for public access. The selected issues are specific to the Second Vatican Council, commonly known as Vatican II (1958-1964), and not only provide insight to its impact on the Newark Catholic community, but the general everyday lived experience of that time as well.

The Catholic Advocate has been the principal print communications medium for the Archdiocese of Newark since its founding in 1951 by then-Auxiliary Bishop James A. McNulty. Its mission has always been to provide readers with news of the people, consecrated religious, clergy, parishes, schools and other institutions that comprise the church of Newark. Researchers and enthusiasts worldwide will now have the ability to experience this globally significant spiritual renewal of the church from a local level.

Sarah Ponichtera, assistant dean for special collections and the gallery states, "This is a new level of documentation for a time of major social change, but from a more localized perspective, allowing the reader to trace the development of the priesthood and gain a deeper understanding of how it affected so many aspects of their community. It's also a fascinating look into everyday local culture through the ads of the time, not to mention just how different the advertising was in style and approach."

Professor Alan Delozier, university archivist, incorporates the new resource into his class "New Jersey Catholic Experience," offered through the Department of Catholic Studies. He states, "The content found within the Catholic Advocate and its coverage of the Archdiocese of Newark is detailed and provides the research community with a valuable historical resource. The significance of this publication is that it not only covers archdiocesan personalities, events, parish life, and other aspects of note, but also by extension activities taking place at Seton Hall University. Since my course is online, the digitized editions made accessibility to research easier and more flexible for these students who did not meet in a traditional classroom setting."

Beyond worldwide access, the digitized version now allows for searches by topic, author, title or the entire text of an article by keyword. However, because the contents were read by machine, interpretive errors may exist. Therefore, the public is also invited to submit corrections, with particularly active contributors being acknowledged on the website's "Hall of Fame."

The newly digitized Vatican II (1958-1964) editions of the Catholic Advocate are available through the Catholic News Archive. As always, the public is also invited to view the collection in microfilm and print format by appointment with the Seton Hall Special Collections staff. Contact them at or 973-761-9476.

The blog post for Special Collections & the Gallery further explains the digitizing process for Seton Hall's Catholic Advocate collection and other periodicals that are part of this project around the country.

Categories: Arts and Culture

For more information, please contact:

  • Sarah Ponichtera
  • (973) 275-4883