The Catholic University of America

May 3, 2012

Archives Launches Catholic Men’s Group Finding Aid

  National Council of Catholic Men with John F. Kennedy

A NCCM delegation visits John F. Kennedy at the White House in 1963. (Photo courtesy of University Archives)

A collection of items from the National Council of Catholic Men (NCCM) is the subject of a finding aid recently launched by the University Archives.

The NCCM was established in 1920 as part of the Lay Organizations Department of the National Catholic Welfare Council, now known as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It served as the federation of lay Catholic men’s groups and operated on a committee system at the national, diocesan, and parish levels.

NCCM created and produced the popular program “The Catholic Hour,” which started on NBC Radio in 1930 and on television in 1952. NCCM disbanded in 1975.

“NCCM provided a platform for Fulton J. Sheen to skyrocket as a Catholic media star, beginning on radio and then becoming a fixture of American television,” says John Shepherd, associate archivist, referring to the late Catholic University faculty member and archbishop.

The finding aid — an online inventory of a collection — details items found in the 53-box collection, including minutes from meetings; reports and convention proceedings; correspondence; “The Catholic Hour” radio and television scripts, transcripts, audio tapes, photographs, and phonographs; and miscellaneous publications.


From left, Walter Johnson (NCCM), Cardinal Patrick Hayes of New York, Bishop Joseph Schrembs of Cleveland, and Rev. John J. Burke, C.S.P, (National Catholic Welfare Council) during the first radio broadcast of "The Catholic Hour in 1930. (Photo courtesy of University Archives)


Some of the unique items in the NCCM collection include photos of the first “Catholic Hour” radio broadcast in 1930 as well as a photo of a NCCM delegation visiting President John F. Kennedy in the White House in 1963. There are also copies of numerous “Catholic Hour” broadcasts and correspondence files with affiliated groups such as the Knights of Columbus.

In addition to this collection, there are important NCCM records, especially about how speakers were selected for “The Catholic Hour,” located in the records of the general secretary of the National Catholic Welfare Council.

“The NCCM records demonstrate the vital role the laity have had in the history of the American Catholic Church,” says Shepherd. “Working with the bishops, NCCM used the new media of radio, and later television, to project Catholic identity on the national stage. They were able to reassure the faithful while promoting Catholic positions to non-Catholic audiences.”

This is the 131st finding aid the University Archives has completed. There are 356 collections in the archives.

For a list of other finding aids, visit To find out more about accessing collections in the archives, visit



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