Letter from Bishop Edward J. O'Dea to John Burke, July 27, 1921; and Reply, August 6, 1921


Bishop Edward J. O'Dea, 1921
Courtesy of Archives of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle

The news about the NCWC's new Bureau of Immigration spread quickly in the Church during 1921. After establishing offices at the various principal eastern ports, the leaders of the NCWC turned their attention to the problem of immigrants entering the country on the West Coast. In this letter, the first American-born bishop of Seattle, Edward O'Dea (1856-1932), writes to request the NCWC's help in caring for the wave of Filipino immigrants there.


Letter from O'Dea to Burke and reply


As you read the document, reflect on the following questions:

  • What reason does Bishop O'Dea give for requesting the NCWC's help in ministering to immigrants in Seattle?
  • What is Burke's plan for responding to immigration on the West Coast? In what cities does he plan to set up immigration offices?
  • What can this letter tell us about the NCWC's concern for non-European immigration, especially in light of the 1917 Immigration Act that banned immigrants from most of Asia?